- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

DURHAM, N.C. — A drained Gary Williams leaned against a locker in the dank visitors’ dressing room at Cameron Indoor Stadium wearing the exhausted look of a man who would rather not endure last night’s proceedings again.

Too many turnovers. Too many open looks for Duke’s Kyle Singler and Greg Paulus. Too many shaky possessions.

And a second loss to the ACC’s top team in less than three weeks.

The Terrapins did not produce their best performance in a 77-65 loss to the No. 2 Blue Devils. And three starters were neutralized for much of the night, an unwelcome scenario on nearly any night.

But while it did sink the Terps (16-9, 6-4 ACC) back toward the midpack morass that populates the ACC this season, it was hardly a crippling blow for a team that had won six of seven over the last month.

“It’s not the end of the world,” said sophomore guard Greivis Vasquez, who scored 25 points in his annual visit to one of his personal playgrounds. “We’re going to see them in the ACC tournament. We have six games left in the ACC, and we have the next two at home. We have to be positive.”

Singler scored a career-high 26 points for the Blue Devils (22-1, 10-0), who won their 12th straight.

It was probably best to use a wide-angle lens to assess Maryland’s off night. The Terps struggled on offense early, but they did enough to pare their deficit to two by the middle of the second half before fading as Duke squeezed the life out of yet another opponent.

Ultimately, the inability to shut down Singler and Paulus (20 points) on the perimeter doomed Maryland. Those two had been 31-for-66 from the 3-point line over their last five games, and Paulus’ improved play this season stemmed in large part from extra open looks from the outside.

Singler, though, was particularly effective. He shot 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, helping Duke produce a 12-for-25 night from the outside.

“When you see Singler when he’s picking and popping and I’m trying to get back to Paulus and I still see one of our big men there, you know he’s going to get a shot attempt up,” guard Eric Hayes said. “We know it’s probably not going to be a good thing for us. Tonight he was hitting pretty much everything he took.”

That might have been tolerable had Maryland worked it inside as effectively as it had in the teams’ first meeting, a 93-84 Duke victory at Comcast Center on Jan. 27. But James Gist, who scored 26 points in that game, totaled nine last night and did not reprise the interior tag team with Bambale Osby that worked so well in College Park.

“Tonight we did a better job,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We didn’t do a great job, but we did a better job. They didn’t hurt us as much.”

It was hardly all on Gist; Landon Milbourne (four points) and Hayes (three points) both were held scoreless in the first half, and Maryland trailed 46-32 before Vasquez almost single-handedly fueled a comeback.

For every ill-advised shot hoisted early in the shot clock, there was at least one brilliant drive to help keep giving Maryland chances. And despite a warning from official John Cahill to tone down his histrionics in the middle of the second half, Vasquez pulled Maryland within 57-55 with a layup and a slick pass to Gist for a dunk on successive possessions.

Singler, though, scored seven points during an 11-2 run to open it back up for the Blue Devils.

“You probably only get one chance to get over the top when you’re down that far,” Williams said. “We had our chance, but we weren’t able to take advantage.”

Duke, which created 31 points off 19 Maryland turnovers, spread it out on offense in the closing minutes, effectively milking the clock to secure a second season sweep of the Terps in three years.

While frustrating, the loss was not damaging to a team that had surged into the top half of the conference in the last month. But it will be interesting to see how the Terps respond when Florida State visits College Park on Saturday.

“We’re tough,” Williams said. “We’ve developed a certain toughness with this team because we had to. We’re not going to let one game take that away from us. It’s back to work tomorrow.”

Terps report

Last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.


After some tepid efforts the last couple of years with Maryland in town, the Cameron Crazies came up with an amusing theme sure to irk coach Gary Williams.

Emphasizing the 0 percent graduation rate for the basketball program announced in October, several students came dressed in caps and gowns. Among the signs in the crowd were “Last five years: Zero percent graduation rate. FEAR THE CLASSROOM.”

As for the infamous cheer sheet, the highlight was an insistence to keep cheers clever and classy. “If you want to use profanity,” it intoned, “Go to Maryland.” …

Duke honored former Maryland coach (and Blue Devils player) Lefty Driesell. Driesell, whose son Chuck is an assistant for the Terps, was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November.


33 Years since Maryland won games at Duke and North Carolina in the same season. The Terps earned the first portion of that exacta last month in Chapel Hill but were denied the rare double last night.

Patrick Stevens

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