A special night at Maryland was unceremoniously ruined by No. 8 Duke, which had its own agenda in this matchup of longtime rivals.
Mason Plumlee scored a season-high 23 points and the Blue Devils rebounded from a rare home defeat by pulling away to a 74-61 victory Wednesday night.
Before the game, Maryland honored former coach Gary Williams by dedicating the court in his name. Williams, the winningest coach in the history of the program, revved up the sellout crowd with his signature fist pump as he entered the arena.
Williams' replacement, Mark Turgeon, had the Terps ready to play. But Maryland simply didn't have the talent to hang with the Blue Devils, who were eager to bounce back from Saturday's loss to Florida State.
“Everybody came to play,” Plumlee said. “It's not that we didn't play hard against Florida State, but down the stretch we didn't execute well. I thought we did a great job of that tonight. Not only did we get easy shots, we got layups.”
The Blue Devils trailed 47-46 with 12:54 left but outscored Maryland 28-14 the rest of the way.
“We beat a very energized, well-prepared team tonight,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We had a real sense of urgency, and then down the stretch we really executed well. A big win for us. Any win on the road is big. It was a big night for Maryland basketball, and for our guys to come out on top, it was really good for our team.”
Ryan Kelly had 14 points and Austin Rivers 10 for Duke (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Blue Devils have dominated this rivalry of late, winning four straight and 10 of 11.
Krzyzewski was particularly pleased with the fashion in which his players performed in a loud arena on an emotional night for the home team.
“We were like a veteran team for a lot of tonight's game,” he said. “That was tough loss against Florida State, but our guys did not hang their heads. Then you go on the road in this environment and win, it says something about your guys. I like it.”
Terrell Stoglin scored 16 for the Terrapins (12-7, 2-3).
“Every loss is disappointing, and not because it's Duke,” Terps guard Sean Mosley said.
There are no stats for loose balls and times hitting the court in pursuit of the basketball, but Duke dominated in that department.
“We got outhustled in the second half,” Turgeon said. “Give (the Blue Devils) credit. They're physical. They got a lot of breaks tonight (but) they create their own breaks. In the end, our defense wasn't quite good enough.”
Down 42-38 early in the second half, the Terrapins got a 3-pointer from Pe'Shon Howard and a runner in the lane by Stoglin to move in front. After a Duke misfire, Maryland 7-foot-1 center Alex Len hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane for a 45-42 lead.
Rivers answered with two straight baskets, sparking an 11-2 run that included five points by Plumlee.
It was 53-48 before Rivers scored on a drive and Kelly drilled a jumper to put Duke up by nine with 8:48 left. Maryland went nearly 5 minutes without a field goal before Nick Faust hit a 3-pointer to get the Terrapins to 57-52 with 7:59 to go.
Maryland would get no closer.
“We got dirty getting the loose balls,” Kelly said. “We're becoming a team that's willing to put our bodies on the line. If we continue to do little things like that, we'll become a good team.”
In terms of emotion, the Blue Devils held their own in a difficult venue.
“You're not going to play against a team that has a greater crowd on their home court,” Kelly said. “You have to be amped up for it. For us to respond the way we did, that's a good sign for our team.”
Plumlee scored 12 points, and Duke bounced back from an early eight-point deficit to go up 37-34 at halftime.
With the crowd still pumped following the pregame ceremony for Williams, the Terrapins got five points from Mosley and a 3-pointer from Howard in a 14-4 run that made it 18-10.
Enthusiasm over the quick start was blunted when Len picked up two fouls in a 17-second span and went to the bench after playing for less than a minute. Len did not start after spraining his right ankle in Saturday's game against Temple.
With the middle of the lane open, the Blue Devils repeatedly went inside and took a 29-26 lead on a hook shot by Miles Plumlee. Duke scored 22 first-half points in the lane, which helped offset a 2-for-9 performance from beyond the arc.