for this game

Nelson's big second half lifts Duke over Maryland

Jan 28, 2008 - 5:52 AM COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- DeMarcus Nelson scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to lead No. 3 Duke to a 93-84 victory over Maryland on Sunday in an Atlantic Coast Conference battle.

Gerald Henderson added 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and freshman Nolan Smith chipped in 14 points off the bench for the Blue Devils, who remained the lone undefeated team in the ACC despite allowing the Terrapins to shoot 54 percent (31-of-57) from the floor.

Nelson - the team's lone senior - shot 10-of-19 from the floor and led Duke (17-1, 5-0 ACC) with seven rebounds.

"The way the second half went, we just came out with our mindset," Nelson said. "Our mindset was that we weren't going to lose this game. We were going to will the win, whatever it took. We were going to execute on defense, execute our game plan, try and get (Bambale) Osby and (James) Gist to pass the ball. Offensively, we wanted to attack them and make plays."

Maryland (12-8, 2-3) came into Sunday's contest seeking its third straight win over Duke after sweeping both contests last season. The Terrapins have had more success against the Blue Devils than any other program in recent seasons, sweeping the season series in 2004-05 as well as winning four of the last six in College Park.

"It's a big-time basketball game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "It always is when Duke and Maryland play. Obviously, I'm really proud of my guys for making some big plays in the second half. One, to get us back into the game and two to give us that lead at the end.

"I thought DeMarcus Nelson just led us so well. He was strong in every sense of the word - offense, defense, and leadership. We kind of rode him and I thought he gave our team that strength that we needed. We're proud of the win. Anytime you can win in here against one of Gary (Williams') teams - it's a good win."

Maryland was also coming off a stirring upset of then-No. 1 North Carolina on January 19. The Terrapins converted a layup with 21 seconds left to clinch an 82-80 victory.

But taking down two top-five teams in consecutive games would prove to be too tall an order.

"We've won six out of our last eight games," Williams said. "We beat the No. 1 team in the country and had the No. 3 team in the country down nine at halftime. We just didn't get it done in the second half. We're not perfect. ... We have to play every game, every situation. We were that way for a long time and we want to get back to that level."

Trailing 29-25 with 8:19 remaining in the opening half, the Terrapins closed the period on a 26-13 run to take a 51-42 advantage into the locker room. Landon Milbourne sparked the run with a 3-pointer and Gist scored 10 points during the spurt.

"We were giving up too much," Krzyzewski said. "That was the most somebody had scored against us - 51 points. So we changed our point of pickup. In the first half, we were penetrating, but hardly ever did we kick. In the second half, we had a good balance. So we were just trying to get settled down."

The Blue Devils wasted little time cutting into the lead after the half, opening with a 17-8 run to tie the game at 59-59 with 13-28 to play. Nelson, who scored nine points during the run, forged the tie himself with an emphatic dunk.

Nelson converted a pair of free throws a few minutes later to give Duke another lead at 69-67, and his 3-pointer with 8:09 remaining gave his team a lead it would not relinquish at 75-71.

Gist scored 26 points and Osby added 20 and 15 rebounds for Maryland, which committed 22 turnovers.

"The key was that they were able to even up the rebounding in the second half," Williams said. "There were several there that we could have had which would have given us more than one shot at the basket. We didn't do that. When you play a good team, you have to do things the right way - and we made some mistakes by not getting the ball.

"In the first half, we played with a lot of energy and we didn't come out with the same energy after halftime. We tried to get things stirred up and it didn't really happen. It was a fight the whole second half."