Blue Devils inch past Terps, spark flames at home

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - When the public-address announcer gave the one-minute warning at the end of the second half of Saturday's game, the red sea in Cole Field House began the "overrated" chant. Two minutes earlier, some confident fans had already left the building. It felt over. But an inspired 10-0 run in the last minute of regulation, followed by an overtime period in which Duke never trailed, gave the No. 2 Blue Devils (19-1, 7-0 in the ACC) a 98-96 victory over No. 8 Maryland (14-5, 5-2). "If you were grading the game, you'd say Maryland played better," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Someone's playing better than you, they're fresher, you have to figure out how you are going to hang in there. They didn't fight harder than we did. We fought just as hard as they did." The fight began in earnest with only one minute left in the second half, when Terrapin guard Drew Nicholas made only the second of two free throws, drawing Maryland's lead to 10. Off the ensuing inbounds pass, Jason Williams drove to the basket for a quick layup. As the Blue Devils pressed Maryland's inbounds play, Williams found the ball when Nicholas bobbled it on the left baseline. And as quickly as the previously-struggling Duke guard gained possession of the ball, he let fly a long, fallaway three-pointer that swooshed. Williams' trey brought the Blue Devils to within five of their opponents for the first time since the first half. Duke then called a 30-second timeout in which the Blue Devils were instructed to foul. Andre Buckner came in to take some pressure off starters Shane Battier and Mike Dunleavy, both of whom played the final seven minutes of the games with four personals. Duke's mini-run had injected the Blue Devils with some confidence. "We didn't make a run all day," senior and Maryland native Nate James said. "Once we did, we knew we had them." Buckner immediately fouled Nicholas, who missed both free throws. Chris Duhon grabbed the rebound on the second missed throw, and another quick three-pointer from Williams gave the Terps only a one-possession lead. Guard Juan Dixon fumbled while dribbling the next inbounds pass, and James capitalized and dished the ball to Williams. Dunleavy then missed a three-point attempt, and James made the offensive rebound. Fouled by Maryland guard Byron Mouton as he went up for a layup, James nearly converted the shot for a potential three-point play. Instead, he made two clutch free throws that tied the game at 90. "Whenever I'm shooting free throws, I think back to when I'm in the gym by myself," James said. "I block all that out. I think, 'Knees bent.' When you let the crowd get in your head is when you have missed free throws." Instead of missed free throws, Duke had overtime after Nicholas missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Meanwhile, Maryland's late-game misses at the line helped the Blue Devil cause. "We're fortunate they missed some free throws," Krzyzewski said. "But they played a marvelous game. Maryland was superb." Forty seconds into overtime, though, star Terrapin forward Terence Morris fouled out. With about two minutes left in regulation, another Maryland starter, guard Steve Blake, who had spent much of the game driving past Williams and passing inside to Morris, Lonny Baxter and Tahj Holden, picked up his fifth personal. "Foul trouble had a bearing on the whole game," Krzyzewski said. "We had to manage our guys with four fouls. Our guys play a lot of minutes, and they play a lot of minutes having fouls. Maybe they are more conditioned to that type of situation." Williams made two free throws after Morris was replaced, and Duke led by two-its first lead since early in the first period. Baxter then put in a layup on Maryland's end, which Battier followed with a trey. Dixon then made a driving move and picked up another Terrapin basket. Dunleavy turned the ball over on the Blue Devils' next possession, after which Mouton committed an offensive foul. Moments later, Dixon fouled Battier, and the senior found himself on the line with two minutes remaining and Duke hanging onto a narrow one-point lead. Battier made both free throws, but within fifteen seconds Maryland had made up the difference off good Holden foul shots. Duke retained possession of the ball for the next minute and a half, and even though the Blue Devils did not score, their three offensive rebounds in sequence kept the Terrapins from scoring. Finally, Baxter fouled Battier, who only made one of two free throws. Holden came away with the defensive rebound, and Dixon cut in for a layup. In position under the basket, Battier deftly blocked Dixon's shot. Williams rebounded, and the clock expired. "I knew Dixon was going to take the last shot," Battier said. "I knew he was going to try to get fouled; he's an automatic free throw shooter. I also knew the refs were going to let us play. I just stood under the basket, Juan went right to the hoop, and I just swatted his shot away." Battier may never have been in a position where his block would matter if it were not for Duke's 8-2 run to end the first half. Down by 15 with 2:42 remaining in the first period, the Blue Devils allowed only one Maryland basket for the rest of the half. In addition, Duke utilized a Battier three-pointer and a Duhon jumper to cut the lead further. After Duhon's basket, Maryland held the ball for the last shot of the half and missed. As the Terps ran to the locker room, officials realized that time had not expired. Maryland gained possession of the ball with 36.4 seconds in the half; even though they used the entire shot clock, 1.4 seconds remained. Dunleavy threw a baseball pass the length of the court, Battier faked a cut to catch it, and Williams grabbed the ball and drove for a layup. Maryland coach Gary Williams saw this as a major turning point. "They get a chance to regroup," Williams said. "There's 1.4 seconds left, the ball bounces off to Williams. Things happen." One of Coach Williams' players, though, held his team more culpable. "Playing against Duke you have to play 40 minutes," Mouton said. "We played 38."


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