COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Thrust into the position of playing catch-up, Duke (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) quieted a boisterous crowd and denied Maryland another stunning upset.
"Our mind-set was that we weren't going to lose this game. We were going to will the win, whatever it took," said senior DeMarcus Nelson, who scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to rally the Blue Devils to a 93-84 victory Sunday night.
Gerald Henderson added 23 for Duke, which had not trailed by more than six points in any game before falling behind 51-42 at halftime. With Nelson leading the way, the Blue Devils (17-1, 5-0 ACC) turned in a surgical performance in a hostile environment over the final 20 minutes to earn their seventh straight win.
"DeMarcus led us so well," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He was strong in every sense of the word. We kind of rode him. He just gave our team the strength that it needed."
Duke shot 53 percent in the second half, outrebounded the taller Terrapins 22-15 and outscored Maryland 51-33.
"It's the most impressive half of the season," Krzyzewski said.
James Gist scored 26 and Bambale Osby had 20 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, for the Terrapins (12-8, 2-3). But it wasn't enough to provide Maryland with its sixth win in eight games against its hated rival.
"In the first half we played with a lot of energy. We didn't come out with the same energy [after] halftime," Terps coach Gary Williams said.
Maryland was coming off an 82-80 win on the road against then-No. 1 North Carolina. That was eight days earlier, and unfortunately for the Terrapins, the momentum generated from that breakthrough victory could not be sustained.
"We beat the No. 1 team in the country and we had the No. 3 team in the country down 9 at halftime," Williams said. "We just didn't get it done in the second half. We're not perfect."
Duke led by two before baskets by Henderson and Nelson ignited an 8-2 spurt that made it 83-75. A 3-pointer by Gist got Maryland to 84-81, but Nelson made a driving layup for a five-point cushion with 61 seconds to go.
The Terrapins would get no closer than four points.
Duke launched its comeback at the outset of the second half by making three straight baskets, two by Nelson, after Maryland opened with three successive turnovers. A three-point play by Nelson got the Blue Devils to 57-55, and minutes later a 3-pointer by Kyle Singler put Duke up 64-63.
"That set the whole tone for the second half, as far as how Duke was going to play," Gist said. "That summed it all up right there, the first few minutes of the second half."
Greivis Vasquez answered with a layup and an off-balance baseline jumper, but Terps reserve David Neal missed a layup and the Blue Devils used a 3-pointer by Greg Paulus and two foul shots by Nelson to move back in front.
The Terrapins would not lead again, and many in the crowd of 17,950 filed out before the final buzzer.
"They have great fans. They support their team in a magnificent manner," Krzyzewski said. "It's always an honor to come up here and play in this environment. When you win in that environment, it's really good."
Despite forcing 13 turnovers and getting 16 points from Henderson, Duke trailed at halftime for the first time this season.
The crowd was in a frenzy at the outset, and a quick start by the Terrapins only raised the volume. Maryland made its first four field-goal tries, including three straight layups by Osby, and a 3-pointer by Vasquez made it 11-5.
The Terrapins opened 7-for-10 from the floor but had five turnovers in the opening 7 minutes and fell behind for the first time when Henderson made two foul shots for an 18-16 advantage.
It was 29-25 before Landon Milbourne hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 run that put Maryland back in front. Gist had two dunks during the 90-second spree.
A technical foul on the Duke bench helped the Terrapins close the half with a 9-2 flurry.