COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The spirit was there. The talent and maturity were not.
Thus, Maryland came up short in its bid to pull off an upset of No. 8 Duke.
Terrell Stoglin scored 16 points and the Terrapins kept it close against the Blue Devils for most of the game before fading down the stretch in a 74-61 defeat Wednesday night.
Before the game, Maryland honored former coach Gary Williams by dedicating the court at Comcast Center in his name. That revved up the sellout crowd and helped the Terrapins race to an early eight-point cushion.
The Terrapins led 47-46 with 12:54 left and were within six points with 2:24 to go, but it wasn’t enough.
“We’re a young team, we’re inexperienced. We make mental mistakes,” said coach Mark Turgeon, who took over after Williams retired in May. “I think we’re getting closer in everything we do. What I saw tonight was encouraging. They hung around until the 3-minute mark against a pretty good team.”
The Terrapins (12-7, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are in rebuilding mode, so Turgeon can’t expect too much too soon. But he was encouraged by what he saw.
“In the end, our defense wasn’t quite good enough,” he said. “Our effort was tremendous.”
The crowd deserved some of the credit. Some of the younger Terps had never been in the Comcast Center when it was so loud — or so electric.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable for us,” senior guard Sean Mosley said. “The guys could really see what college basketball is all about.”
Mason Plumlee scored 23 points for the Blue Devils (17-3, 5-1), who pulled away with a 28-14 finish.
Ryan Kelly had 14 points and Austin Rivers 10 for the Blue Devils, who have dominated this rivalry of late, winning four straight and 10 of 11.
Down 42-38 early in the second half, the Terrapins got a 3-pointer from Pe’Shon Howard and a runner in the lane by Stoglin to move in front. After a Duke misfire, Maryland 7’1″ center Alex Len hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane for a 45-42 lead.
Rivers answered with two straight baskets, sparking an 11-2 run that included five points by Plumlee.
It was 53-48 before Rivers scored on a drive and Kelly drilled a jumper to put Duke up by nine with 8:48 left. Maryland went nearly 5 minutes without a field goal before Nick Faust hit a 3-pointer to get the Terrapins to 57-52 with 7:59 to go.
“We beat a very energized, well-prepared team tonight,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We had a real sense of urgency, and then down the stretch we really executed well. A big win for us. Any win on the road is big. It was a big night for Maryland basketball, and for our guys to come out on top, it was really good for our team.”
Plumlee scored 12 points, and Duke bounced back from an early eight-point deficit to go up 37-34 at halftime.
With the crowd still pumped following the pregame ceremony for Williams, the Terrapins got five points from Mosley and a 3-pointer from Howard in a 14-4 run that made it 18-10.
Enthusiasm over the quick start was blunted when Len picked up two fouls in a 17-second span and went to the bench after playing for less than a minute. Len did not start after spraining his right ankle in Saturday’s game against Temple.
With the middle of the lane open, the Blue Devils repeatedly went inside and took a 29-26 lead on a hook shot by Miles Plumlee. Duke scored 22 first-half points in the lane, which helped offset a 2-for-9 performance from beyond the arc.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)