Durham, NC Coming in, it had the feeling of a Maryland-Duke classic.
Before Saturday’s Maryland-Duke game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, there was a real sense that the Maryland-Duke rivalry was regaining significance both atop the ACC and throughout the country. It had the feel of those games from 1999-2003 where when Maryland and Duke met, it really meant something. Not only in the race for the ACC Championship, but in the race for seeding in the NCAA Tournament and a run to the Final Four.
Of course, immediately after tip-off, all of those fuzzy feelings went away.
Before you could say “13-0″, the Blue Devils used a 13-0 run to go ahead 20-6, and the Terrapins never really had much of an answer en route to a humbling 77-56 loss that dropped them to 16-7 overall, 6-3 in the ACC.
It’s all tooeasy to say that the visions of a run to the ACC Championship were nothing more than a pipe dream. It’s all too easy to say that analysts both locally and nationally had set their sights too high and Maryland proved exactly what they were made of at Cameron Indoor. It’s all too easy to say that the loss to Duke brought Maryland “back to reality.”
It’s easy because that’s exactly what happened. Saturday’s loss to Duke brought Maryland back to reality.
Needing to get in one final shot before leaving Cameron Indoor Stadium for the last time, Greivis Vasquez made a stupid comment that actually had a nugget of truth in it. Given that Vasquez just finished his career 1-3 at Cameron, with the last two losses coming by a combined 62 points, he really shouldn’t have said anything at all. But when given the chance to spout off, he said, “They’re going to come to our house…and our fans are going to do what their fans did…better.”
Whether Duke’s fans are “better” than Marylands’ is completely irrelevant, but Vasquez actually made a good point in the first half of that statement.
Duke still has to play Maryland. And if the Terps can beat Duke at the Comcast Center, then Saturday’s bruising won’t matter.
Starting Monday night, when it hosts Virginia, the Maryland squad will have a lot of work to do to meet their goals for the rest of the season. But it’s work that can be done
No matter what else happens this weekend, the Terps will be no more than 1 game back of Duke in the loss column in the ACC standings, as the Devils improved to 9-2. So the Terps will maintain control of their destiny, raising the possibility ofat least sharing the ACC regular season title-and more importantly, clinching one of the Top 4 seeds in the ACC Tournament, avoiding having to play on Thursday in Greensboro. They’re not a “lock” to make the NCAA Tournament by any stretch of the imagination; but they’re still just 3 victories away from 9 in the ACC, a number which has historically meant teams should consider themselves safe.
What happened Saturday at Duke does not change what Maryland has done to prove what type of team it is. We know it’s a team that struggles on the road. Maryland is now just 5-6 away from Comcast Center (with 4 of those wins coming over Chaminade, Indiana, UNC-Greensboro and Boston College). We know it’s a team whose shooters aren’t natural enough to thwart runs from opponents who can hit consecutive outside jumpers. We saw that when Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer made consecutive threes to extend Duke’s lead to 30-14 after Maryland had gotten back within 10 in the first half. We know Maryland is a team that has to work its way to the free throw line to be successful. The Terps did not get a single free throw attempt in the first half en route to scoring just 24 points.
But we know that this Maryland team IS tough inside. Despite 17 rebounds from Brian Zoubek, the Terps were out-rebounded just 39-34 by the Devils. We know Maryland is capable of shooting from the outside and scoring in bunches at home. They’ve scored at least 77 points in each of their last 6 games at Comcast Center. And we know this team still has one of the most dynamic leaders in the conference, and arguably in the country. Despite one of the worst 1st halfs in his entire career, Greivis Vasquez still managed to score 17 points Saturday and help the Terps shave a 22-point Duke lead back down to 10 before the Devils pulled away for good.
Nothing is handed out in ACC basketball. While Gary Williams defended his team’s focus before the game, it certainly appeared as though the Terps thought they were good enough to stay close with the Blue Devils even if they struggled early. They appeared to be frustrated at multiple times by what they saw from the Devils, despite Gary Williams asking “What’s frustrating about playing a college basketball game on national television?” following the defeat. What Gary Williams said after asking that question may have been the most important statement he made today:
After their 41-point loss at Duke last season, the Terps needed to grow up to keep from reaching rock bottom. This season, the Terps need to grow up to stay on track for what are still very attainable goals.
It all starts Monday night against Virginia.
2:58-James Padgett just got in the books with a bucket, and Adrian Bowie ALMOST hit a jumper. Which is about as good as making a jumper when we’re talking about Adrian Bowie.
77-56 is your final. Back with more after Gary…
2:55-The band and fans here in Durham love the song “Everytime We Touch” by Maggie Reilly/Cascada. It’s a bit strange. It’s a bit weird to use a love song to get pumped up, but I guess if you’re going to win games by 20+ points, you can use whatever song you want. I prefer it when they play “Devil With a Blue Dress” by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels myself.
Is there still a basketball game going on???
2:53-I hope you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST). It’s probably the only way to stomach this type of manhandling….
2:49-Zoubek now has 14 points and 15 boards. I actually thought he had 40 points and 50 boards…
2:44-Brian Zoubek might as well just go ahead and retire. The Maryland games are his opus…
2:43-Instead of practicing how to MAKE free throws, you think it might be time for Maryland to have Jordan Williams start practicing how to miss them in a way that the ball will come right back to him?
2:40-Contrary to poular belief, Greivis Vasquez can’t do it by himself. If the Terps are going to overcome a 14 point deficit in the final 7:48, he’ll need help. Maryland just can’t afford to miss 3 shots in at the hoop like they just did…
2:38-Duke ends the Maryland run with a Singler bucket, and Tucker misses an open 3 from the corner. Maryland had a real chance to get within single digits there….
2:36-Another mini-run, as Greivis Vasquez wakes up to reel off 7 straight, including Maryland’s first 3 point make of the game. He now has 11 (just like that he leads the team), and the Terps are within 12-the closest they’ve been in the 2nd half.
2:31-I’ve seen Maryland rally from down 22 before (January 8, 1997 against North Carolina in Chapel Hill)…Duke’s largest lead today has been 22. Of course, that Maryland team was better (lead by Obinna Ekezie and current assistant coach Keith Booth), and that Carolina team wasn’t as good (they were forced to play without an injured Vince Carter).
2:27-Allen Iverson might be “The Answer”, but Nolan Smith was just “The Answer” to Maryland’s last mini-run. Duke lead back to 20 at 54-24, and Gary needs another timeout. He might have to start calling timeouts from other games…
2:22-Some signs of life for Maryland as they get the lead back down to 16 with Eric Hayes headed to the free throw line. Duke actually forced to call a timeout before the freebies make it 48-34 Devils. Closest Terps have been in 2nd half.
2:20-Maryland hasn’t gone a game without a 3 pointer since ’99 against Virginia. (Thanks Pat Stevens!) That streak might be in jeopardy.
2:18-At what point are Johnny Holliday and Chris Knoche allowed to just start drinking? 48-28 at the first official timeout of the 2nd half. 15:23 to play. Only because we must…
2:15-It was former Baltimore Sun columnist David Steele who coined the “Kareem Abdul-Zoubek” nickname a season ago here in Durham….
2:11-Terps showing the type of fire to start the 2nd half that makes you wonder why they even bothered to come back out of the locker room….
2:06-Stats don’t always tell the story, but sometimes stats tell the entire story. Maryland was 0-7 from beyond the arc in the first half, and did not attempt a SINGLE free throw. Duke was 5-10 from 3 point land, 7-9 from the free throw line. For the math majors, that’s a difference of 22 points.
2:02-Matt-check out this picture….
If you look at the top of the picture, above the stands-you will see where Verne Lunquist and Clark Kellogg are doing the CBS broadcast from. They can see the floor, but they are clearly removed from the action. This facility just really isn’t meant to be a major college basketball arena…
1:52-Now we know they won’t. They just need it to be 15 or fewer. Maryland could have held for the final shot of the first half-but with Greivis Vasquez on the bench, Duke will instead get to the free throw line. Is Steve Bisciotti letting John Harbaugh give Gary Williams tips on how to finish a half?
A bucket from Tucker (who leads Maryland with makes it 40-24 at half. Hey, that’s 9 points better than it was a season ago here!
Scheyer leads the Devils with 11.
1:49-Adrian Bowie with maybe the best play of his entire Maryland career-but somehow Nolan Smith snaked free for a putback on the other end. When the lead gets down to 12, you start to think “if only they can get this under 10 before the half…”
I don’t think they will.
1:46-The truly troubling part about today’s game is that it ABSOLUTELY could be worse. 34-20 Devils. I told Eric Aaronson on “Section 410″ just before the game that if Maryland scores 25 points or fewer in the first helf, they’d lose. Maybe they’re just trying to make me look good???
1:42-Thanks to our friend Patrick Stevens (late Washington Times, now D1scourse.typepad.com & InsideMDSports.com) for letting me know that was a 2 for Kelly. I’m not sure where my head is at, but my stomach isn’t in a happy place, that’s for sure. It still doesn’t mean the Terps have a 3 point make yet.
As a reminder, you can hear Patrick on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 every Tuesday at 8:05. I plug because I love.
1:40-Greivis Vasquez FINALLY gets on the board. Meanwhile, 6’10″ Ryan Kelly (who I had HONESLY never heard of) has more 3 pointers than the Terps do currently. 32-20 Devils after the first points for Milbourne as well. Milbourne just picked up his 2nd personal foul.
1:34-The only thing I can say about the Jordan Williams-Dino Gregory-Sean Mosley-Cliff Tucker-Adrian Bowie lineup that was out on the floor is that it is probably a look at the 2010-2011 Terps. The seniors will certainly have to re-enter, with the only question being….will it matter?
1:31-Greivis Vasquez sits, Adrian Bowie enters. Brian Zoubek re-enters. This usually wouldn’t be good, but Tucker’s driving ability is really helping Maryland right now. Unfortunately, Duke’s outside shooting is always the difference-as back to back 3-balls from Singler and Scheyer re-extend the lead to 30-14. Gary forced to take another timeout. He might not have any in the 2nd half.
1:28-Maryland FINALLY breaks a 13-0 Duke run with a Tucker hoop. Problem is, Duke hasn’t stopped scoring. The ONLY good news is that Tucker is getting inside, which may force the Devils to bring their defense back in.
1:23-Cliff Tucker checks in for Sean Mosley, giving Maryland a BIT more size against Singler. Of course, NO ONE has an answer for Brian Zoubek, who I’m starting to think was only given a scholarship for these games. 20-6 with 6 for Zoubek, and the Terps are PAINFULLY lost offensively.
1:20-The impressive part about the Duke bigs is that theyr’e disciplined and they’re good free throw shooters. Dino Gregory is forced back into service-and Duke is now extending their defense all the way to half-court. This has killed Maryland in the past. 16-6 at the 2nd official timeout with 12:46 to play in the half, and this one could get even uglier in a hurry…
1:18-Haven’t we seen this before? Duke just works right inside, knowing that even though Jordan Williams is an upgrade over Dave Neal-they have WAAAY more size than Maryland does? Jordan is in trouble early, and Sean Mosley is really getting beat up by Kyle Singler’s versatility. It’s 14-6 Duke; and after Greivis Vasquez missed a “Greivis special” and Eric Hayes missed a 3 in transition, this is feeling an awful lot like the trip to Cameron Indoor a season ago…
1:15-9-6 Duke at the first official timeout of the half, 15:57 to play. Maryland clearly struggling offensively, which happens all too often away from Comcast Center. Terps can’t afford to play from multiple possessions behind throughout this one.
1:09-Maryland’s poor shooting outside of College Park continues with Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes all missing early jumpers. Hayes has all 4 of Maryland’s points to make it 5-4.
Gary Williams stands to give instructions, earning the first “Sweat Gary Sweat” chant from the crowd. A Sean Mosley jumper (which they’ll need him to make) makes it 6-5; but Duke works right back inside to Zoubek for a 7-6 Devils lead. Dino Gregory is the first Maryland player off the bench, replacing Jordan Williams. Mason AND Miles Plumlee just checked in for Duke.
1:08-Wouldn’t you know…..there’s Lance Thomas. Funny how these things work. His two free throws make it 5-2 Duke. I guess you never know…
1:04-A lot of pomp and circumstance in the arena today surrounding the 63rd birthday and 1,000th Blue Devils game for head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Students were given t-shirts that read “Celebrating Coach K’s 1,000th game.”
As you may have heard, Jerome Burney is active today-after we were basically under the assumption his career was over and he was now no more than an assistant coach. Burney’s activation may have something to do with today’s officiating crew, and the number of fouls they like to call. Do not expect Burney to play. He is no more than an emergency insurance policy.
1:01-I have absolutely NEVER understood why Duke fans yell the “OH” during the Star Spangled Banner, but I’ll worry about that later.
Maryland lineup is being introduced right now, with each player greeted by a “Hi ____!” from the fans. Greivis Vasquez got a different greeting than Eric Hayes, Sean Mosley, Landon Milbourne or Jordan Williams. It wasn’t an ovation.
A change for the Devils, as Brian Zoubek starts in place of the injured Lance Thomas. Joining Zoubek in the Duke lineup are Kyle Singler, Miles Plumlee, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer.
12:58-Greetings from Cameron Indoor Stadium, where I am getting absolutely cozy with a number of Duke students right behind my neck. Maryland and Duke will tip off in just moments, and I’m not sure I’ll even have enough room to stand for the national anthem. Luke Jones is joining me on Twitter (@WNST). First place in the ACC is on the line as the Terrapins (16-6, 6-2) battle the Blue Devils (20-4, 8-2).
Back shortly with more.