Call this one Ben Coleman's vindication.

Coleman stalked Duke tonight with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and on his broad shoulders carried Maryland to a 101-90 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over the defenseless Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"It didn't take a lot to get me up for this game," said Coleman, alluding to his motivation: a 19-point Duke victory at Maryland last month, when he fouled out with six points and four rebounds.

Coleman and Adrian Branch were the direct benefactors of Duke's man-to-man defense, which just can't match up with the Terrapins. Coleman, a strong 6-foot-9 center, hooked and finger-rolled his way to 10 baskets in 14 attempts against the smaller, younger Blue Devils trying to guard him.

And Branch, at 6-8 shooting over guards six inches shorter, scored 27 points, 19 in the second half. He made three of four three-point field goal attempts.

Duke's Johnny Dawkins, the freshman guard from Mackin High School in the District, scored a game-high 28 points, many of them in spectacular fashion.

But Dawkins alone couldn't offset Coleman's inside performance, which was so dominant that guarding Branch became an afterthought.

"We didn't feel like they had anybody who could stop Ben," said Maryland guard Jeff Adkins. "The plan for the guards was to penetrate and dish the ball off to Ben. He was the dominant factor in this game. He killed them."

With Coleman scoring 15 points in the first half, Maryland (17-6, 6-4) took a surprising 55-41 halftime lead.

Coleman's first basket, a hook over Mark Alarie, gave the Terrapins an 18-11 lead with 12:50 left in the half. Another hook made it 20-15. A straight-ahead layup and foul shot gave the Terrapins a 30-21 lead, and two hooks and a pair of foul shots put Maryland ahead, 44-30 with four minutes to play in the half.

The 8,564 at Cameron Indoor were shocked. Even though Coleman is second in ACC in field goal percentage, fourth in rebounding and eighth in scoring, many of the league's fans are still unfamiliar with him.

They got an up-close and personal view in the second half.

Coleman got no fouls in the first half but picked up three quick ones in the first 2:43 after intermission. He also missed three straight shots, including a layup.

"I was so worried about the fouls; I got real tense," Coleman said. "I asked Coach (Lefty) Driesell to take me out and he did."

And less than three minutes later Coleman was back. He scored on another hook for a 63-51 Maryland lead, then slid down the left base line for a soft jumper, which maintained the margin at 68-59 with 12 minutes to play.

Duke (10-13, 2-8) grew so wary of Coleman that Branch warmed up and made three three-pointers in a three-minute span to open an 89-69 lead.

The only suspense thereafter was waiting to see what way of scoring Dawkins would invent next. "Dawkins is just incredible," said Adkins, who scored 16 points. "He'll wear you out. But we did a good job of stopping the others."

Duke guard Chip Engelland scored 17 points, 12 coming on three-pointers. The Blue Devil starting front line combined for only 19 points on nine-for-21 shooting.

"It's just tough to match up with Maryland's front line," said Alarie, "because they don't even play a small forward. They play Coleman and two more inside forwards. And with Branch being 6-8 and playing guard, it's really tough."

Two of those inside forwards are Mark Fothergill and Len Bias, who scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Learning the man-to-man defense that Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski insists upon has been tough all season on Duke, which starts four freshmen.

But Krzyzewski saw tonight that none of his players is strong enough to hold his own with Coleman. "Coleman just outmuscled everyone," he said. "In that physical type of game, Coleman takes advantage."

It was Maryland's 10th victory in 11 games and moved the Terrapins into a tie for fourth place in the league with North Carolina State. It also pushed Maryland that much closer to an NCAA tournament bid.

Driesell, who said his team played "one of our better ball games," wanted badly to make up for the 86-67 loss at College Park. "I thought we had a psychological advantage over Duke tonight," he said.

Driesell was surprised when told after the game the Terrapins were not ranked in this week's United Press International top 20 poll, saying, "I think we're a nationally ranked-caliber team right now."