Nina Mandell
Monday January 28th, 2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The moment was made for an end-of-the-game SportsCenter celebration highlight. Maryland senior Barnable Osby jumped on James Gist, his face lit up with excitement and his Ben Wallace-style hair shaking, after Gist drew a charge and sent the Terps into halftime with a nine-point lead. The Maryland crowd, which came armed with Duke-hating signs and wearing T-shirts like "Duck Fuke", was wild with excitement, waiting for another upset of a top-five Tobacco Road team.

Unfortunately for the enthusiastic Osby and thundering crowd, there were still 20 minutes left to play.

And someone forgot to remind Osby and the Terps that the fourth-ranked Blue Devils never lose easily, even if Maryland had won five of the last seven matchups coming into the game.

Duke came out of the locker room and quickly narrowed the lead to three in the first four minutes of the second half. Seven minutes in, senior DeMarcus Nelson tied it with a steal and dunk. After eight had ticked off, Duke grabbed the lead back. Mike Krzyzewski called it "the most impressive half of the season," after Duke eventually prevailed 93-84 and improved to 17-1.

Maryland made poor decisions on fast breaks and tried to force lob passes to Osby and Gist in an effort to exploit its height advantage that had helped build a first-half lead. The result was 22 turnovers by the Terps, while their opponents finished with 10 -- including just four in the decisive second half.

"We were in a rush, we were in a rush" said Osby, who had five of those giveaways, shaking his head in the locker room. "But I don't know why. We were winning."

The Terps had good reason to try to keep feeding Osby and Gist -- after nabbing some crowd-dazzling dunks in the first half, the two combined for 20 points in the second. But in the end, it wasn't enough to overcome the more poised and aggressive Duke squad, whose rubber-band tight defense and depth carried them to its first victory over the Terps since 2005.

With Greg Paulus on the bench in foul trouble, Duke freshman Nolan Smith took over, finishing with 14 momentum-changing points and six rebounds -- a sweet reminder for the Upper Marlboro, Md., native of why he chose the Blue Devils despite growing up with Gist and former Maryland star Chris McCray.

"A lot of my friends always wanted to go to Maryland. But I had a big crowd out here and I had to represent," Smith said. "I've always kinda been a Duke fan."

The Terps will see the Blue Devils again on Feb. 13.

"It's an emotional game for everyone," said Gist. "I already have it circled on my calendar."

And Duke, with its own clever-T-shirt-wearing crowd at Cameron, will be waiting.

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