America | ESPN
Score | Post
Today | Fayetteville
| H-S | H-S
| H-S |
| N&R | W-S
Markus | LAT
| Richmond | Richmond
Barnhart | Tony Barnhart | Chron
Speed kills: after a tight first half, Duke ripped the game open in the
second half, nearly shutting Maryland down for the last 10 minutes and won going
away, 99-78. Maryland's size was effective on the boards, and Lonny Baxter
was highly effective before fouling out, but quickness ruled this game, as Gary
Williams eventually accepted, going with a three guard offense for much of the
last part of the game. One could argue that Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, and
now Duke have identified and exploited Maryland's weakness: a limited middle
Duke's defense was superb, and that was probably the difference in the game.
At one point, Mike Dunleavy broke up four plays in a row. Jason Williams
and Chris Duhon were highly effective on defense. But the defensive star,
without question, was Dahntay Jones, who held the great Juan Dixon - and we do
mean he's great - to two baskets for the game. The last two years he has
averaged just under 30 points a game; Thursday, he only got 10 points, and only
one basket after the first two minutes of the game.
Steve Blake was largely negated as well. He did have eight assists, with some
particularly brilliant passes, but he also was harassed into six turnovers, and
was held to five points, meaning of course that Maryland's starting backcourt
only scored 15.
Chris Wilcox had some flashes, but he is still an unpolished talent, and is
nowhere near ready to be a truly dominant player. He has elite level
talent but mediocre skills.
Lonny Baxter did play very well and was a tremendous force inside before
The team defense was excellent, but the story of the game, defensively, was
the brilliant performance by Dahntay Jones.
Offensively, the first half was a struggle, with 25 first half lead changes.
Jason Williams began an eruption that lasted the entire game, and Duke built a
reasonable lead, but couldn't hold onto it.
Dunleavy did a lot in the first half besides score - he only got 2 if memory
serves - but his rebounding, defense and passing were solid. In the second
half, he was at times truly dominant. One of the things we hate about how
basketball is developing now is that the urge to get to the NBA as quickly as
possible is killing smart play. Dunleavy, who of course has NBA roots himself,
is a great anomaly. His grasp of the fundamentals is truly superb, and so
he can affect the game in any number of ways.
Carlos Boozer, who also has superb fundamental skills, had an excellent
game as well. As Duke's main big man, he had a lot of responsibility, and
Maryland clearly wanted to take it to him, and hoped to foul him out. They did
get him in foul trouble, but he also drew a lot of fouls and took (and hit)
eight free throws. He had a monstrous block late in the second half which
really deflated Maryland.
It's hard sometimes not to just watch Jason Williams and wonder: why can't
everyone do this? When you watch him come down the court, and you know, and
everyone else knows that he is heading straight to the basket, and he's often
the littlest guy on the court, it just seems natural that he can take it in on
just about anyone. It's not, of course; it's highly unusual. Up
until this game, the one guy who seemed to have his number was Steve Blake, but
Blake got completely abused. It was the difference between an NBA level
talent and a really good college player. No offense to Blake, but that was the
extent of the difference tonight.
Finally, a tip of the hat to the Crazies: you guys were great tonight. We
have been there for some phenomenal games - some made your hair stand on end.
We're thinking of the Duke-Michigan game, post-title, the UNC game where Capel
(our Capel) hit that magnificent runner to force overtime, the '86 game where
Dawkins blocked David Rivers last second jump shot, and perhaps best of
all, the major upset way back when when Bill Foster's Duke upset a very powerful
Maryland. Back then, Duke had no business playing with
The crowd for this game was passionate, positive, and powerful. It was
a magnificent performance, and our guess is that Maryland's players, who said
they enjoyed Cameron, didn't enjoy it this time. You guys were great! No
letdown on Saturday though!
Notes - The ref shirts came over very well on TV....great cheer - Sweat Gary
Sweat!...Drew Nicholas had a very solid game for Maryland...Ryan Randle was a
surprisingly effective player in spots...one guy we didn't mention but certainly
meant to was Matt Christensen...his play when Boozer was in foul trouble was
absolutely critical....According to Basketball America, Dunleavy got stitches at
halftime after getting whacked in the head...