DURHAM, N.C. | Maryland refused to let Nolan Smith drive through its defense. When No. 1 Duke needed it most, Kyle Singler shot over it.
Singler finished with 25 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, and the Blue Devils beat the Terrapins 71-64 on Sunday night to extend their winning streak to 25.
Smith added 18 hard-fought points on 5-of-18 shooting for Duke (15-0, 2-0 ACC). The Blue Devils overcame 17 turnovers and shot 40 percent to extend their best start since 2005-06.
"They did everything possible to take Nolan out of the game," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Jordan Williams had 23 points and 13 rebounds for his ninth straight double-double, and Cliff Tucker added 14 points for the Terrapins (10-5, 0-2), the last team to beat Duke. They were denied their 11th win against a No. 1 team in school history and first since 2008.
"We played well tonight, but we just didn't play well enough," Williams said. "We've got to be almost perfect to beat a team like that."
Maryland closed to 67-62 on Williams' layup with 1:25 left before Singler hit the shot of the night. Smith passed to him, and he hit a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. The Terrapins couldn't get closer than six after that.
Seth Curry added 12 points for reigning national champion Duke, which extended its winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 29, has defeated 51 consecutive unranked opponents on its home floor and has won four in a row over Maryland at home. The overall winning streak is the second-longest in school history.
Smith, the ACC's leading scorer, had his streak of 20-point games snapped at five. He was coming off a career-best 33-point performance four nights earlier against UAB, but nothing came easy this time against a Maryland defense determined to slow him down.
"Going into every game, nobody has said, 'Let's not guard Nolan Smith,' so I know that teams are going to try to defend me, try and go at me even harder, going forward," Smith said. "Kyle and I take the majority of our team's shots, so just getting sharper, knowing that it's going to be like that, and just play my game — just take strong shots, and stay in that aggressive mindset."
That seemed to open things up for Singler, who was 10 of 19 from the field and finished with three 3s. After the Terps closed to 55-54 with 6½ minutes left, Singler hit from long range to start an 8-2 spurt. He closed it with a layup that made it 63-56 with 4:20 left, and Maryland couldn't make it a one-possession game the rest of the way.
"We did a pretty good job at times and probably a good job on Smith, if he goes 5 for 18," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "If you take away one, you still have Singler."
The Blue Devils trailed 38-32 a minute into the second half — their largest deficit of the season — before they used a Curry-led 14-2 run to take a six-point lead. Curry scored nine points during the burst, capping it with a 3 from the corner that made it 46-40 with about 13 minutes left. But the Terps kept themselves within striking distance the rest of the way; neither team led by more than eight.
"They didn't make a huge run and take us out of the game," Williams said. "We were in the game the whole game tonight. It's just a matter of getting over the hump."
The Terrapins, who upset Duke 79-72 last March in College Park, had the star of that game — Greivis Vasquez — sitting in the stands behind their bench for this one.
For much of the night, he had to like what he saw.
Maryland kept things tight early, forcing 10 first-half turnovers — or, more than the Blue Devils committed in five games — while holding them to an uncharacteristic 1-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. Singler's tip-in just before the buzzer put Duke up 32-31, its slimmest halftime lead of the season at Cameron.
It didn't last long. The Terrapins reeled off seven quick points in the opening minute of the second half and went up by six on Sean Mosley's tip-in.
"I thought whatever we told them at halftime was not working," Krzyzewski said. "In fact, I was sure it wasn't working. ... We didn't run what we were supposed to run. In sport, you can get knocked back because you play good people. We got knocked back."