Maryland vs. Duke: Blue Devils avoid losing streak by overpowering Jordan Williams and Terrapins

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 3, 2011; 1:04 AM

It had been three years since Duke lost back-to-back games to unranked opponents.

And despite the best efforts of Maryland sophomore center Jordan Williams, who registered yet another double-double, and the deafening cheers of 17,950 fervent Terrapins fans, that streak remained intact Wednesday at Comcast Center, where Duke pulled off a regular season sweep of the Terps with an 80-62 victory.

Coming off its worst defeat of the season - a 93-78 loss to St. John's - Duke was simply more than Maryland could handle. The Blue Devils exposed the limitations of the Terps' offense and overwhelmed the defense by drilling 52 percent of its shots - including 10 three-pointers.

With the defeat, Maryland (14-8, 4-4 ACC) might have let its last chance for a signature victory this season slip away. The Terps have yet to beat a ranked team, with only No. 23 North Carolina left on their regular season docket.

That saddles Maryland with serious doubts about its prospects for an NCAA tournament bid and raises the stakes considerably on its showing in the ACC tournament next month.

Maryland cut an 18-point deficit to five with less than 10 minutes remaining. But Duke wasn't rattled, with senior forward Kyle Singler inflicting the most damage, scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second half.

Coach Gary Williams didn't hide his disappointment, saying that his team did "a very poor job" on defense. He was even more dismayed by his squad's lack of fight at the outset and the failure to seize the momentum after pulling within five points.

"I didn't think we were playing with the energy necessary to play a team as good as Duke," Williams said before turning to focus to his own job as coach.

"You try to have the pulse of your team - to get them ready, ready to play where they come out flying. There is a reason [for the flat start]. But you have to get to the reason. Find the reason."

Jordan Williams, however, said he didn't think the outcome had to do with a lack of effort on the Terps' part.

"We were fighting," said Williams, who led the Terps with 20 points and 10 rebounds. "We were fighting. We could have just given up when we were down. . . . They're the number five team in the country. It's not like we just lost to a terrible team out there."

On a particularly poor shooting night for Maryland, with the Terps making just 20 of 5o field goals (40 percent), senior guard Adrian Bowie was the only other Terp in double figures, scoring 11 points.

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