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Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Maryland-Duke 2001: A four-game odyssey

By Rico Longoria

Duke and Maryland meet Thursday to continue what was one of the most exciting set of games during the 2000-01 season. The Blue Devils won three of four meeting with the Terps last season, but lost the only meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium and had to mount two huge comebacks in the process of winning those three games.

As the Terps look to take control of the ACC race with their third straight win at Cameron, we take a look back at the four-part epic these two teams were responsible for a year ago.

Game 1: Jan. 27 at Cole Field House
No. 2 Duke 98, No. 8 Maryland 96 (OT)
Maryland, leading 90-80 with 54 second remaining, looked ready to collect an easy victory before Jason Williams went to work. Williams scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a 13-second span to pull the Devils within 90-88 with 41 seconds remaining. Maryland turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and then fouled Nate James as he attempted to put back a missed shot. James sank both free throws, the Terrapins missed a last-second 3, and the game went to overtime with another Duke hero waiting to step up. Shane Battier scored the final six points of the extra session for the Blue Devils with a three-pointer and three key free throws, and blocked a Juan Dixon shot at the end of overtime that would have tied the game, giving Duke one of the most improbable wins of the season.

Players of the Game: Williams led Duke with 25 points, while Battier dropped in 20 to go with seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Maryland was led by Dixon's 17 points, and Byron Mouton scored 13 points and also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Game 2: Feb. 27 at Cameron Indoor Stadium
No. 16 Maryland 91, No. 2 Duke 80
The Terps avenged their collapse at home with a big win in one of the rowdiest arenas in college basketball. Duke started the game by going 6-for-17 from the field, then closed the first half with a 23-7 run and led 60-51 with 15:40 to play in the second half. But the Blue Devils missed 25 if their first 31 shots of the second half as Maryland took control. Dixon, who scored 28 points and had five steals, hit a floater in the lane to give Maryland the lead for good at 70-69, and his steal and layup on the next possession put away a tired and injured Duke team. Williams re-injured his sore calf in the second half and the Devils played the final 9½ minutes without Carlos Boozer, who left with a fractured right foot. The Terps sealed the win and prevented another collpase by making 10 of 11 free throws over the final 1:34.

Players of the Game: Dixon was the hero for Maryland, but Lonny Baxter added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Terence Morris had 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Terrapins dominated the boards. Battier led Duke with 31 points in his final game at Cameron, and Boozer chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds before going down.

Game 3: March 10 at Georgia Dome
No. 3 Duke 84, No. 11 Maryland 82
ACC Tournament semifinals

This time it was Maryland's turn to stage a huge comeback, but the Terps' effort fell just short. Duke started the second half with a 19-2 run, but Steve Blake's 3-pointer with 8.1 second left brought Maryland back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game 82-82. Duke chose not to call its final timeout, instead sending Williams on an end-to-end dash for a layup attempt. The shot rimmed out, but Nate James went up in a crowd and tipped the ball in for for the winning bucket. The excitement didn't end there, though, as Dixon launched a half-court bomb at the buzzer that bounced off the rim and gave Duke the win. The victory helped propel the Blue Devils to a 26-point blowout of North Carolina the following night in the championship game of the ACC Tournament. Battier scored 20 points and Williams had 19, while Mike Dunleavy added 15 points and six rebounds. Dixon was once again the Terps' leader, this time with 17 points, while Baxter had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 4: March 31 at Minneapolis Metrodome
No. 1 Duke 95, No. 11 Maryland 84
National Semifinals

The biggest comeback in the four-game series came in the national semifinal, as Duke advanced to the national championship game by erasing a 22-point deficit. Maryland went up 39-17 with 6:54 remaining in the first half, thanks to 16 points from Dixon and misses on Duke's first eight 3-point attempts. But Duke cut the lead to 49-38 by halftime, setting the stage for yet another comeback win. The Blue Devils closed to within one point three different times early in the second half, and Williams gave Duke its first lead of the game, 73-72, with just under seven minutes remaining. The lead then changed hands several times before two Bozzer free throws put Duke ahead 78-77 and gave the Blue Devils the lead for good. Duke then pulled away on the strength of Williams' penetration and Boozer's inside play.

Players of the Game: Battier played another solid all-around game, adding eight rebounds and four blocks to his 25 points, while Wiliams scored 23 and Boozer added 19 points. Dixon totaled 19 points for Maryland, 16 of which came in the first half, and Blake dropped in 13 points to with eight rebounds.