- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005

DURHAM, N.C. — Maryland isn’t through yet.

The Terrapins knocked No.2 Duke from the unbeaten ranks last night with a 75-66 victory before 9,314 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Maryland beat its nemesis for the second straight time and scored its first victory at Cameron since 2000 with a perplexing array of lineups, a strong inside game and steely play and foul shooting in the final minutes.

“There’s a lot of people in College Park that had written us off — it seems to be a habit,” coach Gary Williams said. “This is good for us. We struggled a little this year with our identity. We do have pride in our program. After the N.C. State game [a 19-point home loss Sunday], the players put it upon themselves to put out a great effort. We played with a lot of confidence down the stretch.”

Forwards Ekene Ibekwe and Travis Garrison gained redemption after being benched for the first time this season. Ibekwe put Maryland ahead 66-64 with 1:23 remaining on a 5-footer, and Garrison followed with two free throws. Ibekwe then hit another two free throws to give the Terps a 70-64 lead with 46.4 seconds left.

Garrison added another two foul shots with 35.4 seconds remaining as the Terps’ small fan corps behind their bench started hooting at the Blue Devils’ fans. Ibekwe then sank two more for a 74-64 lead.

“I told myself I wanted to come through,” Ibekwe said.

Added Garrison: “The little things like free throws added up to a big thing.”

Terps forward Nik Caner-Medley scored 25 points before leaving with 1:43 left after grabbing his left ankle, and Ibekwe finished with 15. Guard J.J. Redick topped Duke with 20 points.

Maryland (12-5, 3-3 ACC) meets No.22 Georgia Tech on Sunday at Comcast Center. Duke (15-1, 5-1 ACC) plays host to Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Maryland opened with a three-guard lineup, sending Garrison to the bench in favor of Mike Jones. However, Williams went one move further by sitting forward Ibekwe for center Will Bowers. Caner-Medley shifted from small forward to power forward after rebounding well over the last four games.

Williams resisted the first non-disciplinary lineup changes this season for several games, saying he didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry. However, he hinted Tuesday he would make moves following the loss to N.C. State. The Terps played with so little emotion against the Wolfpack that Williams opted for some shock value hoping to revive the team.

Maryland’s frontcourt had shown little underneath against top teams this season. The Terps needed another outside scorer, and Bowers’ first career start after a string of solid reserve efforts continued the sophomore’s rise from obscurity over the last month.

The moves worked for 15 minutes. Maryland held a short lead until Duke spurted on a 10-1 run to take a 26-24 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first half.

The Terps led 15-7 as Caner-Medley withstood intense hazing by fans to score nine points.

“They were going at my neck,” Caner-Medley said. “I had to come down [to the locker room] after warmups and take a deep breath.”

Maryland began working in its regular rotation after six minutes. However, the regular five were never together because the new rotation continued to keep Duke off balance offensively. The Terps even played four reserves alongside guard Chris McCray for 40 seconds late in the first half.

Maryland stretched its lead to 23-16 with 7:51 remaining before Duke rediscovered its quickness and finally edged ahead on three foul shots by Redick, the NCAA’s career leading free throw shooter. Duke seemed ready to pull away at 32-26, but Maryland countered with four points by Ibekwe to trail 34-30 at halftime.

Duke tried to put away Maryland in the opening moments of the second half, jumping to a 40-32 lead. However, Caner-Medley responded by scoring the Terps’ next nine points to close to 45-41 with 16:02 left.

The Terps returned to their traditional lineup sans Garrison, who had three fouls. Maryland stunned Duke with two baskets underneath and a fast break by McCray for a 48-47 lead with 13:38 remaining. The Blue Devils scored only two free throws over 3:09 before forward Lee Melchionni nailed a long 3-pointer for a 50-48 edge.

Redick’s 3-pointer with 10:36 remaining ended his scoreless second half and gave Duke a 55-52 lead as Cameron grew even louder. But the Terps didn’t buckle. McCray regained the lead for Maryland at 59-58 on another fast-break basket with 6:36 left.

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