Besides a mid second half push by Maryland, led by Greivis Vasquez, Duke owned the Terps the entire night. The game was setting up to be exactly like the College Park version with the teams flip-flopped. Duke ran out to a big first half lead, only to get out-hustled in parts of the second. The last time the team that was down at the half, Duke, were the ones to leave with a victory. This time, the team that lead at the half managed to win the ballgame. It is great to beat Maryland in College Park, it is ten times better to sweep the season series, against a team that loves to hate Duke.
In the first half for Duke it was two players. Kyle Singler and Greg Paulus lite up the Terps, and made Gary sweat even more so then normal. In the second half, when Duke needed one little push to get over the hump, it was Kyle Singler. He took over the game for Duke doing everything he possibly could to sustain the lead that Duke had built up. Coming off his fourth ACC Freshmen of the Week, he made an early push to grab his fifth. He finished with a game high 26 points (10-17 FG, 6-9 3PT) and 7 rebounds.
The only Duke player who got close to Singler’s point production was Greg Paulus, and most of that came in the first half. He came out strong, and looked like he was going to have a big night. Second half, he went a little cold but still finished with a solid game, 20 points (5-11 FG, 4-8 3PT) and 4 assists.
Duke’s defense was a huge key to this game. Maryland who loves the three pointers, only shot 23% from the arc. They held one of their star players, James Gist, to 9 points (3-11 shooting). Maryland came into this game a much better team than when Duke beat them before, but Duke kept on them from the opening tip, and only Duke’s inability to score in the mid-second half was the reason the Terps got close.
-Vasquez had 25 points, but shot the ball 22 times
-Osby and Gist were a combined 8-22
-Henderson and Thomas were quiet, but combined for 11 boards (Henderson 7, Thomas 4)
-Zoubek in 4 minutes of play didn’t look totally lost
PLAYER OF THE GAME
In the words of a second grader, DUH!!!. Singler is playing his best basketball right now. His third straight game where he could do no wrong. He was so good tonight, I can forgive the 5 turnovers he had. I don’t think that was worth mentioning, but hey……Kyle’s Perfect……Kyle’s Perfect…..
Another great emotional victory for Duke. The teams keep coming, and Duke keeps knocking them down. They have now matched the last season’s win total. The only difference, 1 lose instead of 11. I love to watch this team compete, because that is exactly what they do. Compete every single minute of every single game. This team is special. The nation is now eye’s wide open.
Next up: I nice little break to enjoy another hard fought victory, as Duke will travel to little trip to Winston-Salem, to face Wake Forest on Sunday night. Another road test for this team that is still perfect in the ACC.