In what could potentially be Duke’s last game at Maryland with the Terrapins moving to the Big Ten, the Blue Devils lost to the Terps, 80-75, as Alex Len dominated Mason Plumlee and Maryland shot 34 free throws.
Plumlee posted more fouls (five) than points (four) as Len recorded 19 points and eight rebounds on just eight shots. The National Player of the Year candidate was completely irrelevant as he shot 2-of-7 from the floor and nearly had as many turnovers (two) as he did rebounds (three). He couldn’t stop Len on defense and was unable to score on the seven-footer on the other end of the floor.
Plumlee’s poor showing was a big reason Duke (22-3, 9-3) was out-rebounded by Maryland (18-7, 6-6), 38-17, and freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon led the Blue Devils on the glass with just three rebounds. Sulaimon didn’t shoot well from the field, but he did knock down three huge free throws with just 17 seconds left in the game to tie it all up. He scored 16 points and added four rebounds while knocking down all seven of his free throw attempts.
Seth Curry was huge for Duke in the loss as he poured in a game-high 25 points off 11-of-17 shooting, including a 3-for-7 mark from beyond the arc. Although he cooled down in the second half, Curry couldn’t miss in the first 20 minutes of the game. He hit a critical step-back three-pointer with less than a minute left in the game to cut Duke’s deficit to just two points. In addition to knocking down a few deep shots, he played beautifully in the mid-range game.
One of the biggest reasons the Blue Devils lost was because they couldn’t defend the Terrapins in the half court without fouling. Although Duke forced 26 turnovers and stole the ball 12 times, once Maryland crossed half court, they shot 34 free throws and seven Terps attempted multiple shots from the charity stripe. The Blue Devils couldn’t protect the rim and consistently got beat off the dribble.
Despite five turnovers, Quinn Cook had a nice showing for Duke as he posted 16 points, a team-high six assists and a game-high four steals. He played good pressure defense, particularly at the start of the second half, and forced Maryland’s guards into mistakes. Cook shot 6-for-16 from the field and hit 2-of-6 three-point attempts as well as 4-of-5 free throw attempts.
Josh Hairston fouled out but played well, particularly in the first half, and scored 11 points in 24 minutes of play. Hairston, who missed just one shot, played tough defense, but simply couldn’t keep up with Len and Maryland’s other big men. Tyler Thornton added a nice defensive presence in just 20 minutes of play with four steals. The Blue Devils were abysmal from three-point land, shooting just 6-for-19 from beyond the arc, and committed 24 personal fouls.
Duke travels to Blacksburg for their next match-up as they play Virginia Tech (11-14, 2-10) Thursday at 9pm on ESPN2. Despite their terrible record, the Hokies feature Erick Green, one of the ACC’s top players who averages over 25 points a game.