In his press conference after the game, Maryland head coach Gary Williams seemed resigned. He rarely looked up from the box score sitting in front of him as he answered questions in the hushed room.
With their 76-52 loss to Duke, Williams' Terrapins fell to 1-2 in the ACC, losing their last two games. For a team that had risen to No. 14 in the polls before falling to Miami Jan. 7, losing consecutive lopsided games was unexpected.
A reporter finally asked the obvious: Where does this team go from here?
"We are 1-2 with two road losses, and we have two home games coming up in the league," Williams responded, referring to Maryland's upcoming contests against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. "We played Duke as well as Texas did, as well as anybody has. This is a tough game."
"I am proud of what we have done in the past," he added. "We didn't do it tonight, but it doesn't mean we are a bad basketball team, because a lot of teams that were ranked higher than us couldn't get it done."
The No. 23 Terrapins (11-4) had won six in a row before their two-game skid-including a home win over then-No. 6 Boston College, Dec. 11. They have played the 48th-hardest schedule in the nation, topping Minnesota and Arkansas and playing Gonzaga and George Washington to close losses in their major non-conference games.
Williams said Maryland has played "a really good schedule and really good teams."
But in their two most recent ACC match-ups, Maryland started poorly and trailed throughout. Miami jumped out to a 13-0 lead, and Duke quickly led 7-0.
Another constant in the two losses has been poor ball-handling.
The Terrapins started the season with their point guard situation unsettled-D.J. Strawberry moved over to the position from shooting guard before the season-but Williams stressed after the game that it would be unfair to pin Maryland's turnover woes on that position.
Still, Strawberry and shooting guard Chris McCray combined for 11 turnovers against the Blue Devils.
The team turned the ball over 29 times Wednesday after committing 20 turnovers against the Hurricanes.
"We drop a lot of balls in traffic," Williams said. "Duke came up with quite a few of them. Offensively we dropped some that would probably have led to easy scores if we catch the ball.... When you drop some easy scores, it takes you out of it."
The two road losses make the Terrapins' upcoming home games even more important.
Only four ACC games have been won by road teams this season; several projected conference bottom-dwellers have already scored upset victories on their home courts. Clemson defeated Wake Forest, 74-73, Wednesday night on its home court and Georgia Tech beat Boston College Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski noted after Wednesday night's game that in a league as competitive as the ACC, Maryland would have to rebound quickly from its pair of losses to remain competitive.
"The one thing you learn in this league is if you do get beat, you better put it behind you," Krzyzewski said. "If we get beat, it's got to be like, 'Okay, that's it, we're on to the same thing.' You have to do the same thing with wins. That's the way our league is because there are no off nights in this league."
Despite the losing streak, Williams is not panicking; he has coached 17 years at Maryland, winning the outright regular season championship in 2001.
"We'll meet tomorrow, then we have two days to practice for the Sunday game against Wake Forest," Williams said. "This time of year you can't reteach a lot of stuff or anything, you just prepare for the next game... and realize that we get another shot later in the year."
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