- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2002

Maryland forward Chris Wilcox learned of his Duke assignment Saturday afternoon. Terrapins coach Gary Williams sent the powerful sophomore home from practice with a video tape and a message negate Blue Devils swingman Mike Dunleavy's 3-point shot.
It was Dunleavy then matched up with 6-foot-5 Byron Mouton at Cameron Indoor Stadium who torched the Terps in the team's mid-January meeting. Wilcox viewed the tape from that game and responded with a career day yesterday offensively and defensively to lead the Terps to an 87-73 victory against top-ranked Duke before a racuous sold-out crowd at Cole Field House.
Williams considered using Mouton against Dunleavy until Saturday, but senior guard Juan Dixon convinced him that Wilcox could handle the talented 6-9 wing player. Williams took the senior's suggestion seriously, and handed over the matchup to Wilcox.
"Chris is big enough and he's very quick," Williams said. "He's not used to playing someone that size and with those ball-handling skills. But he's quick enough if he makes a mistake, he can recover."
Wilcox, normally a post defender, moved outside the 3-point arc to guard Dunleavy, whom Duke (23-2, 11-2 ACC) coach Mike Krzyzewski has called his "most versatile player since Grant Hill." Wilcox did not buy Dunleavy's head fakes that were so effective against Mouton in the first matchup, and Dunleavy found himself shooting with the 6-10 Wilcox in his face.
With very few open looks from the outside, Dunleavy never found any rhythm, and finished just 5-for-14 shooting, including three of 10 behind the 3-point line, for 15 points. In the Blue Devils' first meeting with the Terps (21-3, 11-1), Dunleavy scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half of the Blue Devils' 99-78 win.
"Coach told me, I want you to play Dunleavy instead of Mouton," Wilcox said. "I was like, I'm with it. He was like, but no, I want you to play Dunleavy, I don't want him to score. I told him I would do what I can."
But after Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer for his seventh point of the game a little more than five minutes in, Wilcox looked over to Williams.
"I can't do that," Wilcox told Williams about matching up with Dunleavy. "Then I was like, nah, I'm going to do it. I just went out and played hard. Then I didn't want to come off the court when I was playing good offense and defense at the same time. … I was trying to stay on the court at all times so Dunleavy wouldn't take over the game."
On the offensive end, Wilcox posted up Dunleavy every opportunity he could, and the Blue Devils junior could not handle Wilcox's strength inside. Dunleavy, who fouled out with 1:33 to play, committed his fourth foul midway through the second half, and wore down defending Wilcox, who scored a career-high 23 points.
"When you have a big man just bumping on you all game, it kind of takes away some of your wind, some of your strength," said Wilcox, who grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. "On offense, when you come down, your shot won't really be there. I thought I did a great job posting him up and flying at his shot."
Handing over the defensive assignment to Wilcox shows how much the sophomore has improved this season, and how much confidence Williams has in him, as Dunleavy is perhaps the most difficult player to guard in the nation. Dunleavy utilizes his quickness and ball-handling skills against biggger players, and exploits smaller players' down low. But Wilcox negated Duke's all-court weapon yesterday, displaying the quickness of a guard, and the power of a center.
"Seniors have the right to lobby they don't have the right to vote," said Williams of Dixon's suggestion. "We tried a couple of different things in practice. … I'm not sure Chris could do that in November, what he did today. But he's played now against different kinds of players and I thinked he's learned a lot more about being a defensive player."



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