Johnny Dawkins, the Duke freshman guard from Mackin High, had talked like E.T. earlier in the week. "Home," Dawkins kept saying. "I can't wait to get home."
It was an extraordinary homecoming. Dawkins scored 31 points last night, including a 22-foot three-pointer with six minutes left that helped break a close game, and led Duke to an 86-67 upset rout of embarrassed Maryland before 11,125 in Cole Field House.
Maryland, after playing very well Wednesday in defeat at North Carolina, played miserably against Duke, which starts four freshmen. The Terrapins shot 34 percent, made 19 turnovers, and had not a clue as how to defend against Dawkins.
"I was worried about getting too excited about playing at home," Dawkins said after hitting his collegiate high by making 11 of 16 shots, including four of six three-point tries. "I talked to Coach Morgan Wootten (of De Matha) yesterday and he told me I could overdo it."
Dawkins made jumpers left, jumpers right, finger rolls and one flying left-handed hook late in the game.
"Damn good," was how Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski described Dawkins' performance.
"Johnny was incredible," said Duke forward Mark Alarie, Dawkins' roommate. "He made some moves tonight I've never seen him try even in practice. He wanted to come home and play well in front of his friends and family."
Coach Lefty Driesell, predictably, called the defeat "the worst loss we've had at Cole Field House in my 14 years. We couldn't put the ball in the basket if our lives depended on it. I think they (his players) read their clippings from the North Carolina game too much. If we can't play better than this, we're in deep trouble. I don't know what to tell you, except that we stunk it out."
That pretty much describes how awfully Maryland (7-5) played, losing its third straight Atlantic Coast Conference game, while Duke climbed to 7-6, 1-1.
Adrian Branch, the ACC's leading scorer, made seven of 21 shots (team-high 16 points) and extended his shooting slump to four straight games. He has dropped from 53 percent to 45 percent from the field.
Center Ben Coleman, in foul trouble from the start, played only 12 minutes and made two of six shots--just three days after dominating Carolina star Sam Perkins.
Forward Herman Veal was the only Terrapin who played decent defense and he grabbed 14 rebounds. But he missed six of nine shots.
And then, there are the three-pointers, which Maryland almost refuses to shoot. The Terrapins didn't take a shot from 19 feet when the game was still a contest. Desperately behind the last few minutes, they missed six of seven.
For the season, Maryland has shot 29 percent on three-pointers while opposing teams made 42 percent.
"I don't think it was the three-pointers that killed us," Branch said. "If we had played good defense, it would have neutralized their three-pointers. It was primarily layups and second and third shots that helped them."
Duke led, 42-36, at halftime. But Maryland played decently enough to pull within 57-56 with 9:58 left on Veal's layup and foul shot.
From there, Maryland fell apart. Coleman fouled out with 9:07 to play and Branch picked up his fourth foul. Coleman and Branch, who combine for 35 points per game, were on the bench.
Dawkins made two free throws after a miss by Jeff Adkins, for a 59-56 lead. It was never close again. Dawkins' three-pointer boosted the Duke margin to 66-58 and only the final score and Dawkins' point total were in question.
It was Duke's first victory at Cole Field House since 1978.