There’s always a discussion and fan banter between Duke and Maryland about their match-ups being real rivalries or not. Well, they certainly feel that way in College Park, putting another dent in the ACC run of the Blue Devils, losing for the third time in conference play and looking unimpressive for yet another time.
Coach K tried to downplay the rivalry and the loss at the end of a thrilling 83-81 game, with Seth Allen hitting two free throws that gave Maryland the win, and signaled the court storming and celebrations to begin. Excuses about fatigue, and simply taking a jab at Maryland leaving the ACC for the Big Ten, somewhat emulating the Blue Devils fans chanting “not our rivals” each time they play the Terps.
This has been an exhausting schedule for our team. We’re playing on fumes and I think you could tell that with Mason. I thought he looked exhausted the whole game. He’s been great. Obviously not good tonight. I have a great deal of respect for Maryland. If it was such a rivalry they’d still be in the ACC. Obviously they don’t think it’s that important or else they wouldn’t be in the Big Ten.
Krzyzewski didn’t talk about his team getting beaten on the boards 40-20. Duke, now 9-3 in conference play, trailing the 11-0 surprising team from Miami, never led in the second half. Mason Plumlee was exhausted according to his head coach, but he still played 33 minutes, giving his team only 4 points and 3 rebounds, while Seth Curry led the team with 25 points, helped by Quinn Cook with 18 and Rasheed Sulaimon added 16. Not enough when the team gets beaten physically from start to finish in a crazed atmosphere.
Alex Len, the Ukrainian center already thinking about the draft, was the big star of the win. The Sophomore finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, putting a big win on his CV after averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds going into the game. Seth Allen, clutch as can be in the closing seconds before Quinn Cook missed a despair three pointer, added 16 as Maryland improved to 6-6 in conference play, trying to show they belong among the final 68.
I told our players before the game, there’s a lot of pride in Maryland basketball. There’s also a lot of passion about Maryland basketball. We talked about playing with those two things for us and for our fans. Our fans were just tremendous. This win was for my family and the fans. I know what this win means for our fan base, and I really wanted to beat Duke.
It was Mark Turgeon’s first win over Duke since taking over in 2011; the last time Duke lost to Maryland was in 2010, when Grievis Vasquez was celebrating his senior night. This win was big for him personally in more than one way. He wants to be the man to lead Maryland to their new era, in a new conference, starting in 2014. Beating Duke doesn’t get him there, but it’s a fine step en route to hopefully his first NCAA tournament with the Terps.