Greensboro, NC – Dez Wells poured in a career-high 30 points on Friday, as Maryland knocked off No. 2 Duke, 83-74, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Nick Faust, Alex Len, Jake Layman and Seth Allen added 10 points apiece for the Terrapins (22-11), who will take on North Carolina in Saturday's semifinals.
Despite the resume-building victory, Maryland still may need to win the ACC tourney title to claim a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Duke (27-5) received 19 points and seven rebounds from Mason Plumlee, but the Blue Devils shot just 16 percent (4-for-25) from 3-point range in their second straight setback against the Terps.
Maryland opened the contest energized, as the Terps, who led from wire-to- wire, scored 12 of the first 14 points of the contest to build a 10-point edge under 3 1/2 minutes in.
"I thought the difference was we came out of the gate and Duke wasn't themselves at the start," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon remarked. "We got up 12, 10 or 12 points, and our guys kept fighting. We got confidence from that."
Duke got as close as three after four straight points from Rasheed Sulaimon, but Wells answered with five straight points to spark a 9-0 sprint that provided Maryland with a 26-14 cushion.
The Terps carried a 34-26 lead into the break before a Faust jumper early in the second pushed the margin back into double digits.
Duke stormed back from there, as Plumlee and Seth Curry fueled a 16-6 surge that Ryan Kelly capped with a three-point play to bring the Blue Devils within 45-44 with 13:41 remaining.
The Blue Devils remained within striking distance and trailed by just four, 54-50, following a Sulaimon jumper with just over 9 1/2 minutes left, but Faust buried a triple at the other end to spark an 11-2 Maryland surge that gave the Terps a 65-52 advantage with 5:47 remaining.
A Curry trey brought the Blue Devils within 73-67 with 2 1/2 still to play, but Maryland was able to seal the game from the charity stripe, as the Terps knocked down 10 straight free throws over the final two minutes to complete the upset victory.
"We got a lot of good looks but our offense wasn't sharp from the start," Curry admitted. "We weren't cutting hard or screening hard, so that always plays into how you're shooting. We didn't match the energy from the start."
Duke hadn't lost its first game of the ACC Tournament since falling to North Carolina State in the first round of the 2007 conference tourney ... Kelly, who missed Duke's 83-81 loss at Maryland on Feb. 16, managed just eight points and went 0-for-6 from long range ... Maryland's last win over Duke in the ACC Tournament came in the title game of the 2004 tourney ... Sulaimon finished with 16 points, while Curry contributed 15 for the Blue Devils.