COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Burdened with a four-game losing streak for the first time in 11 years, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wasted no time in deciding the proper course to right his struggling team.
"I'll do whatever I can," he said Sunday, moments after a 72-60 loss to Maryland. "I'm not going to punt, let's put it that way."
The Terrapins (18-7, 4-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed early before taking control with a 29-4 run in the first half, then used a late surge to hold off a comeback bid by the skidding Blue Devils (18-7, 5-6).
"They're not going away," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "They have too much pride."
Josh McRoberts scored 20 points and Greg Paulus had 12 for Duke. The Blue Devils' previous three losses were by a combined nine points, but this turned out to be Duke's most lopsided ACC defeat since a 14-point loss to Wake Forest in February 2003.
"Of the four games, the other three we had a chance to win," Krzyzewski said. "This game, something a little more extraordinary had to happen for us to win."
Duke's last four-game losing streak was from Jan. 3-13, 1996.
"It doesn't feel good," Paulus said. "It's not panic mode, but we have to get better. We're not playing well enough. It's that simple."
Said Krzyzewski: "One thing you have to do when you're a coach or a player is keep a positive attitude, prepare, fight and attempt to win the next time no matter what. We've been in that position coming off many wins over the years. Now we're in that position coming off four straight losses.
"You have to figure it out. The one thing you can't do is feel sorry for yourself."
That was enough to ensure the Terrapins an important victory in their bid to get back into the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence.
"We've got no choices. We have to play hard," Vasquez said. "We had to come out and beat Duke, and that's what we did."
After the final buzzer, the Maryland fans didn't rush the court -- an indication, perhaps, of Duke's fall from elite status.
Down 40-28 at halftime, the Blue Devils closed to 50-43 on a three-point play by McRoberts. Vasquez followed with a tough layup, then added a follow-shot for an 11-point cushion.
But the Blue Devils weren't done. A driving layup by Martynas Pocius and a dunk by McRoberts made it 56-50 with 9:51 to go, and Williams quickly called a timeout in an effort to stop the momentum shift.
It didn't work. The Terrapins committed a turnover following the break, and freshman Eric Hayes botched a layup on their next possession. Duke wasn't any better, however, and Vasquez snapped a series of missed shots and turnovers with a layup for an eight-point lead.
"We didn't do anything differently," guard D.J. Strawberry said. "We just kept doing what got us the lead in the first place. We knew we had to handle their pressure a little better, and run out plays like we had earlier."
Maryland went 16-for-29 from the floor and forced 12 turnovers in the first half.
Paulus opened the game with a 15-foot jumper and 3-pointer, but Duke missed seven of its next eight shots and committed seven turnovers while Maryland took control.
After Ibekwe recharged the crowd by scoring five straight points, Vasquez made a three-point play and a 3-pointer to ignite a 14-0 run that made it 19-7. Paulus snapped the Blue Devils' drought with a jumper, but the Terrapins responded with 10 straight points, including a 3-pointer and a three-point play by Gist, to go up by 20 with 8:54 left in the half.
"They played with amazing energy, especially at the start of the game," Krzyzewski said. "The crowd, their team ... our team hasn't experienced that level of energy this season and it knocked us back."
Duke then used a 15-4 surge to close to 33-24 before Strawberry made two straight baskets to stem the charge.