Jan. 24, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -Gerald Henderson scored 17 points to help No. 2 Duke rout Maryland 85-44 on Saturday, a victory that could propel the Blue Devils to the No. 1 ranking next week.

Jon Scheyer scored 12 points for Duke (18-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which dominated from the opening tip and led 40-15 at halftime. From there, the lead only grew, including a couple of dazzling transition scores that pushed the Blue Devils to a 60-20 lead less than 4 minutes into the second half.

Duke led by as many as 44 points, handing the Terrapins (13-6, 2-3) their worst loss under coach Gary Williams. It was the fourth-largest margin of defeat in school history.

The Blue Devils haven't been ranked No. 1 since the final poll of 2005-06, but that could change after Wake Forest's home loss to Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Duke had been ranked No. 1 at least once every season from 1998-2004 under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, but had not reached the top spot in the past two seasons.

Duke is at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

Landon Milbourne had 19 points for the Terrapins, who were completely shut down early by Duke's perimeter pressure. The Terrapins shot 28 percent, including 2-for-12 from 3-point range, while the Blue Devils came away with just about every rebound and loose ball

Making matters worse, the Blue Devils weren't having any such offensive troubles - particularly from behind the arc. Duke shot 43 percent but hit 12 of 25 3s and outrebounded Maryland 56-38.

The frustration was evident early when Dave Neal of Maryland flung his arms into the air in and cursed in disgust after Duke's 7-footer Brian Zoubek beat several Terps to the ball for an offensive rebound before drawing a foul. Things didn't get any better in the second half, which opened with a stretch in which Duke seemed more like it was putting together a highlight reel than playing an ACC opponent.

First came a 3-pointer from Nolan Smith, followed by another 3 from Henderson. Then, after a missed shot, Henderson threw an underhanded alley-oop pass in transition to Kyle Singler for a dunk.

Finally, after another Maryland turnover, Jon Scheyer saved a ball from going out of bounds near midcourt in transition, leading to a perfect touch pass from Smith to Henderson for another score that capped a 14-0 run and pushed the lead to 40 points with 15:28 to play.

It was Maryland's worst defeat since a 39-point loss to Wake Forest in 1963.