Charles Mitchell’s hook shot seemed to hang on the rim for an eternity.
Rising up over the top of Duke’s Rodney Hood with 3.1 seconds remaining and trailing by one point, Mitchell, such a fighter on the block all game long, watched his shot bounce around the iron and fall harmlessly away into the hands of an awaiting Amile Jefferson.
Mitchell fell to the floor with his head in his hands as Duke began to celebrate what would end up as a 69-67 Blue Devil victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on Saturday evening.
Mitchell finished with 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting, the biggest thorn in Duke’s side in the paint, but was unable to hit the shot that would have given Maryland the lead.
Saturday night is the last time the two will meet in the regular season as members of the ACC, with Maryland moving to the Big Ten in July.
Read more below.
Duke 69, Maryland 67
DEZ WELLS TAKES OVER (AGAIN)
Foul trouble kept junior guard Dez Wells from scoring until the 12:57 mark of the second half. He entered the second half with three fouls to his name.
That’s when his patented “Takeover Time” began.
He would score 10 points by himself over the next 5:31 of game time, helping to flip a seven-point deficit into a 54-52 Maryland lead with 8:27 mark. Down the stretch he maintained the same pace, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, plus six rebounds and three assists.
JABARI PARKER: MATCHUP NIGHTMARE
There’s no easy way for Maryland--or really many other teams in the country--to defend Duke freshman Jabari Parker. If you put Evan Smotrycz on him, Parker will blow by and get to the basket. A smaller defender like Nick Faust gets overpowered on the block.
Though he shot just 6-of-16 from the floor, Parker took the ball to the rim and drew fouls, which put Maryland in trouble (see Wells above and Mitchell below) and he converted, going 9-of-10 from the line and finishing with 23 points.
CHARLES MITCHELL EATING GOOD
Duke’s biggest weakness is a lack of size on the interior. That will be their biggest weakness in March. For now, head coach Mark Turgeon did well to exploit it on Saturday by going to Mitchell on the block consistently.
The problem was, he picked up his fourth foul on a loose ball with 16:09 to go in the second half. He was lucky not to pick up a technical foul on top of that personal after showing a good deal of emotion in close vicinity to a referee.
Mitchell would continue to battle and finish with 12 points and six rebounds
Turgeon said before the season that he wants his teams to make more free throws than the other team attempts. On Saturday, they came nowhere close. Duke hit an outstanding 28-of-34 shots from the line, while Maryland was 12-of-19 from the stripe.
END OF AN ERA
With Maryland’s loss comes the end of the battles between Duke and Maryland in the ACC. Though it is still possible for the two to meet in the ACC tournament or the postseason, this is the end of their meetings in the regular season.