Maryland earns “must-win” victory over No. 2 Duke, 83-81
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
With just six games left in the regular season for the Maryland Terrapins, the opportunities to impress the selection committee were running out.
But the Terrapins made the most of their last opportunity against a ranked opponent, defeating No. 2 Duke 83-81 on Saturday night in front of a raucous Comcast Center in College Park, Md.
Despite not having point guard Pe’Shon Howard, who was suspended for violating team rules, the Terrapins got steady play from guard Seth Allen, who scored 14 points, including the final two from the foul line to propel the Terps to victory.
Duke was led by Seth Curry, who scored 14 first half points and finished with a game-high 25 points despite making only four field goals in the second half.
Alex Len led the Terrapins in scoring, finishing with 19 points and added 8 rebounds as well. Len had not scored more than 16 points in a game since scoring 19 points against Stony Brook on November 21st.
This was also Len’s best performance since scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the season-opener against Kentucky. Maryland needed a big game from their big man, and they got one.
Maryland entered the game with a RPI of 75 and ranked 113th in strength of schedule. Entering the game, Maryland’s only “good win” was against then-No.14 North Carolina State, a team no longer ranked in the top-25.
The Terrapins have games remaining against Virginia and North Carolina. Beating Duke on Saturday means that Maryland still has a chance to play their way in with a strong finish to the season.
If the Terps finish the season on a six-game winning streak with wins over Duke, Virginia and North Carolina, an automatic bid would be much more accessible.
Whether or not Maryland can win the next five games is still up for debate, but they got the most important win out of the way.