MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The comeback player helped complete another miraculous comeback.
Behind Carlos Boozer, Duke rallied from a 22-point first-half deficit and from an 11-point hole at the break to beat Atlantic Coast Conference rival Maryland, 95-84, in the NCAA Tournament's National Semifinals at the Metrodome.
The Blue Devils (34-4), who have won six straight semifinal games, will face Arizona on Monday night for the national championship.
Boozer, playing just his third game since suffering a fractured right foot in a loss to Maryland on February 27, scored 19 points, including nine in the final five minutes, and put Duke ahead for good by making two free throws with 4:43 remaining.
A tip-in by Nate James -- similar to the one in the final seconds that beat the Terrapins in the ACC semifinals on March 10 -- gave Duke a three-point lead before Drew Nicholas responded with a pair of foul shots for Maryland.
But Naismith Award winner Shane Battier, who had 25 points, rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by Mike Dunleavy Jr. and went 2-of-2 from the stripe for Duke. After a steal by Dunleavy, Boozer converted a layup to give the Blue Devils an 84-79 advantage with just over three minutes left.
"In the first half we didn't play as smooth as we had hoped," Battier said. "At that point the best thing for us was to play basketball. That's why we've won so many games this year, our instincts and our ability to play off each other." Following a Maryland timeout, Boozer and Steve Blake traded free throws before Duke's 6-9 sophomore center took a pass on the baseline and scored with 2:13 to play for an 87-80 lead. The Alaska native also contributed two more free throws in the final minute.
It was the fourth meeting of the season between the ACC rivals. In the first matchup on January 27, Duke rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and won in overtime. On Saturday, the comeback took a little longer.
"It's ironic that in the four games the team that has won has come back from double digits," said Battier. "That was in the back of my mind when we were down 20. I was hoping to continue that trend." A 3-pointer by Blake with just under seven minutes to play in the first half staked the Terrapins to a shocking 39-17 lead. A late 12-4 run by the Blue Devils pulled them within 49-38 at halftime.
"I was disappointed with our team. I thought we played young during those first 12 minutes," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "Maryland is really good, but they have a comfort level because of playing against us. I just told them, just play the way we play." Duke rolled to a 22-point advantage over the final 20 minutes as it completed the biggest comeback from a halftime deficit in Final Four history. Memphis overcame a nine-point halftime deficit in the 1973 National Semifinals to defeat Providence.
"I just thought we needed a sense of urgency," said Duke guard Jason Williams. "Being down 20, the primary thing for us was to get the lead back to single digits going into halftime. We weren't going to get it back in one shot. It was going to take a series of stops." Juan Dixon scored 19 points for the Terrapins (25-11), who were making their first Final Four appearance.
"It really hurts to lose today, but from my perspective, there are certainly years when you get away and appreciate the team you had," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "Give Duke credit. They have some great players. They won the game. But at the same time our team this year proved some things to our university, to our state." "It (reaching the Final Four) is a major step for the university," said Terrapins center Lonny Baxter. "We wanted to win the national championship very bad, but at the same time we made history for our university. We're very proud of ourselves, what we did this year." Maryland, which committed 21 turnovers, was dealt a serious blow 14 seconds into the second half, when senior swingman Terence Morris was called for his fourth foul.
"Unfortunately I picked up my fourth foul early in the second half," said Morris. "It really hurt us when I came out of the game." Immediately, Duke began to chip away. Battier and freshman Chris Duhon each drained 3-pointers and Jason Williams got hot shortly thereafter, converting two straight baskets to pull the Blue Devils within 60-58 with 14 1/2 minutes left.
A 3-pointer by Dixon -- his only points of the second half -- gave Maryland a 69-62 lead, but Battier, who was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc -- responded with a pair of 3-pointers for make it a one-point game.
With Morris on the bench and Dixon struggling, the Terrapins struggled offensively in the second half as they shot just 34 percent and finished at 44 percent (29-of-66) from the field for the game.
"(Dixon) didn't lose the touch," Gary Williams said. "You need looks. We didn't get great looks for Juan. Our offense wasn't as good and Duke had something to do with that. We got a lot of things in transition early but we were unable to keep them from scoring in the second half." Baxter, who had averaged 23 points and 11.3 rebounds in the previous three games, was held to 10 and 10. Blake finished with 13 and Morris had 10, including five straight after re-entering the game with approximately seven minutes left.
Morris made the second of two free throws to give Maryland a 77-76 advantage with 4:55 remaining, but Boozer's two foul shots moments later gave Duke a lead it would not relinquish.
"Boozer has really had a hard week of practice," Krzyzewski said.
Jason Williams scored 23 points and Battier grabbed eight rebounds for Duke, which won despite losing the battle of the boards, 51-35. The Blue Devils shot 44 percent (31-of-71), including 7-of-27 from 3-point range, while committing only seven turnovers.
Monday's title game appearance will be the ninth for Duke, which won the 1991 and 1992 crowns, with the latter coming in the Metrodome.
"I've had some teams with heart, but this one is right there," added Krzyzewski. "We're going to need that Monday, because Arizona is a great basketball team coached by a great coach (Lute Olson). We feel honored to be their opponent." .