Mark Alarie could only look back at what he called "the pressure point of the game." It began with his Duke team holding a 45-30 lead last night at Cole Field House and ended only seven minutes later with Maryland having tied the score at 51.

"The pressure point," Alarie said. "And we didn't respond to the situation like we did in the past. I don't want to say that was the poorest we've played in the second half, because Maryland played great."

Duke came back to regain the lead in regulation before losing, 78-76, in overtime. But the second-ranked Blue Devils, following their first defeat of the season, kept thinking of that seven-minute stretch.

"They got it so quickly," point guard Tommy Amaker said. "We didn't get any second shots, maybe because they started blocking out and going to the boards more aggressively. We got the lead back and felt we were in control, but it was a different game by then."

Forward Jay Bilas said, "I think maybe we lost a little bit of intensity. We got away from playing good defense and we weren't as physical around the basket as we had been in building the lead at halftime."

Coach Mike Krzyzewski also cited defense, but talked mostly of what the Terrapins did to defend their basket. "They've got good athletes who are capable of playing as good defensively as we are. They started it with good defense, then put it with an offensive stretch. I thought we had good pressure on their shooters. But you're talking about awfully good shooters."

The shooters Krzyzewski referred to primarily were Maryland forwards Len Bias (24 points) and Adrian Branch (22).

Guard Johnny Dawkins said, "They hit some big shots. Adrian started making some shots that he had been missing the first half."

As Krzyzewski said, "They played unbelievably for about 15 or 16 minutes. I thought our club did a nice job of getting the lead back in the last couple of minutes of regulation."

Krzyzewski attempted to keep his team's first loss in perspective. "We're not a powerhouse team," he said. "This is the middle of January, and you just can't get too high or too low. This is a tough loss for us, though."

"It's really depressing," Alarie said. "It's just tough to accept that first loss."