Maryland-Duke: Terrapins Beat Blue Devils in a Thriller
Oh, it was a chess match throughout, but Maryland, on Senior Night for Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne, checkmated at the end, with the 22nd-ranked Terrapins beating No. 4 Duke at home, 79-72.
The crowd, with several areas of the Comcast Center clad in yellow, played a factor early in the game, which saw Maryland leading by as many as 14 points (16-2) in the first half.
However, after playing a flex offense and a defense that prevented the Blue Devils' stars Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith from getting good looks and shots, Maryland's focus waned a bit later, which allowed Duke to come back on a 19-7 run to end the half, trailing the home team, 40-38.
Scheyer weaved around the perimeter and played a critical role in that ferocious, first-half comeback, shooting a couple of consecutive three-pointers.
Scheyer and Smith were more of a factor in the second half than Singler, continuing to rely on screens to spot up for threes, or driving through the lane to create their own shots and draw fouls in the process.
Vasquez though, who definitely kept the crowd energized, even in the last few minutes of the game, not only filled out an emotional factor in the game, but also provided a couple of the best athletic shots of the night, slashing through the lane and hitting a jumper and a unique hook shot, finishing with 20 points.
"That was a huge win for us...We love it, we love it...We appreciate the win," Vasquez said after the game.
Of course, Vasquez was perhaps the hero of the game, but he didn't win it by himself, thanks to key plays made by Hayes and Milbourne, along with younger teammates Adrian Bowie (perfect from the perimeter, 4-4 FG) and freshman center Jordan Williams (15 points, 11 rebounds).
Even when Maryland placed tighter grips on Scheyer and Singler, the Blue Devils almost came through with the wily contributions of Smith, who gave Duke its last lead in the final two minutes, 69-67.
Duke's starting center Brian Zoubek, who gave Maryland fits at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a Feb. 13 77-56 win, again played a serious role earlier in the game but fizzled out when the game was on the line, leaving with four points and 13 rebounds.
The win against Duke (25-5, 12-3 ACC) was Maryland's (22-7, 12-3) first in the past seven tries, also ending Duke's eight-game winning streak.
If Maryland beats Virginia at Charlottesville on Saturday, then the team has a chance to either share the regular season championship with Duke, or win it outright with 13 ACC wins.
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