No. 8 Blue Devils hang on against Terps
Fitting as it may be, No. 8 Duke beat Maryland 69-67 in the Terrapins’ last ACC visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium on a defensive stand and a tipped ball by a player from Washington, D.C.
Tyler Thornton batted a rebound out to Amille Jefferson with 1.1 seconds left, helping the Blue Devils withstand two shots by 6-foot-8, 260-pound Charles Mitchell in the final seven seconds.
The first was blocked by freshman Jabari Parker. The second, a hook shot, hung on the rim before Thornton got a hand on it.
“That’s a game-winning play,” Jefferson said of the 6-foot-2 Thornton.
“He makes winning plays like that,” said sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon. “As soon as he made it, coach and everybody on the bench went to him. The thing with Tyler, we’re used to him making big-time plays like that.”
Thornton said all of the past and present Duke players were part of the game, one against a team Duke students consistently reminded everyone “was not a rival.”
“You never want to lose to your hometown team,” Thornton said.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, two days after his 67th birthday, reiterated his disappointment an original member of the ACC is leaving for the Big 10. He also praised the effort of both teams, and paid respect to Thornton.
“It’s not a stat play, but it’s a play that wins the game,” Krzyzewski said.
Parker’s drive off the left wing past Jake Layman, using a shot fake, for a one-handed jam gave Duke a 68-67 lead with 1:16 to play.
Dez Wells tried to hit a shot over Rodney Hood, who played the final 12 minutes with four fouls, with 53 seconds left but drew the iron. Parker snatched his eighth rebound.
Duke’s shot clock violation, on a reversed call, gave Maryland the final chance.
During the review of a shot clock violation with 20.9 seconds left, Krzyzewski described a maturing team coming together.
“All the players were saying, coach we said it was going to end up on defense, let’s play defense,” Krzyzewski said. “It was all the guys saying that. They took ownership of that last possession.”
“It could have went in or out,” Parker said of Mitchell’s last shot. “Our guys contested them all the way.”
Krzyzewski and Hood both referenced “the basketball gods” in speaking of the miss.
Parker finished with 23 points, hitting 9 of 10 at the foul line. Hood and Sulaimon added 11 points each. Jefferson had 12 rebounds with seven points.
Layman led the Terrapins (14-12, 6-7 ACC) with 18 points. Wells finished with 17 and Mitchell 12.
Duke (20-5, 9-3 ACC) shot a paltry 23.1 percent in the second half, but drained 28 of 34 free throws. Maryland, with fewer drives to the basket, was 12 of 19 at the foul line.
“We were standing, in our body movement,” Hood said of the weak offense. “The shots we took, we can hit. That hurt us defensively, too.”
But once Maryland stormed back from a 51-42 deficit, Krzyzewski said his team buckled down defensively.
“We went down to 54-52 and we talked about, we can’t let that happen,” Krzyzewski said. “We have to continue to play defense. We came out, got a little thing for Rodney, and he put the ball in.
“There were some exchanges there that are going to be highlights, like half-court shots. One of those scrums where ball is all over, and Duke and Maryland players are all over. The will to win was showing so brilliantly during those exchanges. One of them, Rasheed gets a 3.”
Duke resumes playing four games in eight days with a trip to Atlanta and Georgia Tech on Tuesday, visits North Carolina Thursday, then hosts Syracuse on Saturday.
“If you look at it as a series, there’s a tendency to rationalize during the sequence,” Krzyzewski said. “Over the years, to me, one of the great enemies of success is rationalization.”
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.