GREENSBORO, N.C. -- So many terrific Maryland teams never won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Leave it to the unlikeliest bunch of Terrapins to finally end a 20-year drought.
Maryland capped an improbable run through the tournament Sunday by beating No. 5 Duke 95-87 in overtime, ending the top-seeded Blue Devils' run at five straight championships.
It was the first ACC tournament title for the sixth-seeded Terrapins (19-11) since 1984, when Len Bias and coach Lefty Driesell beat Duke. Maryland had been to just one final since then, in 2000 when the Blue Devils were in the early stages of their tournament dominance.
Duke (27-5) came into the tournament looking for its record sixth consecutive title and 15th overall.
Instead, the Blue Devils took their first ACC postseason loss since 1998 - snapping a streak of 17 straight wins. They also might have cost themselves a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Maryland had tournament MVP John Gilchrist to thank for that.
The sophomore guard put together a terrific three-game stretch to help the Terps beat the Nos. 3, 2 and 1 seeds.
Gilchrist made the game-winning free throw in a quarterfinal win over No. 15 Wake Forest, he scored a career-high 30 points in a semifinal win over North Carolina State and capped it with 26 points against Duke on 10-of-20 shooting.
His driving layup with 20 seconds to play in regulation drew the fifth foul on Duke's Shelden Williams - his main competition for tournament MVP - and the ensuing free throw tied the game at 77 and ensured overtime.
Although quiet in overtime, where the game was primarily decided at the free throw line, he had a lingering post-game celebration with Gary Williams, the coach he referred to as "legendary" the day before when explaining why he chose Maryland over N.C. State during the recruiting process.
The manic Williams, so intense throughout the entire game, never smiled until the waning seconds. He only relaxed as his team began to cut down the nets at the Greensboro Coliseum and the lingering Maryland crowd stood chanting "'Gary! Gary! Gary!"
Maryland, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half and trailed by 12 with 4:58 to play in the second, closed out regulation with a 15-3 run to force overtime.
Everything that could have gone wrong for Duke in the first half did: Chris Duhon was briefly injured diving after a loose ball, leaving the court for about 5 minutes for what appeared to be lower back pain.
Williams was limited to 8 minutes because of foul trouble and J.J. Redick offered nothing offensively, shooting 1-for-8 for the half.
Still, the Blue Devils trailed just 38-36 at halftime.
Credit Duhon for some of that. The senior guard brought the crowd to its feet when he came out of the locker room after brief treatment, running straight to the scorer's table with just a quick pause to tap coach Mike Krzyzewski on the shoulder as he passed by.
Once on the court, where his teammates one-by-one welcomed him back, Duhon gave the Blue Devils a defensive spark that helped them stay in the game.
Williams opened the second half as if he had no fouls - let alone three - with a thunderous dunk to tie the game at 38. Ewing then hit a 3 to give Duke its first lead of the game, followed by another basket by Williams and a 3-pointer by Luol Deng to put the Blue Devils up 46-42.
Redick eventually began making some shots, draining a long 3 with 5:18 to play that made it 72-62. As he sprinted down the court in celebration, Williams threw his arms up in disgust and called a timeout.
It didn't help: Duhon scored right out of the pause on a fast-break layup and Williams quickly called another timeout.
Then it started to click for Maryland, which held Duke without a basket for the rest of regulation and deep into overtime.
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