DuPree: Blue Devils have week to right the ship
College basketball coaches almost never call a timeout in the first couple of minutes of a game, and a five-point deficit is no cause for alarm.
Yet Friday night at the Greensboro Coliseum, there was Mike Krzyzewski signaling to stop play just 93 seconds into Duke’s quarterfinal game against seventh-seeded Maryland.
“I just saw it right there in the first 90 seconds,” Krzyzewski said. “We called two sets that we never ran. We were not there.
“You do it long enough, you know, hey, this ain’t right. This just isn’t right. You want to right the ship right way. We weren’t able to do that to the extent that we needed.”
Two hours later, the result was an 83-74 win by the Terps that didn’t feel that close much of the night.
And this came almost a month after Maryland knocked off the Blue Devils 83-81 at College Park.
“Part of it is that we beat them before, so we knew we were capable of beating them,” said Maryland freshman Seth Allen, who finished with 10 points off the bench including a pair of 3-pointers. “We really just tried to throw the first punch (in) the first four minutes, and we did. ...
“We really got the momentum and never let down.
The Blue Devils made 1 of 10 shots from 3-point range in the first half, that coming when Tyler Thornton connected with 2:38 remaining. While Duke trailed only 34-26 at halftime, the tone of the night was set.
“I just don’t think we came with the mindset to compete,” said Duke senior Ryan Kelly, who finished with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting without making a 3-pointer. “They had beaten us the game before, and we felt like we had to get them.
“We said good things, but we just didn’t compete when it came down to it.”
At 6-11, Kelly’s height and range usually are an asset outside. That didn’t work against Maryland’s Dez Wells, who hit 9 of 13 shots including a pair from outside the arc and all 10 of his free throws for a game-high 30 points.
“They were going really small,” Kelly said of a span in the second half when he sat out. “The matchup was tough, and I was doing a poor job of staying in front of their guards.”
It wasn’t just Kelly, as three of the four guards the Terrapins used had two 3-pointers each and showed little sign of hesitation about driving inside against the Blue Devils.
“It’s embarassing just because of the energy that we didn’t come with,” Duke sophomore point guard Quinn Cook said. “No disrespect for Maryland; they definitely deserved to win. ... It’s (just) inexcusable to come out with no energy.”
Beyond the Blue Devils’ defensive struggles, they made only 4 of 25 shots from 3-point range overall.
“We had looks,” Cook said. “We just weren’t able to knock them down. ... We’re great shooters, and a great shooter doesn’t think about his last shot. Coach wants us to shoot those shots.”
The shots were falling for the Terps, but they have little choice if they’re to get into the NCAA Tournament. They likely need a win today against North Carolina in the semifinals (3 p.m., WRAL) and another in Sunday’s title game (1 p.m., WRAL).
“We knew that, going in, nobody really wanted us to win,” Allen said. “That was just more motivation for us. We came in with a chip on our shoulders, just try to keep winning this whole thing.”
Duke, of course, awaits its destination on Selection Sunday. Cook scoffed when asked if the rest would be helpful.
“Nah, nothing out of this is good,” Cook said. “We can’t hold our heads down. We’ve got the biggest tournament coming up, so we’ve got to get better.”
Kelly knows the Blue Devils have no margin for error the rest of the way.
“Next week, you lose, you’re done,” Kelly said of the upcoming NCAA Tournament. “You never expect to not play well. ... It’s not fun losing, especially in this tournament type setting.
“We go into every year thinking we want to be champions at everything we do. We just, tonight, didn’t play at the level of a champion and didn’t deserve to win.”
They’ve got almost a week to finish righting the ship.
You may contact Jimmy DuPree at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-419-6674.
|MARYLAND 83, No. 2 DUKE 74|
Percentages: FG .510, FT .920.
3-Point Goals: 8-20, .400 (Wells 2-2, Allen 2-4, Layman 2-4, Faust 2-5, Len 0-1, Aronhalt 0-1, Howard 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 1 (Len).
Turnovers: 14 (Faust 5, Allen 4, Wells 2, Mitchell, Cleare, Len).
Steals: 3 (Howard, Cleare, Wells).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .415, FT .889.
3-Point Goals: 4-25, .160 (Curry 2-7, Cook 1-4, Thornton 1-5, Murphy 0-1, Sulaimon 0-2, Kelly 0-6).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Thornton, Mas. Plumlee).
Turnovers: 6 (Mas. Plumlee 4, Cook, Thornton).
Steals: 6 (Mas. Plumlee 2, Cook, Thornton, Curry, Hairston).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials—Roger Ayers, Les Jones, Brian Dorsey.