After defeating then #1 UNC last Saturday, a lot of Terps fans were wondering aloud if it was a one time thing (like when the Ravens played their best game of the season against New England then got blown out the next game vs. Indy) or if Maryland can compete night in and night out against elite teams.
That question was answered pretty quickly on Sunday night at a sold out Comcast Center, when a well pre-prepared and aggressive Terps team had the Duke Blue Devils on the ropes early. This is definitely not the same teams that lost to Ohio U. and American U. in December.
Tonight’s 93-84 loss to Duke was truly a tale of two halves.
Maryland came out of the gates strong, repeatedly pounding the ball inside to Bambale “boom” Osby for easy baskets. After a slow start offensively, James Gist was a force. In the first half, Duke had no answer for Maryland’s inside play. Osby & Gist combined for 26 points and 12 boards in the first twenty minutes. Duke’s front court of Kyle Singler and Lance Thomas were overmatched and outplayed.
Maryland owned the glass (+8 in rebounds) and continually pushed the ball up the court in transition. Greivis Vasquez had ZERO turnovers as the Terps went to the locker room with a 51-42 halftime lead.
The second half belonged to the Blue Devils. They started off with a 6-0 run which wiped out most of Maryland’s halftime lead, quieted the raucous crowd, and gave Duke much needed momentum.
Duke’s talented trio of guards (Gerald Henderson, DeMarcus Nelson and Nolan Smith) was too quick and much too physical for the Terps backcourt of Eric Hayes, Landon Milbourne and Greivis Vasquez, and scored a combined 64 of the Blue Devils’ 93 points.
Duke had a +7 rebounding advantage in the second half and also did a much better job with their transition defense.
Maryland continued to turn the ball over (22 for the game vs. only 10 for Duke) and missed the front end of consecutive one and ones at a crucial juncture of the game, when they were behind.
The tough loss leaves the Terps with a 12-8 record (2-3 in the ACC) with a home game on Wednesday night against a suddenly struggling Virginia squad.
On the plus side, Maryland shot a season high 54.4% from the field. James Gist had 26 points and 5 rebounds, Bambale “boom” Osby came up huge again with a career high 20 points and 15 boards. Greivis Vasquez, who takes a lot of heat for his sloppy ball handling, chipped in with 15 points, 7 assists and only 2 turnovers. The Terps shared the ball well, with 24 assists.
On the minus side, Duke scored 93 points with only 9 assists. This is not a misprint. Duke only had 9 assists, which means there were an awful lot of points scored out of one-on-one matchups, mostly by their guards. Maryland’s 24 turnovers, lead to 29 Duke points, which more than negated the Terps advantage in the paint.
Former Terps including Johnny Rhodes, Byron Mouton, Walt “the Wizard” Williams and Ernie Graham were in the house. Gene Shue was an honorary game captain.
Help is on the way next year for the Terps backcourt. St. Frances Academy’s Sean Mosley (physical) and Hutchinson JC’s Bobby Maze (quick), guards who will both play in College Park next year were also in attendance.
Calvert Hall’s Braxton Dupree got a DNP tonight and his minutes have been diminishing as the ACC season progresses. Shane Walker and Dave Neal are now ahead of him in the rotation. That’s not a good sign.