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February 11, 2006

Duke powers past Maryland

Playing against an energetic Maryland team trying to play its way into the NCAA Tournament, Duke was all business in dispatching the Terrapins 96-88 at Comcast Center.

J.J. Redick erupted for 35 points despite being scoreless for the game's first seven minutes. Shelden Williams had 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocks in the win and Duke kept Maryland at arm's length for the entire second half.

Duke opened up a 36-24 first half lead based largely on a combined six three pointers from Greg Paulus, Sean Dockery, and Redick.

When both Williams and Josh McRoberts went to the bench with two fouls at the five minute mark, Duke still had the margin at a dozen, but the Terps rallied.

With Duke's front line out of action for the remainder of the half, Maryland started whittling into the lead, ultimately cutting it to 42-38 by the intermission.

With Williams and McRoberts both fresh at the start of the second half, Duke extended the lead back out to 47-38 within two minutes of action.

Redick connected on a three pointer and Williams scored down low for the quick 5-0 spurt out of the locker room.

The advantage went to double digits when Williams got a slam dunk off a Paulus assist to put Duke up 53-42 with just under 17:00 remaining.

From that point on, the lead peaked at 15 points and never got below seven as Duke fended off several attempts by Maryland to get back into the game. By holding onto the healthy margin, Duke quieted some doubts about its ability to effectively close games out.

Despite giving up 19 offensive rebounds, the Blue Devils still outrebounded Maryland by a final difference of 41-39. Duke had 12 offensive rebounds, including four each from Williams and McRoberts.

It was basically a four man offensive effort for Duke in the scoring column.

Dockery, Paulus, Redick, and Williams combined for 92 of the 96 points, with McRoberts and DeMarcus Nelson each putting in two points.

McRoberts was 0-for-6 from the floor but was very active around the rim, securing 12 rebounds and making several aggressive moves to the basket away from the ball, without being able to actually manage a field goal.

Dockery put the game away for good when he swished a three pointer from the right corner against Maryland's full court press to push the lead to 11 at 86-75.

For the remainder of the contest, the Terrapins were reduced to hoping Duke would miss free throws.

The Devils didn't miss, converting 12-of-15 in the final two minutes. Even when McRoberts missed one in the closing moments, Williams grabbed the offensive rebound and returned the foul line after being fouled.

Duke racked up its 11th straight ACC win and improved to 23-1 overall on the season, while Redick closed to within one three point basket of tying former Virginia guard Curtis Staples for the all time record in the ACC.


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