4:00 PM ET, February 22, 2004
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Duke's dominating defense is back.J.J. Redick scored 20 points as the third-ranked Blue Devils ended a two-game losing streak by beating Maryland 86-63 Sunday.Shelden Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils (22-3, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who avoided their first three-game losing streak in eight seasons. Duke has won 40 straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.Duke had won 18 straight games and reached No. 1 for the seventh consecutive season before last week's 78-74 loss at North Carolina State. The Blue Devils followed that with a 90-84 loss at Wake Forest on Wednesday, losing consecutive games for just the third time in eight seasons.But the Blue Devils ended that skid by overwhelming the Terrapins (13-10, 4-8), using their pressure defense to fuel a bevy of transition scores. Duke held Maryland to 37 percent shooting and scored 31 points off 23 turnovers. The Blue Devils had 16 steals and blocked five shots.Duke shot 50 percent, including 9-of-23 from 3-point range."I don't think there was pressure on us," said Redick, who went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. "Obviously, this was a game that we really needed to win. But it was more just about us. We needed to make a statement today, that Duke is going to be here for the long run."Reserve Sean Dockery put excellent pressure on the ball and had six steals, and Daniel Ewing added three. Williams and Chris Duhon had two steals apiece.The Blue Devils were relentless, batting down passes to the interior and slapping the ball away on the perimeter. At one point in the first half, Williams, a 6-foot-9 center, stripped the ball from 6-9 Jamar Smith beyond the arc, ran upcourt and made a layup over Smith."That was part of our game plan, to go out there and contest in the lane and make them try to go one-on-one instead of running their offense," said freshman Luol Deng, who had 17 points. "They did that a lot. They tried to drive us, and we forced them into bad shots."The more the Blue Devils interfered, the more uncomfortable the Terrapins seemed to be."They're really good," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "They get up on you. We're not a great passing team yet, and they make it tough."Duke used a 21-5 first-half run to take a double-digit lead, then used a 10-0 run spanning halftime to push the margin to 22 points. The Blue Devils were never challenged after that, leading by as many as 27 points.Despite its brief skid, Duke is still in first place in the ACC and has a favorable schedule to protect its lead on second-place NC State (9-3). The Blue Devils play three of their final four games at Cameron, where they haven't lost since falling to the Terps 91-80 in February 2001.Duke is looking for its sixth straight ACC Tournament championship.The Terrapins, who won the national championship two years ago, are making it tough on themselves to earn an 11th straight NCAA Tournament berth. Maryland is seventh in the rugged ACC, which has five teams ranked in this week's poll.The Terrapins play three of their final four games at home."We have to take care of business," Gary Williams said. "This is our chance with the way the schedule falls; we have to take advantage of it when it's in our favor."John Gilchrist scored 14 points to lead the Terps, who lost their third straight game.Maryland got eight points from Gilchrist in the first 4½ minutes for an 11-9 lead. But the Blue Devils went on the 21-5 run, erasing the deficit with an array of transition baskets and baskets off turnovers.Maryland went more than six minutes without a field goal during the run.Also during the run, Duhon found Redick with a crosscourt pass for a 3-pointer off a turnover by Gilchrist, then found Deng for a transition layup on the next play for a 28-14 lead. Duke pushed the lead to 45-28 at halftime on another 3 by Redick.
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