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Duke holds off strong Terrapin team

Greivis Vasquez might have done most of the talking Wednesday night, but the actions of the calm and collected Blue Devils down the stretch spoke louder than any words possibly could have.

After sinking a runner in the lane that narrowed a once 16-point Duke lead to five with 11:41 to go, Maryland's motor-mouth point guard began to verbally taunt the Cameron Crazies, bobbing his head vigorously as he yelled towards the Duke student section.

Vasquez-who has called Cameron Indoor Stadium the toughest place he's ever played due to fans who have heckled him in his native Spanish-appeared to take plenty of satisfaction in riling up Duke fans before an official's warning forced him to stop.

But for a Duke team on the verge of surrendering a lead it had held since the game's opening minutes, Vasquez's jawing provided more than enough motivation to fend off the pesky Terrapins.

"When you've got someone coming into your house thinking he owns it, talking crazy to your fans, that's going to put a little more on you and make you play a little bit harder," guard DeMarcus Nelson said.

The Blue Devils did just that, responding to the verbal shots with clutch points from Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler in the game's final 10 minutes to seal their league-leading 10th ACC victory.

After Vasquez's runner and an ensuing Bambale Osby turnaround basket, the Blue Devils clung to a three-point lead with 11:30 to go. After trading misses with Maryland, Duke finally ended a 10-possession scoreless drought when a driving Greg Paulus found Scheyer wide open in the corner for a 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils back ahead 57-51.

"Greg was driving, and he knew that I would be in the corner," Scheyer said. "That's where I was supposed to be, and he hit me and I just knocked down that one shot."

But after a pair of Maryland baskets cut Duke's lead to only two points, Singler stepped up with a driving layup down the left baseline to put Duke back ahead by four.

The Blue Devils would never look back, adding two more points from Scheyer at the free-throw line before Singler nailed the last of his career-high six 3-pointers from the top of the key to give Duke a solid 64-57 advantage with 5:32 remaining.

"His three to put us ahead [64-57] was huge," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I thought that was the key juncture of the game because they had come back, and they were just ready to take over, and we were able to put some points on the board."

With the Terrapin defense confounding the Blue Devils during their long scoring drought, Krzyzewski went to the drawing board during timeouts and took advantage of personnel mismatches to put some distance between his team and its opponent.

"We just tried to use our matchups and go to that down the stretch, and it was good for us," Nelson said. "I think Jon had seven points in a row where he had James Gist guarding him. So, what we did was run a pick-and-roll with Jon and Kyle, which we had James Gist and Osby [guarding]. Those guys are not used to defending ball screens, especially one guarding the ball."

With the win, the Blue Devils have already equaled their win total from last year's 22-11 finish. But most importantly, they got the final word in over Vasquez and the Terrapins.

"He's a good player," Nelson said of Vasquez. "He might have gotten his points tonight, but his teammates didn't, and we got the win."


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