The funny thing about the Duke-Maryland rivalry during the Gary Williams era in College Park was how one-sided it was. We’ve told this story before, but we were trying to sell a ticket to a Duke-Maryland game, probably around 2004 or 2005, and couldn’t find a taker.
Two elite programs, with every game essentially a grudge match, and not.one.taker.
Duke fans were fond of chanting “not our rival” when the Terps came to town, but that wasn’t entirely true. Every ACC team was a rival. But there’s no question that it meant far, far more to Maryland than it did to Duke.
For people who remembered the time when Lefty Driesell was at Maryland before Mike Krzyzewski got to Duke in 1980 - about a decade where Maryland just dominated Duke, it was hard to believe.
But that’s how it was: Maryland hated Duke in the Williams era.
They also hated James for going to Duke instead of his home-state school and he was a target for their ire during his entire Duke career.
But he paid them back in a big way in the 2001 ACC Tournament.
Maryland had tied the game 82-82 with 8.1 seconds left. Duke got the ball in to Jason Williams, who came down the middle and got in the lane. He got a shot off with 3.4 off.
Unfortunately it was under pressure and wasn’t going to go in
Fortunately for Duke, no one saw James trailing Willams down the left side of the court and no one thought to block him out.
And when he got to the basket, James went up and tipped the ball in with 1.3 left.
Maryland got the ball in and the brilliant Juan Dixon ended up with a long three that rimmed out.
It was a tremendous win for Duke, which was playing without the injured Carlos Boozer, and was the second of three wins in four games against Maryland.
The fourth match would come in the Final Four, where Duke would go down 22 in the first half before roaring back to win 95-84.
After Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten, Terp fans pleaded with Duke to keep the series going but Mike Krzyzewski said if they want to play us, then stay in the conference.
He refused to schedule them again, something that Maryland fans still resent. But what else is new? Resentment drove that program for years.