Redick Rises, Terps Fall
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A game that started with a rousing pregame ceremony to honor Maryland Coach Gary Williams ended in virtual silence, as half of the announced crowd of 17,950 at Comcast Center, including baseball great Cal Ripken, filed out in the final minute.
Williams watched his team match the intensity shown by the fans and by Duke for portions of a 96-88 loss to the second-ranked Blue Devils, who swept the regular season series against Maryland. Scores of anti-Duke posters could not compensate for the mental miscues the Terrapins (15-8, 5-5 ACC) felt they made throughout.
"Nothing that happened tonight was physical," said Maryland's Nik Caner-Medley, who scored a team-high 22 points. "It was mostly just some mental mistakes. Physically, we brought it. It's a disappointing game because we have proven in the past that we can beat this team."
In the past two seasons, uneven performances have been a trademark for the core group of Terps, who likely need to win three of their remaining six regular season games to position themselves to return to the NCAA tournament. Four of those six contests are on the road.
It was little surprise that J.J. Redick, who scored 35 points, and Williams, who had 26 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks, dominated throughout. The bigger story line was Sean Dockery, who had 15 points, and freshman Greg Paulus, who scored a career-high 16.
"They think they are getting up for games, but the level you have to get up to when you play a Redick or a Williams, two first-team all-Americans, is really hard to do," Gary Williams said. "It's going to be a fight for 40 minutes, and you have to want that. We were not as consistent in that area as I would have liked the team to be."
At times, Maryland failed to pick up the Blue Devils (23-1, 11-0) in transition. Midway through the second half, Maryland's Parrish Brown made a errant pass, Duke quickly pushed the ball ahead, and Redick made one of his four three-point attempts to extend the lead to the largest of the game, 15 points.
At other times, Maryland gave Duke second shots even though the Terps felt rebounding was one of the Blue Devils' weaknesses. Shelden Williams rebounded and scored a key follow-up basket with five minutes remaining.
Duke won the rebounding battle, 41-39.
And at times, Maryland simply left players open. Dockery's open three-pointer from the corner seemed to seal the game, pushing the lead back to double-digits with less than two minutes left.
"They," Caner-Medley said, "had a lot of back-breakers."
D.J. Strawberry and Sterling Ledbetter played adequate defense on Redick, particularly early. Redick made only three field goals at halftime.