DURHAM — A strong second half performance by Duke was the difference in a 73-55 victory over Maryland on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Devils started the second half on a 6-0 run to increase its slim halftime lead to nine points. Then, when the Terrapins started to make things interesting, the Blue Devils played their best halfcourt offense in the final five minutes of the game.
Guard Seth Curry led Duke with 19 points. Forward Mason Plumlee finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Austin Rivers also had 11 points.
When Duke (21-4, 8-2 ACC) pushed its lead to 12 points early in the second quarter, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski implored his team and to an extent the home crowd to not let the Terrapins get back in the game.
Maryland (14-10, 4-6) didnt go down easily. The Terrapins were able to cut Dukes lead to four with a little more than eight minutes play.
But after a timeout by Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils focused on putting the ball inside. Mason Plumlee was effective in the post against the younger Terrapins. Duke also outrebounded Maryland by seven. That led to many second-chance points in the second half.
Forward Mason Plumlee had one of his best games of the season with a career-high 22 rebounds.
This was the type of victory Krzyzewski and his Blue Devils were looking for after Wednesdays thrilling 85-84 win over North Carolina on the road. In that game, guard Austin Rivers led Duke with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The excitement from that game didnt translate early against the Terrapins. Then again, the final result was different from the last two home games for Duke.
In the two previous home conference games, the Blue Devils let their lead escape in one and didnt finish strong in the other. That led to losses to Florida State and Miami in overtime. With the Seminoles, guard Michael Snaer made the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Against Miami, it was center Reggie Johnson who led the Hurricanes with a career-high 27 points.
But with the ACCs leading scoring in Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin in town, the Blue Devils solidified their defense in the second half.
Duke guards Tyler Thornton and Andre Dawkins were able to force Stoglin into difficult shots. Though Stoglin led the Terrapins with 13 points, Duke made sure he worked hard for them.
The Blue Devils did a good job on defense by forcing the Terrapins into 13 turnovers.
Early on, the Blue Devils were most effective in transition. When Duke was able to run the floor, Curry and Rivers made long 3-pointers.
Early in the first half, the Blue Devils were sloppy with the basketball. Marylands biggest lead was seven points midway through the first half.
Maryland was led by guard Nick Faust, who finished with 15 points.