Playing in front of a boisterous sellout crowd against one of their biggest rivals, the Blue Devils relied on their two best players to dispatch the Terrapins. Singler and Smith combined to score Duke’s first 16 points of the second half to make it 56-43 with 12 minutes left, which proved to be too much a deficit for the cold-shooting Terrapins to overcome.
The victory gave Duke (20-2, 7-1 ACC) a season sweep of Maryland (14-8, 4-4). Duke has won eight of the last nine games between the teams and four of the last six at Comcast Center.
The Blue Devils were coming off a lopsided loss to St. John’s. Duke hasn’t dropped two straight since Feb. 11-15, 2009, to North Carolina and Boston College.
Jordan Williams had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Terrapins, who remain in search of a signature victory in their quest to return to the NCAA tournament. Maryland shot 40 percent and went 2 for 9 from 3-point range.
Maryland provided its fans some hope with an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to 56-51, but Duke answered with a 10-3 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Andre Dawkins.
That gave the Blue Devils enough of a cushion to provide coach Mike Krzyzewski with his 50th career win against the Terrapins (50-21).
A year ago, an inspired home win over Duke set off a wild, destructive celebration by Maryland fans along U.S. Route 1. The school planned a bonfire to avoid a repeat performance, but the defeat was enough to sober the mood of the student body.
Duke made half its 12 attempts from 3-point range and got nine points apiece from Singler and Mason Plumlee in taking a 40-33 halftime lead.
After going up 16-15, Maryland went more than six minutes without a field goal. But the Terrapins went 13 for 15 at the foul line in the first half, including a 7-for-8 performance by Williams, a 52 percent free throw shooter.
The opening 10 minutes featured five ties and eight lead changes. Duke trailed by a point before Singler drilled a 3-pointer, Plumlee hit a jumper in the lane and Smith added a three-point play to make it 23-16.
Minutes later, Seth Curry made a pair of 3-pointers in a 13-4 run that put the Blue Devils ahead 38-23.
It was 40-26 before the Terrapins closed the half with a 7-0 spurt, capped by a last-second drive by Adrian Bowie that rejuvenated the crowd.