Duke blows out offensively challenged MarylandJan 24, 2009 - 10:23 PM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Duke likely will open next week as the new No. 1 in the national rankings. Gerald Henderson and the Blue Devils certainly played the part Saturday.
Henderson continued his recent surge by scoring 17 points as second-ranked Duke throttled Maryland, 85-44, in the most lopsided blowout in the history of this ACC rivalry.
"We played a great game today," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Maryland couldn't hit today, so that helped us a lot. Our defense was outstanding."
"I hope the rest of your day is better than my last two hours," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We didn't play with the enthusiasm necessary to walk in here and play well."
Jon Scheyer scored 12 points while Kyle Singler added 11 for the Blue Devils (18-1, 5-0 ACC), who opened a 40-15 halftime lead and pulled away in the second half of a contest that quickly deteriorated into a laugher.
With the win, Duke essentially secured the top ranking in next week's coaches' poll, which will be released Monday.
"It'll be a big deal for our guys and it's a big deal for us, because it means we're playing really well," Krzyzewski said. "Over the many years here, we've been fortunate to be ranked No. 1 a lot."
However, Krzyzewski wants the Blue Devils to remain focused for the rest of their ACC schedule, which includes four games against North Carolina and Wake Forest.
"We talked about it last week - just don't worry about anything, let's just play, and it's the same thing we'll tell them going into this next week," he said. "It's an honor and it says that you're playing real well. You don't get anything from it except a big headline when you lose."
Senior point guard Greg Paulus, who was a freshman the last time Duke was ranked No. 1, also was cautiously optimistic, especially with next Wednesday's game at currently top-ranked Wake Forest looming.
"If that's the way it votes out and turns out to be, then that's great for our team," Paulus said. "But you have to get ready for the next (game). When you start worrying about what everyone is ranked, you have to control what you can control.
"For us, we have to keep getting better and heading in the right direction. That is what we are focused on."
The Blue Devils, who used a second-half surge to rally past North Carolina State last Tuesday, will benefit from Wake Forest's stunning home loss to Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
Barring a major surprise, Duke will claim the No. 1 ranking for the first time since the end of the 2005-06 regular season.
"For this group, I think Dave (McClure) and Greg (Paulus) have been No. 1 their freshman year," Krzyzewski said. "But otherwise, it's the first time for this group."
The "Cameron Crazies" jumped the gun in this one, serenading the Blue Devils with chants of "No. 1! No. 1" as Duke wrapped up its 27th win its its last 28 home games.
"That was probably one of the loudest it's been (in Cameron Indoor Stadium) this year," Henderson said. "We can make plays like that and get the crowd excited - it's a fun time."
The 41-point margin was Duke's largest ever against Maryland. It was Maryland's worst loss under Williams and the fourth-biggest margin of defeat in school history.
"We just seemed to get paralyzed a little bit out there," Williams said. "This is a tough place to play if everything is not ready to go. As a head coach, you're responsible for getting your team ready to play - and we didn't do a good job today of coming out and matching intensity to Duke's intensity."
Henderson shot 7-of-8 from the floor and went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc to lead the Blue Devils in scoring despite playing just 23 minutes.
It was fifth consecutive game in which the 6-4 Henderson scored at least 17 points. The junior entered the contest averaging 14.4 points per game this season.
With the No. 1 ranking on the line, Duke got off to a quick start and never looked back against the overwhelmed Terrapins (13-6, 2-3), who had split their last 14 contests with the Blue Devils.
Scheyer drained a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 90 seconds and Singler scored nine consecutive points over a span of 3 1/2 minutes to give Duke a 30-11 lead with 5:06 left in the first half.
"I don't know exactly when it was we lost control," Williams said. "It was a matter of losing confidence in our ability to run our offense and things like that. I'm not sure when that happened."
The second half was not much better for Maryland, which faced a 33-point deficit before Henderson sank a 3-pointer to make it 56-20 with 16:17 remaining. Henderson found Singler for an easy dunk 30 seconds later before soaring for an easy layup to make it 60-20.
Landon Milbourne scored 19 points to pace woeful Maryland, which shot just 29 percent (18-of-62) from the floor. Duke enjoyed a 56-38 advantage on the glass and forced 17 turnovers.
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland's leading scorer, struggled throughout the contest and finished with just four points on 2-of-10 shooting. The volatile Venezuelan drew the ire of Duke's fans for his pre-game comments in which he referred to Cameron Indoor as "my house."
"I can think of maybe something better to say than 'That's my house' before you come into Cameron to play," Williams said. "He's an emotional player."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MARYLAND 15 29 44
DUKE (2) 40 45 85 FINAL
Jan 24 1:53 PM
- NCAA BB
(2) DUKE 40 HALFTIME
Jan 24 12:47 PM
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