Maryland surprises Duke


Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

DURHAM, N.C. — Mike Jones scored 25 points and D.J. Strawberry had a pair of baskets during the decisive second-half spurt Wednesday night to lead No. 24 Maryland past No. 14 Duke 85-77.

Strawberry finished with 17 points for the Terrapins (23-7, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won six straight games — all in the conference — to firm up what looked to be a shaky NCAA tournament resume only a few weeks ago.

Ekene Ibekwe also scored 17 points, while freshman Greivis Vasquez added 13 points and 12 assists to help Maryland sweep the season series with the Blue Devils for the second time in three years.

Greg Paulus scored 20 points to lead Duke (22-8, 8-7), which rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to tie it but couldn't push ahead.

The Blue Devils had won four straight since losing at Maryland 72-60, a defeat that dropped the Blue Devils out of The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in 11 years.

But the Terrapins — who looked lost at 3-6 in the ACC just a few weeks ago — maintained their February surge with a successful follow-up to an 89-87 weekend win against North Carolina. Maryland shot 52 percent for the game, hit 7 of 13 3-pointers and blocked eight shots while committing just 13 turnovers.

With the score tied at 64, Vasquez knocked down a hanging layup over the 6-foot-10 Josh McRoberts to put the Terrapins ahead for good with 5:11 left.

Then, after DeMarcus Nelson was whistled for an offensive foul, Strawberry went to work. He first knocked down a 3 from the left wing off a kickout from Ibekwe, then followed with a layup over McRoberts for a 71-64 lead with 3:50 left.

Duke certainly didn't help itself when the game hung in the balance. After a jumper from Paulus cut the deficit to 71-66 with 3:35 left, the Blue Devils didn't manage another field goal until Paulus' layup made it 79-70 with 49.7 seconds left. In addition, Paulus and Gerald Henderson each missed the front end of 1-and-1s during that stretch, allowing Maryland to slowly build its lead.

Maryland pushed the lead to as many as 10 points in the final seconds, punctuating the victory with a breakaway dunk from Ibekwe with 9.4 seconds left.

Maryland led 44-38 at the break after Vasquez hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the half. The Terps looked to be in complete control after Strawberry scored twice in transition and Ibekwe added a free throw for a 56-44 lead with 13:11 left.

But the Blue Devils gradually clawed their way back, tying it at 64 when Jon Scheyer pulled up in transition and knocked down a 3 with 5:35 left that sent Cameron Indoor Stadium into a frenzy.

CLEMSON 74, MIAMI 70, OT

Vernon Hamilton scored six of his 10 points in overtime to help Clemson to a 74-70 win over Miami on Wednesday night.

The Tigers (20-9, 6-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot just 14-of-31 from the foul line in the game, but made seven of their 10 free throws in overtime to stop a four-game losing streak and keep their faint hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament alive.

Clemson led 30-27 after a first half that saw both teams combine to hit just 1-of-9 free throws.

The Tigers built a 56-49 lead with 7:14 to go, but the Hurricanes (11-18, 4-11) went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 59 at the end of regulation.

Clemson did not score in the final five minutes of regulation, missing six straight free throws. The Tigers had the final shot of the second half, but James Mays inside shot never hit the rim.

Miami shot just 5-of-12 from the foul line and 3-of-13 on 3-pointers. Clemson made six of its 19 shots behind the arc.

VILLANOVA 78, CONNECTICUT 74

Scottie Reynolds scored 40 points to lead visiting Villanova to a win over Connecticut and improve the Wildcats' chances for an NCAA tournament bid.

Villanova (20-9, 8-7 Big East) is assured of finishing at least .500 in league play.

Reynolds, the leading candidate for the league's rookie of the year, hit six 3-pointers including two in a 10-0 run early in the second half that gave Villanova a 12-point lead.

Jeff Adrien and Jerome Dyson each had 20 points for UConn (17-12, 6-9), which fought back to make it a one-point game late.

PROVIDENCE 77, SOUTH FLORIDA 72

Herbert Hill had 28 points and 16 rebounds, leading Providence past South Florida 77-72 on Wednesday night.

Hill had eight points, including a pair of rebound baskets, as Providence (18-10, 8-7) opened the second half with a 12-2 run to take 45-35 lead with 16 minutes left.

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