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Duke came out against Maryland with a chip on its shoulder and a
determination to win the "hustle stats,"and from the opening play,
when Chris Duhon threw himself across the floor to try and steal the ball after
the tip, they did so.
Maryland played well until the score was 11-11, and then, after a weird
sequence of events, Duke went off and never looked back.
The sequence started on Maryland's end of the floor, when Daniel Ewing was
popped pretty good and no foul was called. After that, he was called for a
foul, which visibly irritated him.
Moments later, he stripped a Maryland player with the loudest slap of the
ball we have ever heard in Cameron, took off for the other end, and Duke started
to ratchet up the pressure.
In fact, the pressure was so intense that for a while it seemed that Maryland
couldn't move the ball at all.
That's perception of course; they did move it, and they did score, albeit
infrequently. But Duke made their lives exceedingly miserable.
Add to that the foul trouble Nik Caner-Medley found himself in fairly early,
which denied Maryland its best offensive player of the evening, and you can see
where things went South for the Terps pretty quickly.
Still, despite going from 11-11 to being outscored 37-14 and down 48-25 at
halftime, and despite the amazing blitz of steals and turnovers, the Terps
didn't completely go into their shell.
That came in the second half, and the epitome of it came in one of the
strangest, maybe even sickest sideline performances we have seen in years.
After excellent defense found Maryland with one second left on the shot clock
and an in-bounds play, Chris McCray caught the ball and apparently didn't
realize the clock situation. He was immediately pulled, which you know any
coach would do. But what happened next wasn't something you see every day.
McCray went to the bench and sat down. Williams came over and began to go
after him, and whatever he said, McCray didn't like it. He stood up and
looked for another seat on the bench, away from the harangue, but then sat back
down again. Williams continued, then went to the end of the bench to see
what was going to happen after a pair of Duke free throws. During his absence,
an assistant - we think it was Jimmy Patsos - continued the harangue for him,
sitting next to McCray, gesticulating wildly, and obviously making the kid
really feel like crap.
Then, when Maryland was coming back down the court, Williams went back and both
of them tore into the kid. McCray stood up again, circled around, tried to
go left, then right, then gave up and sat back down again and just took it.
All we can say is: poor kid. Duke's philosophy of next play never
looked better. No one really deserves to be treated that way.
After the game, McCray told the Post that "I kind of reacted a little
the wrong way. It was just in the flow of the game. It was my bad, so I just got
to get over it. . . . It was just Coach's decision [not to play me again]. I
can't do nothing about it. I can't really cry about it."
Fair enough, and Williams is right, he should have been aware of the clock,
since everyone else in the building was. But still, he didn't deserve that
level of public humiliation. Williams and Patsos should issue a public
apology. If it was good enough for Patton, it's good enough for these
bozos. We can't imagine being parents of a recruit and catching that act
and then letting our child play for Williams. What a disgusting display.
Maryland's actually fairly lucky that Duke didn't go on a major scoring binge to
match its defense, because this is a game they could have lost by 45 or 50
points if Duke had seriously heated up.
As it was, Duke kept the lead for around 20 for much of the second half
before pushing it closer to 30 by the end.
For the Devils, JJ Redick played a very nice game, shooting well as he
usually does, but also with some gorgeous passes and one circus shot which had
to be seen to be believed.
Shelden Williams was solid in the post, with 18 points and 11 boards, and he
continues to develop his skills,including a steal and breakaway sort-of
Chris Duhon set the tone with his attempted steal of the ball after the
tip. His stats were quiet, relatively speaking, but since Duke harassed
Maryland into 22-59 shooting, for 37.3%, and couldn't figure out what to do with
the ball, point guard John Gilchrist ended up taking basically a third of those
shots, going 7-19. Duhon's defensive lead and willingness to play with
abandon showed the way, and the team defense made it hard to move the ball, so
ergo, the point guard shot 19 times. Praise gets spread for the team
defense and the individual defense, but Duhon set the tone.
Luol Deng played well and gave Maryland fits in spots. He ended up with 17
points and five boards.
And we would be remiss if we didn't mention Sean Dockery's ball pressure and
six steals. The first time we saw him play, we said he could be one of the
great on-ball defenders in the Krzyzewski era. He is definitely becoming a
great one. He had a huge hand in sparking Duke's early run.
For Maryland, after Gilchrist's taking 1/3 of the shots, not much was left or
accomplished: Caner-Medley hit for 9; Travis Garrison for 11; DJ
Strawberry for 9.
The Terps now find themselves in a pickle, for today's interesting mixed food
metaphor. At 4-8, their tourney chances are slipping away, and it's not
like they are playing so well or so together that there is a lot to be confident
It would be fun, as Duke fans, to think that after the tremendously obnoxious
behavior towards Duke over the last few years, this loss totally screwed their
NCAA chances. In fairness, they could get in until the last day of the ACC
Tournament. But after the bottle throwing, the taunt directed towards JJ,
and the suggestions, from Williams on down, that there is a favoritism towards
Duke - well, there's no better answer than to hit them where it hurts. And this
one hurt, hopefully on several levels.
Also, props to the Crazies for a tremendous afternoon. They were loud, funny,
and as far as we could tell, their behavior was in absolute contrast to
Comcast. For the introductions, they chanted, "Hi, John! We love
you!" There was also a weirdly enigmatic sign which we got oddly
fascinated by: "Horvath of the Hill People."
All in all, a wonderful time, in our judgment.