COLLEGE PARK, Md. – As the final horn sounded and Maryland fans rushed the court to celebrate a rare victory over its bitter rival, weary Duke had just enough energy left to escape the mayhem for the safety of its locker room.
Seth Allen broke a tie by making two free throws with 2.8 seconds left, and the Terrapins stunned the second-ranked Blue Devils 83-81 Saturday night to end a six-game skid in the series.
Coming off a five-day break, Maryland notched its most significant win of the season at the expense of a tired Duke playing its fourth game in 10 days.
The Blue Devils were worn out, and it showed.
Duke was outrebounded 40-20, never led in the second half and got only four points and three rebounds from 6-foot-10 senior center Mason Plumlee.
"This has been an exhausting schedule for our team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're playing on fumes and I think you could tell that with Mason. I thought he looked exhausted the whole game. He's been great. Obviously not good tonight."
The Terrapins (18-7, 6-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) did not trail after halftime but never could pull away.
Duke (22-3, 9-3) was down by 10 with 3:39 left but pulled even when Rasheed Sulaimon made three foul shots with 16.7 seconds to go. Quinn Cook then fouled Allen as the freshman guard drove through the lane, and Allen made both shots.
After a Duke timeout, Cook's desperation 30-footer bounced off the back rim. Chaos ensued as the fans immediately rushed the court.
"I thought it was in when I got it off," Cook said of his final attempt.
Alex Len had 19 points and nine rebounds for Maryland, and Allen scored 16. The Terrapins had lost 12 of 13 against Duke, including a 20-point embarrassment last month.
"I told our players before the game, there's a lot of pride in Maryland basketball," coach Mark Turgeon said. "There's also a lot of passion about Maryland basketball. We talked about playing with those two things for us and for our fans. Our fans were just tremendous."
From the end of the Star Spangled Banner to the final buzzer, the crowd never stopped shouting for the Terps, who rewarded their fans with a memorable victory in a rivalry that appears destined to end when Maryland leaves for the Big Ten in 2014.
"I have a great deal of respect for Maryland," Krzyzewski said. "If it was such a rivalry they'd still be in the ACC. Obviously they don't think it's that important or else they wouldn't be in the Big Ten."
Oh, but it's very important to Maryland and its coach.
"This win was for my family and the fans," Turgeon said. "I know what this win means for our fan base, and I really wanted to beat Duke."
The Blue Devils had their six-game winning streak end. Seth Curry scored 25 and Cook added 18. But Plumlee was completely outplayed by the 7-1 Len, who went 6 for 8 from the field and 7 for 8 at the foul line.
"There's so much pressure for Mason to play outstanding," Krzyzewski said. "That wears on you as the season goes on. He just didn't look fresh tonight."
Said Plumlee: "I didn't show up to play today and I let my teammates down. It's all on me."
Maryland committed a whopping 26 turnovers, eight by Allen. The Terrapins shot an impressive 60 percent from the floor and finished with a 40-20 rebounding advantage.
Maryland played without reserve guard Pe'Shon Howard, who was suspended for violating team rules. Despite being demoted from his starting role last month, Howard still leads the Terrapins in assists.
Maryland led 66-63 before Allen scored on a drive. Dez Wells then stole the ball from Cook and went in for a dunk for a seven-point lead with 5:20 left. After the Blue Devils closed to 71-63, James Padgett made a layup for Maryland and Wells made two foul shots for a 10-point cushion.
The crowd increased its volume with every subsequent basket by the Terrapins, whose previous win over Duke came in March 2010, when Greivis Vasquez celebrated Senior Night with a 20-point performance.
In this one, it was 80-72 before Curry made two straight 3-pointers to bring Duke to 80-78 with just under a minute left. After Wells was called for a charge, Curry had a 15-footer bounce in and out of the basket.
It was that kind of night for the Blue Devils.
The score was 39 all before Allen hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-2 run that included five points from freshman Shaquille Cleare. It was 53-43 before Curry bagged a 3-pointer, Alex Murphy made a layup and Curry drove the lane following Maryland's third turnover in a 60-second span.
That cut the gap to three points, and seconds after a 3-pointer by Cook got the Blue Devils to 55-53.
After the Terrapins went up by six, they committed turnovers on three straight possessions. That enabled Duke to close to 59-57 on a dunk by Murphy, but four straight free throws by Len gave Maryland a 64-59 advantage with 7:20 remaining.
The first half featured two ties, 10 lead changes and ended with the Terrapins up 35-34. Curry (14 points) was one of only four Duke players to score before halftime.