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Duke Defends Title, Defeats Terps 81-68

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There will be no tearing down goalposts in College Park. Lonny Baxter will
not be shushing Duke fans. Maryland gave Duke an excellent game, but when it
came down to winning time, Duke had it today and Maryland didn't, as Duke
prevailed 81-68.

It would be easy to say that Maryland lost because Danny Miller was hurt, but
it's not that simple. First of all, when Taj Holden was in he did a fair amount
of damage. Second, Duke still got the key rebounds down the stretch. Third, it
didn't make Steve Blake throw the ball to Nate James. And fourth,  Danny
Miller never shoots enough to have a significant effect on Maryland's overall
percentage. 

That percentage was pretty low - Maryland shot 39%. Duke basically took
Lonnie Baxter out of the offense, limiting him to 4-15. Terrence Morris was
6-26. Blake was 3-8, Miller was 1-5 in 9 minutes, and Nicholas was 1-6.

Pretty clearly, Duke had something to do with that.

In the first half, though, Maryland's defense looked more impressive as the
Terps pushed Duke every step of the way and got into the passing lanes. 
They were much more aggressive earlier.

In the second half, though, Duke, quite simply, showed more heart than the
Terps.  Duke made plenty of mistakes, but made up them.  They
frustrated Maryland's offense, stole the ball, got key rebounds - you name it,
Duke took it over. To top it off, Duke got to the line 21 times to Maryland's 8,
outscoring them by 12, which was almost the winning margin.

Beating UNC senseless last March was fun, but in many respects, this was much
more fun.  This was a team which was never supposed to be in this position,
and not only are they 18-1 vs. ACC opponents but are likely to go into the
tournament as the #1 seed overall. 

Best of all, Boozer and Williams were sensational today.  Jason was
named the Tourney MVP, and they'll need him playing well to make a deep run in
the tournament, which is by no means guaranteed.   But seeing him step
up in a big game like this is very encouraging.

We'll have more later after the selection show.

Notes - Everyone got to play today....Dunleavy had his 1st off game since
being ill...Shane has developed a real knack for stripping the shooter lately,
on the way up...Duke only hit 7 threes after the earlier barrages this
weekend....Duke cooled off Dixon and Blake, who were insanely hot in the first
half...Baxter was held to 10 points but got 8 boards...Morris got 11...Blake had
6 turnovers, but so did Williams...The only other team to win regular season and then the tournament in consecutive years was NC State in 73-74...