DURHAM, Nc. (WUSA) - No one gave Maryland a chance to beat the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday. Looks like everyone was right. After getting trounced by the Miami Hurricanes, Coach Krzyzewski's team responded by taking out their frustrations on the Terps.
Maryland's best freshman, Seth Allen, didn't play in the first half because of disciplinary issues, but the Terps didn't seem to miss him much. They only trailed at the half 43-35 and the twitter Terp faithful began to wonder, what if?
They had good reason. The Terps were only down eight despite Duke shooting 70% from the behind the arc. I think most people, myself included, thought this was going to be a blowout from the start. Although, with the score being tighter than expected, fans were getting ready to storm the streets of College Park. Hell, Mark Turgeon's ball team has played better in the second half of games for most of the season.
However, it seems they played very consistent throughout this game as they shot the very same percentage from the field in both halves (41.7%). Plus, they only had two fewer turnovers in the second half (6), and they made only two three pointers compared to three in the first half.
The offense wasn't necessarily the issue for Maryland. In fact, Saturday's game was probably the best offensive effort the team put together since beating Virginia Tech. Dez Wells and Charles Mitchell helped the Terps beat Duke on the boards, as they outrebounded them 43-34. That translated to 21 second chance points. Maryland was only outplayed offensively when it came down to shooting from long range.
Defensively, it was probably one of their worst games. Duke shot plus 50% from the field in each half. It's hard to beat a team when they are making every other shot or better. Rasheed Sulaimon and Mason Plumlee accounted for 44 of Duke's 84 points. Sulaimon was hot from start to finish. He shot 6-8 from three point range stretching Maryland out and making life in the paint easier for Plumlee.
Some fans are starting to think Mark Turgeon isn't the answer because of the early ACC losses. I think that's foolish talk. Only four players in his ten man rotation were on the team a year ago. Four of them are freshman. If he had his way, I'm sure the regressing Pe'shon Howard wouldn't have to play so many minutes. After a soft non-conference schedule, his young team is finally playing real NCAA basketball. If you think about it, the Terps have only lost to good ACC teams (Miami, FSU, UNC, and Duke). They'll get a chance to avenge the loss against FSU next.
And if I were a betting man, I'd putting my money on the Terps.