Duke was supposed to get its first shot at its 20th win Wednesday in Chapel Hill against rival North Carolina. A winter storm postponed that game, and the opportunity for reaching the benchmark for an 18th straight season will now happen in a friendlier environment against a less-imposing opponent.
Maryland makes its last trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium as a member of the ACC Saturday night, and it’s unlikely to find a Big Ten gym in the coming seasons that will treat it worse.
The last six visits have yielded six losses by an average of 19.8 points with a 37.5 percent shooting mark, including just 19.0 percent on 3-pointers.
The eighth-ranked Blue Devils (19-5, 8-3) have been particularly unwelcoming to opponents this season with a 13-0 home mark and 29-game home winning streak, the second-longest run in the nation.
Overall, Duke has won seven of eight with a pair of blowout victories since losing by two in overtime at unbeaten Syracuse on Feb. 1. The latest was an 89-68 win at Boston College on Saturday.
Freshman Jabari Parker had arguably his best collegiate game, scoring a career-high 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting with a career-high 16 rebounds for his eighth double-double.
"Jabari was a monster today with the amount of rebounds and points," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He wasn’t rewarded on the offensive boards with some of his finishes or it could have been a 35-, 36-point game."
The team used an 18-0 second-half run to win its second game of the week and ensure a return to the top 10.
"We wanted to pick up the defensive intensity," Quinn Cook said.
Cook came off the bench for the third time in four games and scored 21 points with a 5-of-7 mark from 3-point range.
The Blue Devils shot 56.1 percent as a team and made 11 of 21 3-pointers. They’ve hit at least 11 in their last four games while making 47.2 percent.
Despite the lack of success in Durham, the Terrapins (14-11, 6-6) have won the last two meetings with the Blue Devils, the last of which was an 83-74 neutral-site victory in the conference tournament semifinals on March 15. An upset at Cameron Indoor would give them their first three-game winning streak against the Blue Devils since 2004-05.
Maryland leading scorer Dez Wells, from neighboring Raleigh, N.C., will do his best to make that happen. He scored what was then a career-high 30 in the last meeting with Duke.
The junior is averaging 15.0 points per game this season and scored 12 Monday in a 61-53 loss at No. 17 Virginia as the Terrapins’ bid to win for the fourth time in five games fell short.
"We are getting better. We are," Wells said. "It just came down to two or three lapses on the defensive end. When we’re playing a team like Virginia where they slow it up and want to play in the 50s or 60s, every possession matters."
The Blue Devils, who lead the ACC with 82.2 points per game, don’t fit that same description, though they certainly make their possessions count in a different way with a conference-best 47.5 percent shooting mark.
Guard Seth Allen led the Terrapins with 15 against Virginia. The sophomore has started the last eight games and is averaging 18.5 points in four games this month, including a career-high 32-point game on Feb. 8 in a win over Florida State.
The loss to Virginia dropped Maryland to 2-5 in ACC road games and 0-2 against the Top 25 this season with 14 straight road losses against ranked foes, though its confidence is building.
"We’ve gotten so much better in the last month," coach Mark Turgeon said. "We’re figuring it out."