Buck Williams kept his promise yesterday. Ernest Graham, who made no promises, kept quiet.
That combination was all Maryland needed to beat outmanned Duke, 94-79, in front of 13,197 in Cole Field House.
The Terrapins (3-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 11-2 overall) took the lead three minutes into the game and never gave it up. Williams scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and blocked four shots. Graham, with 23 points and eight assists, played the defensive game of his life, holding Eugene Banks to 11 points on three-of-11 shooting from the floor.
To most of the Terrapins, this game took on heightened signifiance because of Duke's controversial one-point victory in last year's ACC tournament. To Williams, this was a vendetta.
Two weeks ago he had promised to play the game of his career against the Blue Devils, the memory of Kenny Dennard's apparent undercut on the last play of the game still vivid in his mind.
"He kept telling me over and over how much he wanted to play great against Duke," Albert King said. "He was really ready."
So was Graham. Burned by Banks last year when Duke won the last two of the teams' three games, he couldn't sleep Friday night.
"I kept thinking about the game, about Banks all night long," Graham said. "I've been a questionable defensive player in the past but I know I can play defense when i put my mind to it.
"I got help on almost every play. It seemed like every time Gene turned around he was one on five."
Graham said he did just one thing different against Banks."I didn't talk to him. Last year I made that boy mad. You don't want to do that."
Last year after Graham had publicly humiliated Banks by holding his arm aloft in the last minute of the Terp romp over Duke here, Banks responded by playing perhaps the two best games of his life in the next two Duke-Maryland games.
Yesterday, though, it was the Terrapins who were looking for revenge. After the Blue Devils took an early 8-4 lead, Maryland scored 12 straight points, taking advantage of Duke turnovers and using the running game. Graham scored on a short jumper, Williams got the second of his five dunks and Manning made a lay-up. Graham scored from far out and Reggie Jackson came off the bench to make a steal and a jump shot. Duke was in trouble.
"We got our aggressiveness back today," Coach Lefty Driesell said. "We rebounded and played defense a lot better and that was good to see. We're still not taking good enough care of the ball though, turning it over."
Eleven minutes into the game the Terps led, 30-14. But Duke managed to slow the pace and, helped by Maryland's 14 turnovers (26 for the game), cut the margin to 43-36 by the half. Allen Williams came off the bench to score four jumpers and spark his team.
The Blue Devils cut the lead to 43-38 on a Banks layup -- his first field goal -- off the opening tap of the second half. But Graham scored 10 of Maryland's next 14 points on a variety of shots -- twisting jumpers, bombs and bank shots. At that point Graham had 20 points and Banks five.
"I just never did get into the flow the way I had the last couple of days in practice," said Banks. "Every time I got the ball," Banks said, "Buck and Al were right there to help out. Whenever I went up there were three guys right on me."
Banks also had five turnovers and missed a number of layups.
"It was their day, I guess," he said. "Buck played just about a perfect game."
Williams was dominant at both, ends, shooting 11 of 15 from the floor and intimidating inside.
"Right at the start I might have been a little too fired up," he said. "I really wanted to play well today. "I guess it was a personal thing between Kenny Dennard and me," Williams said. "I know he didn't try to hurt me and if the play had been in a different game where everyone wasn't watching it might have been different."
"It was strange though. Every time I made a good play today, Kenny complimented me." Did he in turn, compliment Dennard (16 points) when he made a good play?
Although Vince Taylor led the way statistically for Duke with 24 points and eight rebounds, he grabbed the rim for a technical foul as Greg Manning was making a layup to set up the six-point Maryland play that eliminated any suspense.
Duke came within 59-52 on Banks' last field goal, a dunk. Graham's jump shot made the lead nine and a Manning breakaway layup made it 11. Taylor, trailing the play, jumped up and grabbed the rim. Manning completed the three-point play and made the technical before Taylor was called for goaltending on a Morley drive, making it 67-52.
Manning scored 20 and Albert King 12. The Terrapins shot 62 percent and had 28 assists.
"They were hungrier, more aggressive and played harder than we did," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. "Williams was a dominant force the whole day."
Duke is now 0-2 in the ACC, 7-5 overall.
"It was nice to beat them because of last year, but not quite the same," said Manning. "They don't have all their players from last year, different coaches and all so it's a little different."
"That's true," King said. "But they still had D-U-K-E on their uniforms. We saw that and we remembered the last shot. No doubt about it, we remembered."