- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. — The Cameron Crazies serenaded the Maryland basketball team moments before tipoff last night with a chant of “not our rivals.”

The Terrapins offered little to counter the argument, committing 29 turnovers as they bumbled their way to a 76-52 loss to top-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Maryland (11-4, 1-2 ACC) showed little of the savvy that helped it win three straight against the redoubtable Blue Devils (15-0, 3-0), falling behind quickly and never recovering — much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“They just outplayed us today, point-blank period,” Maryland point guard D.J. Strawberry said. “They played harder than us, played tougher than us and wanted it more than us. They just did everything right today, and we did everything wrong.”

Shelden Williams had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks [-] the third triple-double in Blue Devils history — as Duke treated Maryland as a typical visitor to Cameron rather than the perennial pest the Terps had become.

It was the second straight loss for the 23rd-ranked Terps, who are in danger of falling out of the national rankings for the first time this season. More pressing, Maryland simply was drubbed by a superior opponent, hardly a compelling thought for a team accustomed to playing the Blue Devils tough.

“We beat them here last year and we played great, and this year we played terrible,” forward Nik Caner-Medley said. “To beat them, it’s something that’s going to take a much better effort than we put up tonight.”

The Terps had virtually no success running their halfcourt offense in the first half, struggling even to make one pass before turning it over against an aggressive Blue Devils press en route to a season-high turnover total. Maryland surrendered the first seven points and needed nearly 13 minutes to reach double figures.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game with 29 turnovers,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “It wasn’t just the point guards; it was dropped balls in traffic.”

Even when Maryland funneled it inside, Shelden Williams was there to leave the Terps little flexibility. The senior established a career high in blocks, and his mere presence discouraged many attempts in the interior. Williams’ triple-double was the first for Duke since Gene Banks in 1978.

“We’ve had some really good guys, but we’ve never had a shot blocker like him. He’s uncanny,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils suffered through none of Maryland’s maladies, turning in a performance befitting the nation’s No. 1 team. Williams devoured the Terps inside, and J.J. Redick (27 points on 9-for-22 shooting) was dangerous as always.

Duke was especially impressive in its passing. Redick twice ceded 3-point attempts to find an open Williams near the basket, and freshman Josh McRoberts found a trailing Williams despite being pinned on the baseline by two defenders.

The Terps pulled within 33-20 late in the first half, but Duke’s relentless perimeter barrage quashed any chance of a comeback. Sean Dockery hit an open 3-pointer, and a possession later, DeMarcus Nelson grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and kicked it out to Redick for another 3.

Redick delivered another long-range shot a minute later, making a 25-footer while being fouled to help Duke push its halftime lead to 45-22.

The blowout predictably left the Terps frustrated, and the disappointment of failing to win at Cameron after doing so last year spilled over with more than 10 minutes left. Forward Ekene Ibekwe earned a technical foul for shoving Dockery away from Maryland’s Chris McCray after a loose ball.

The second half itself was a mere formality, little more than a chance for Maryland to erase the awful first half and get ready for Sunday’s visit from Wake Forest. That could be a significant game for both struggling teams, and a repeat of the past week’s unsightly losses to Duke and Miami could leave the Terps reeling only a quarter of the way into league play.

“We just have to go back home and figure out what we want to do if we want to be a good team,” Strawberry said. “That just can’t happen.”

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