One of the finest moments in Duke’s basketball history came in the 2001 Final Four against Maryland, then an ACC team.
The Terps had just about had enough of Duke. After the Len Bias tragedy - before, really, but certainly after - Duke had firmly moved past Maryland and every ACC team with the arguable exception of Dean Smith’s UNC. No one was as sick of Duke as the Maryland camp was though.
The teams had already met three times and Duke had a miraculous comeback at Maryland to win in overtime. The Terps won in Cameron but Carlos Boozer was hurt in that game. Then the Blue Devils beat Maryland in the ACC Tournament when no one blocked out Nate James on a late tip-in.
So by the time the Final Four rolled around, Maryland was ready to strangle Duke and with a twenty point first half lead, the Terrapins were well on their way to doing it.
At halftime, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski told his team that he wasn’t going to call any more plays, that he wanted them to just play.
And play they did: the Blue Devils came came and not only erased Maryland’s lead but went up double digits, winning 95-84.
In some ways, the most fun part of this game was not just watching Maryland collapse but also watching Gary Williams and his staff just lose their minds. Williams always raged on the sideline but this one was special. At one point he reportedly barked at the refs: “how much do you want Duke to win this?”
He should have barked at his players who, like their coach, lost their composure.
Duke would go on to beat Arizona to win its third national championship. Every game of the tournament was won by double digits.