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Foul Play: Undermanned Duke falls to Terps in OT

With five Duke regulars on the bench by the end of overtime, Maryland made 9-of-12 free throws and swept Duke for the first time since 1994-1995.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — DeMarcus Nelson and Patrick Davidson positioned themselves perfectly under the basket in what is normally Shelden Williams’ real estate. But with the Landlord and three other Duke regulars evicted, Maryland forwards reached right over the makeshift front line to snatch shot after shot bouncing off the rim in overtime.

The Blue Devils did not score a single field goal in overtime Saturday night, while the Terrapins nailed 9-of-12 free throws as Duke continued to foul away. By game’s end former manager Ross Perkins was the best remaining option as the Blue Devils fell, 99-92, sarcastic echoes of “Not our rivals!” reverberating through a packed Comcast Center before fans stormed the court.

“It was pretty frustrating,” said Nelson, who tied the game with 33 seconds left in regulation. “You got a body on guys and blocked them out, but guys were reaching over me and getting rebounds. I can’t reach that far—that’s out of my hands.”

The No. 8 Blue Devils (18-3, 8-3 in the ACC) have now lost three straight to the Terps (15-7, 6-5) dating back to last season’s ACC Tournament overtime thriller. With the loss, they also fell out of a three-way tie atop the conference.

Despite Duke’s foul troubles, Maryland struggled to close the door in overtime, misfiring from the field and turning the ball over several times. With Duke down 93-90 midway through the extra period, J.J. Redick threw a pass out of bounds between Nelson and Davidson, and Chris McCray sunk two free throws on the ensuing possession.

The Terps would go on to hit four more free throws, and Duke tossed up three-pointers against a Maryland perimeter defense that was tight all game. Daniel Ewing fouled out 13 seconds into overtime, and by the time it was over Lee Melchionni and Sean Dockery had joined Williams and Shavlik Randolph—neither of whom even made it to OT—on the bench.

Throughout the overtime period, the Blue Devils were resolved to drive to the basket even though everyone in the building knew Redick’s threes were Duke’s best remaining weapon. Without Williams to distract attention, the slashing Blue Devils were routinely stuffed before getting to the basket.

“I’m exhausted, but I’m so happy and overwhelmed that I can’t describe it. I left it all on the floor,” Maryland point guard John Gilchrist said. “Any opportunity that I saw, I tried to seize the moment.”

Gilchrist had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but his shot in the lane on an isolation play missed the mark. The rebound landed in the hands of Nik Caner-Medley, whose fade-away at the buzzer hit the rim twice before bouncing off.

Duke led by nine with 10 minutes left in the half and then again by four with just 1:36 remaining after Dockery drained an open three. Melchionni then fouled Gilchrist, who still muscled in the layup and hit the ensuing free throw.

Redick missed a trifecta, and the Terps came down to get another and-one when Ekene Ibekwe put in a rebound waiting for him on the rim and Williams picked up his fifth foul.

With Duke down 88-86, Ewing penetrated into the lane and fed Nelson, who cut in from the corner for two to set up Maryland’s failed final possession.

“There were a couple of key moments during the game where I felt if we would have gotten a few key stops or a bucket we could have pulled away,” Redick said. “Give them credit, they had a great effort. They really fed off of their crowd’s energy.”

Ewing, Redick and Williams all scored more than 20 points, but before Williams fouled out the Blue Devils focused on getting the ball down to their big man. With Randolph already disqualified after playing just 11 minutes, Williams was Duke’s only post presence, but Maryland still could not block him out. He grabbed four rebounds and scored five points as Duke clung to its lead in the final five minutes.

Mike Jones, who helped McCray chase Redick around the perimeter and through screens all night, almost singlehandedly brought Maryland back starting at the 8:26 mark. The sophomore scored eight consecutive points to cut Duke’s lead from nine to one in 90 seconds.

“With the team we had, nine points doesn’t seem too difficult to overcome,” Jones said. “I didn’t really realize what was going on and that I scored all eight points. I just knew whenever I had a smaller guy on me to take advantage of it.”

Neither team had more than 11 turnovers in a game that, aside from Duke’s 31 fouls, was played cleanly from the start. Matched up against each other, Gilchrist and Ewing opened the game on a tear, scoring 10 and seven points, respectively, in the first five minutes.

“We were both just trying to make plays for our team and start off strong,” Ewing said. “I made some plays early to get us going.”

Dockery then began guarding Gilchrist, who scored only nine more points but came within an assist of a triple-double.

By halftime Maryland led 48-43, but Ewing, Randolph and Williams each had at least two fouls. Redick would quickly give Duke its first lead since midway through the first half when he hit two quick threes on the team’s first four second-half possessions. The Blue Devils scored the first 11 points of the second half.

Many of Duke’s fouls came off loose balls, especially going after defensive rebounds. Led by Travis Garrison, who scored 17 points to go along with 11 boards, the Terps outrebounded Duke 50-41.

“It was a tough loss for us,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought our kids played their hearts out, especially in the second half and overtime.

“It was a disruptive game for us.”

 

NOTES:

If Gilchrist had dished out one more assist, he would have earned the first Maryland triple-double in more than 18 years.... Redick shot just 5-for-19 from the field but still had his 16th 20-plus point performance of the season. The junior was on the court all 45 minutes and has played a complete game in three of Duke’s last four contests.

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