If this game truly is the last time the Maryland Terrapins go head-to-head against Duke as Atlantic Coast Conference foes, then it’s a classic ending to a classic rivalry.
Down by one with about seven seconds left, Dez Wells in-bounded the ball to Charles Mitchell who shot a fading hook shot that bounced not once, not twice, but three times on the rim before it was rebounded by Duke to seal the game with about one second remaining.
That final seven seconds brought with it great emotion from all of Terp nation.
A hopeful Mark Turgeon jumped up and down trying to make the ball go in for his players who left everything out on the court.
Maryland players waited for the ball to go through the net in hopes of sealing this storied rivalry with a win while proudly representing the great heritage of Maryland basketball on their uniforms.
Terrapin fans from all over were on the edge of their seats yelling at that ball to go in so that this Maryland team could get the win they have been looking for and hopefully turn around what has been so far a disappointing season.
“I don’t know how Charles’ shot didn’t go in,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Call it the Duke gods.”
That shot had the Duke Blue Devils (20-5, 9-3 ACC) a little nervous as it bounced around on the rim.
“It felt like an eternity,” freshman Jabari Parker said.
And for Terp fans, this season continues to feel like an eternity of disappointment and heart break.
For Maryland (14-12, 6-7 ACC) it was one of their best games in terms of effort and intensity. They held the #8-ranked Blue Devils to just 33 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent from three-point range. For a team that averages 47 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from three-point land, give Maryland credit.
Dez Wells finished with 17 points and almost single handily led the Terps to victory in the second half. Duke had no answer for Wells as it seemed he was picking up where he left off against the Blue Devils in last year’s ACC tournament. Jake Layman led the Terps with 18 points while Charles Mitchell chipped in 12.
Maryland’s only downfalls were a few too many turnovers and missed free throws.
As a fan, it hurts to write this article right now. But, fans everywhere have to ride the emotional roller coaster. It brings excitement with wins and makes your stomach turn with the losses.
For the Terps, its another emotional loss that could have been a key win for them.
Duke fans added salt to the wound by cheering, “Not our rivals” and “A-C-C” at the beginning and end of the game.
This rivalry means a lot to both basketball teams. No doubt that the coaches, players, and fans from each institution will miss the heated rivalry. Coach Turgeon gave his thoughts on not playing Duke anymore.
“Yes, I am going to miss this. What a great place to come play. It reminds me of playing at Kansas, and coaching against one of the all-time best. I’m going to miss it. That was fun, and we played tonight for Maryland. We didn’t play for ourselves, we played for all former coaches, all former players, all former students because we played for Maryland. We knew we weren’t getting them at our place. This was our one chance. We know what it means to Maryland fans. I can’t be more proud of my guys. I hope every Maryland fan feels the same way. I know we’re upset we lost, but our guys gave it all they had. “
But, Maryland might get a chance at redemption in the ACC tournament if everything falls into place just right.
It might take an ACC tournament victory for Maryland to have a chance to go dancing this season. For a rivalry that has had some great games, it would be great to see the Terps and Blue Devils go at it one last time in an ACC match-up.
It’s only a dream right now, but that dream could turn into reality.
Only time will tell. Until then, Maryland has five more regular season games, including a match-up with #1 Syracuse at an already sold-out home game. If this team can put the emotion of the loss behind them and continue to get better, there is a good chance they can finish on a high note.