#2: Maryland 83, Duke 81
February 16, 2013
Alex Len's second best game as a Terp came at one of the most opportune moments. With Maryland's rival Duke (despite what Coach K says) in town for what was deemed likely the last time the Blue Devils would play in Comcast Center for some time, stakes were high. The Terps, coming off a bad loss to Virginia, were desperate for a big time win to put on their resume, and Duke represented their last chance in the regular season to get one.
Len hadn't scored more than 12 points in a game in nearly a month, and had let Mason Plumlee get the better of him (aside from, you know, this) in Maryland's previous game down in Durham. But none of this seemed to matter when the Terps took the floor that night, because whether it was the crowd, the opponent, or Mark Turgeon telling him all week that he was Plumlee's little brother, Len transformed himself and played with assertiveness that Terp fans hadn't seen since Brooklyn.
He gave Plumlee fits all game until Duke's big man fouled out, limiting him to just four points, all of which came in the first half. Len also grabbed nine rebounds and added three blocks to his stat-line. He was equally as impressive on the offensive end, scoring 19 on an efficient 6-for-8 shooting and hitting all but one of his eight free throws.
He did all of this with point guard Pe'Shon Howard suspended and with Seth Allen having a rough time handling the ball in committing eight turnovers. Allen, of course, made up for himself with his 16-point output - including the game-winning free throws, but it was Len who had the greatest impact on the win. His performance led the Terps over the Blue Devils for the first time since 2010, a victory that brought Turgeon to tears in the post-game press conference and that gave Maryland's season new life.
I imagine Len considers this win one of if not the greatest moment of his Maryland career, and the feeling of being swarmed by a sea of students will be a memory that will likely last a lifetime.