Maryland knocks off No. 1 Duke, 83-81
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Legendary coach Gary Williams was not pacing the sidelines, and Maryland doesn’t appear to be a national title contender at the moment.
But that didn’t mean Saturday’s 83-81 Terrapins victory didn’t have the same feel and intensity of some of the epic Duke-Maryland games of the past – or that the game itself didn’t have major implications.
For Maryland, Saturday’s game represented a chance for a signature win, the kind against an RPI Top-50 opponent that could turn a mediocre NCAA tournament résumé into something noteworthy. For No. 1 Duke, it was a chance for another Atlantic Coast Conference victory on the road, in a venue it may not ever play at again thanks to conference realignment.
Desperation won out; the team that needed the win – badly – got it.
Alex Len led Maryland with 19 points, and freshman guard Seth Allen hit the game-winning free throws with 2.8 seconds left, and the Terps beat the top-ranked Blue Devils despite 25 Maryland turnovers.
Len easily won the battle of the big men – and potential lottery picks in this summer’s NBA draft – dwarfing Duke’s Mason Plumlee’s four points and near-invisible presence. Plumlee particularly struggled in the second half, missing both shots he took from the field and both free-throw attempts he took, and finding himself on the bench with foul trouble in the late game’s critical moments.
Duke’s lone offensive bright spot was the play of Seth Curry. Curry, playing all season with a nagging leg injury, scored 25 points to lead all scorers. He also hit two huge back-to-back threes late in the game to keep Duke in it.
The lead changed 10 times in the first half, with Maryland taking a one-point lead into halftime. The Terps never trailed in the second half.
The win is easily Maryland’s best victory of the season and only its second over an RPI Top-50 opponent. Welcome back to the bubble, Terps.… [For more on Maryland knocks off No. 1 Duke, 83-81, click here.]