If Virginia at North Carolina this afternoon was the sublime, Maryland at Duke tonight was the ridiculous.
The Terrapins had two field goals and scored 16 points in the second half. They made less than 35 percent of their shots in the game.
And Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell was delighted with his team's 40-36 victory.
"I don't care if we win 1-0 or 100-99, a win is a win," a soaking wet Driesell said afterward in Cameron Indoor Stadium. "We had to have a win tonight and we'll take it any way we can get it."
The Terrapins raised their Atlantic Coast Conference record to 1-3, their overall mark to 8-4. Duke is 0-2, 4-7.
Maryland won because Duke got zero points from its front line, the Terrapins ran a new double-post delay offense without a turnover the last 12 minutes, and they made 20 of 22 free throws, all but one down the stretch when the Blue Devils could not have stolen the ball from a statue.
"I thought it was a bad ballgame," said an angry Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I didn't enjoy being a part of it. Everyone's responsible. We have to go out and want it. We didn't. If we went all out after Maryland and lost, fine. But this way, not getting a point from the front line, is really disturbing."
This game was never pretty. With both teams playing zone defenses to hide their deficiencies, the first half was a walk. Duke led, 26-24, at the intermission thanks to its three guards, Vince Taylor (12 points for the night), Tom Emma (12 points) and Chip Engellend (10 points). Duke's other two points came from freshman Greg Wendt, whose two free throws gave his team the halftime lead.
In the first seven minutes of the second half, Duke's offense was two free throws by Taylor. The Terrapins took a 29-28 lead on a drive by Adrian Branch, scoring leader along with Herman Veal with 12 points.
Allen Williams forced a shot at the other end, missed, and Driesell called time with 12:13 left to order the slowdown. The Terrapins' delay was the old double post used years ago by Driesell but abandoned until he put it back in during practice Thursday.
"I didn't like the way our delay game was going so I decided to go to the double post," Driesell said. "We used it against N.C. State years ago and it worked. It worked good tonight. If we miss our free throws, I'd a looked like a fool."
Maryland did not have another field goal, but it scored each time it had the ball, six times, the rest of the game. Maryland ran five minutes off the clock before Branch sank two foul shots to make it 31-28. Then Taylor finally got a Duke field goal with 6:56 to play. The Terrapins killed three more minutes before Branch made two more from the line. A five second call against Duke led to Jeff Adkins' two free throws and the Terrapins had their biggest lead, 35-30, with two minutes left.
Taylor made two foul shots for Duke, Pittman made one of two for Maryland and Emma countered with a spinning jumper to make it 36-34 with 1:30 left. The Terrapins wasted another minute before Veal was fouled. Coolly, he made both free throws and Maryland had its victory.
"I never thought we'd hold it as long as we did, but, heck, as long as they were sloughing and we made our free throws, we'll take it," said Dutch Morley. "We knew Duke was struggling and this was the kind we had to win."
"We have to beat the Dukes, simple as that," Adkins said. "Teams like Carolina just have more talent than us. Games like this, we have got to win."
The Terrapins got the win in a game that did not have one transition or fast break basket. The Terrapins made two of 10 shots the second half. As one Maryland player said, walking out, "Lot of fun watching, huh?"