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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Drew Nicholas had been there. So had fellow Maryland seniors Steve Blake, Ryan Randle and Tahj Holden.
And now the rest of the Terrapins know what it's like to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Nicholas scored a career-high 29 and Randle led a second-half charge as No. 23 Maryland opened defense of its ACC title by beating Georgia Tech 84-77 on Sunday.
The defending national champion Terrapins have lost to nonconference foes Indiana, Notre Dame and Florida. This game was far more intense.
"I think a lot of young guys now understand when we talk about how the ACC is just different," Nicholas said. "A different level of competition, a different level of play."
Nicholas had the floor burns to prove it.
"I was on the ground at least 20 times tonight," he said. "If that's what I have to do to get this win, I'll take it."
Randle scored 16 of his 20 after halftime, helping the Terrapins escape with their ninth straight home victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Maryland extended its conference winning streak to a school-record 13 games.
"I told the new players, 'Welcome to the ACC,' " Maryland coach Gary Williams said.
"It exceeded my expectations," said Maryland freshman John Gilchrist, who played 20 minutes off the bench. "It was so great just to be able to step on the floor after growing up and watching it on TV. The intensity and energy is so high, it's awesome."
B.J. Elder had 19 points and Chris Bosh 16 for the Yellow Jackets, who are 2-12 against Maryland since January 1996.
NO. 3 DUKE 85, DAYTON 74: J.J. Redick no longer can say he hasn't had a hot streak this season.
The freshman hit his last eight shots and scored a career-high 26 as the Blue Devils improved to 7-0 for the third consecutive season.
Dahntay Jones added 15 points, Casey Sanders had 13 and Chris Duhon came up with two big defensive plays late for Duke, which took a big lead and held off a rally.
Redick, who went in shooting 38 percent from 3-point range, hit 5 of 7 and made 5 of 6 free throws. He missed two 3s in the first three minutes but didn't miss from the field after that.
"Neither (miss) felt good at all," Redick said. "The last eight shots were definitely the best I've felt shooting the ball."
NO. 18 CREIGHTON 93, SE MO. ST. 70: The Bluejays found strength in numbers in wearing down the Indians to improve to 10-0, best in Division I and their best start in 60 years.
Kyle Korver had 22 points, but the key was Creighton's 42-4 advantage in bench scoring and 30-4 margin in points off turnovers.
"Our press started to bother them," Creighton coach Dana Altman said. "We just had more players. Once our press wore them down and they started to make mistakes, that's what turned the game around. We got some easy ones out of our press."
N.C. STATE 86, WOFFORD 71: Julius Hodge had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Clifford Crawford added a career-high 22 points as the host Wolfpack overcame 39 percent shooting in the first half.
North Carolina State beat the Terriers for the eighth time in nine meetings and improved to 34-3 against nonconference opponents at the RBC Center under coach Herb Sendek. Wofford hasn't beaten N.C. State since the 1934-35 season.
LA.-LAFAYETTE 68, CHARLOTTE 47: Brad Boyd scored 20 for the Ragin' Cajuns in the 49ers' worst loss in Halton Arena history.
Boyd made 6 of 13 3-pointers to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to its second win in the three-day round-robin Pepsi Classic. Charlotte shot an all-time low 26 percent (17-of-65) for the game.
STETSON 75, NEW HAMPSHIRE 69: Derrick DeWitt scored a season-high 14 as the Hatters snapped their season-opening eight-game losing streak and a skid of 10 dating to last season in the consolation game of the Poinsettia Holiday Classic in Greenville, S.C.
MOREHOUSE (GA.) 68, TAMPA 58: Brandon Childs scored 18 as Morehouse held the host Spartans to 33 percent shooting, including 6-of-29 from 3-point range.
W.VA. 75, GARDNER-WEBB 58: Johannes Herber and Drew Schifino scored 16 each for the Mountaineers at the Jim Thorpe Classic in Las Vegas.
COLORADO 76, LOYOLA 72: Blair Wilson scored 17 and Michel Morandais added 14 to lead the Buffaloes in the final round of the Pepsi Holiday Classic in Charlotte, N.C.
KANSAS ST. 73, SW MO. ST. 64: Tim Ellis scored 21 and Pervis Pasco added 19 as the host Wildcats overcame a Hawks comeback to win their fifth consecutive game.
IOWA ST. 71, N. IOWA 64: Tim Barnes overcame the flu to score a career-high 19 for the visiting Cyclones, who swept their three intrastate opponents for the first time since the 1994-95 season.