Everyone knew the final Maryland – Duke game while the Terrapins were a member of the ACC was going to be an exceedingly emotional one. But with the eighth ranked Blue Devils looking considerably better than the Terrapins, and playing at home, not many expected it to be a good one. Boy were they wrong.
The Duke Blue Devils overcame a four point deficit with just minutes remaining, and withstood a Charles Mitchell last-second shot attempt to beat the Terrapins 69-67 at Cameron Indoor for potentially the last time. Jabari Parker had 23 points and 8 rebounds, including the eventual game winning dunk with 1:17 remaining and a block to cap the win off. The freshman phenom came up clutch when Duke needed it most and the rest of the team disappeared.
For the majority of the first half, the Terrapins were fighting to stay in the game. Down 39-33 at the half, Dez Wells was saddled with three fouls, Jake Layman was the only player hitting shots, and the Terrapins were putting Duke at the line almost every trip down the court. But the game wasn’t about the first half, where Layman scored 12 of his 18 points and Maryland had 8 of their 14 turnovers. It was the second half and the defensive effort displayed that mattered most.
Maryland, who went down by 9 at one point, managed to overtake the Blue Devils by holding them scoreless for eight minutes. Duke shot a meager 28% in the second half against Maryland, and looked as if they weren’t going to hit a shot for the remainder of the game until a Jabari Parker free throw finally broke the cold spell. During that time, Dez Wells finally entered the game after sitting with foul trouble.
Wells attacked Duke left and right, scoring all of his 17 points and grabbing 4 of his 6 rebounds in the second half. Wells helped pace the Terrapins down the stretch, and scored six of their final eight baskets. Unfortunately, with many assuming he’d get the last shot, Charles Mitchell ended up with the ball in his hands. Mitchell, who had 12 points and 6 rebounds, saw his final shot roll off the rim with just second left to seal Maryland’s fate. Amile Jefferson came up with the rebound and was fouled, but he missed his free throw and a final Wells heave fell way short.
The loss drops the Terrapins to 14-12 on the year and 6-7 in the ACC. This was a win they needed, but didn’t get, and there’s a chance they could have an emotional hangover after this one. Still, that was the best effort Maryland has given all season long, and they should be proud. They gave their fans one of the best games all season, and Duke the best effort they’ve had all year. Against the eighth best team in the country, at home? Take it in stride.