Duke Basketball Completes Season Sweep of Maryland

BabyTateSenior Writer IFebruary 26, 2009

Maryland hosted Duke on Wednesday night, riding a small high of winning three of their last four games.

The Terrapins were seeking revenge for a 41-point loss to Duke a few weeks back.

When the final horn sounded, though, the Blue Devils had completed a season sweep of the Terrapins, this time by a score of 78-67.

The Blue Devils held Maryland star Grievis Vasquez to 10 points before he fouled out with 3:24 remaining.

Additionally, Duke out-rebounded the bigger Terps 39-28 behind the 10 caroms of 6-foot-8-inch sophomore Kyle Singler.

6-foot-4-inch freshman Eliot Williams played well while adding 15 points, six rebounds, and applying outstanding defensive pressure on the Maryland ball-handlers.

The Duke star on this night was junior Gerald Henderson, who not only led the team with 19 points but hammered home a thunder dunk in the second half that shattered the psyche of the occupants of the seats in the spacious arena.

Henderson followed up his offensive performance with an equally impressive defensive demonstration by blocking a layup, seizing the loose ball, and turning it into a Duke scoring opportunity.

Young, but tough, the Blue Devils seem to have grown this season, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each other.

Now late in the third year of Henderson, 6-foot-5-inch Jon Scheyer, and 6-foot-8-inch Lance Thomas, the Blue Devils appear to be rounding into a better club than they were when ranked No. 1 in the country a few weeks back.

Three areas of concern permeated the atmosphere of winning. These include the limited minutes played by 6-foot-10-inch freshman Miles Plumlee and a stunning injury to sophomore Nolan Smith.

Smith's injury accented the third problem area, the insistent use of 7-foot-1-inch junior Brian Zoubek. 

There appears no need to lose playing time with Zoubek when Plumlee is ready, willing, and waiting to develop during ACC competition.

If a player is going to be a player, he has to be given the opportunity to contribute and grow.

After three years, Zoubek has maxed out. Plumlee has produced when called upon in his limited minutes. But he needs more playing time to develop and tap his potential.

This stubborn exercise reeks of the same situation that existed prior to the second Duke-Wake Forest game, playing the multi-injury riddled seniors Greg Paulus and David McClure instead of giving more minutes to the super-talented Williams.

In only eight minutes of playing time, Zoubek had his shot blocked by a man six inches shorter, was constantly out of place on defense, and failed to call out the screen to a defensively-focused Nolan Smith, resulting in losing the fine guard for the remainder of the game.

Next up for the Blue Devils is Virginia Tech. Always a tough opponent in Blacksburg, the Hokies did Duke a favor by disposing of Clemson in Tiger Town on Wednesday night. The result gives Duke sole possession of second place in the ACC.

The Blue Devils hope to improve upon that position in the near future. After last night's performance, that is a real possibility.