College Basketball: Duke at Maryland – Duke Favored
The 16th-ranked Blue Devils look to avoid matching their longest slide in more than a decade Sunday when they visit Maryland.
Duke (18-6, 5-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) dropped its third straight on Wednesday, falling 79-73 to arch-rival and No. 5 North Carolina. The Blue Devils had not lost three in a row since 1999, when they lost to Connecticut in the NCAA championship and opened the 1999-2000 season with two straight losses.
They had not lost three in a row in a single season since dropping the last three games of 1995-96. Duke’s last four-game slide came as part of a six-game losing streak from Jan. 4-21 of that season, during which coach Mike Krzyzewski was only on the sidelines for the first 12 games before missing the rest of the season due to exhaustion and back surgery.
"We can’t get down," said Krzyzewski, who went 9-3 before Pete Gaudet took over the team for the remainder of the 1995-96 season. "If we get down, we’re not deserving of winning. You cannot get down about losing, especially the way we’ve lost."
Duke failed to score on the final play of a 68-66 overtime loss at Virginia on Feb. 1 and a 68-67 home loss to Florida State last Sunday. Against the Tar Heels, they held the lead until about 5 minutes remained in the contest.
Freshman Jon Scheyer scored a season-high 26 points, but missed two of three free throws in the second half to end a streak of 40 straight made. Duke went just 3-for-10 at the foul line in the second half.
"We need to get back to work," Scheyer said. "This loss, three losses in a row, we’ve really got to come together because it’s not going to be any easier and we know that."
Greg Paulus added 15 points, and freshman Gerald Henderson added 14 for the Blue Devils. Henderson and fellow freshman Brian Zoubek were inserted into the starting lineup in place of tri-captains Josh McRoberts and DeMarcus Nelson, who had started every game this season, as Krzyzewski tried to jump-start his team.
The Blue Devils play five of their last seven on the road, including a season-ending trip to North Carolina on March 4. Duke has won its last two against Maryland, but dropped the previous three meetings and five of the last eight.
The Blue Devils have also lost three of their last five games at College Park.
Maryland (17-7, 3-6) lost its second home game Tuesday, falling 69-65 to Virginia. Mike Jones had 18 points and D.J. Strawberry, who leads the team with 14.7 points per game, added 11 for the Terrapins.
Maryland has dropped five of eight overall.
"Right now, we have to focus on Duke," said forward James Gist, who had 10 points. "We have to be ready to play, because right now we have ourselves in a situation where we have to win these games. We know that we can win them, too.
"We’re getting there. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close to that. We have to put together a few wins, and once we do that, we know that we’re a good team."
The Terrapins have won 13 games at home, outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 20 points.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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