Wake Forest falls to Maryland 75-62 in ACC tournament

jjones@charlotteobserver.comMarch 15, 2013 

— Wake Forest’s drought in the ACC tournament continues.

The Deacons, losers of six consecutive conference tournament games entering Thursday night’s contest against Maryland, dropped their seventh against the Terrapins 75-62 in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Maryland, paced by Dez Wells’ 21 points, overcame a five-point halftime deficit. With five minutes remaining in the game, the No. 7-seeded Terrapins took their largest lead of the game at 64-56 and didn’t look back.

Wake Forest (13-18) didn’t help its case by not scoring a field goal from the 10:02 mark in the second half until 1:26 remained in the game.

“(At) about the eight-minute timeout I said, ‘Guys, we have to make them shoot jump shots. They’re getting to the rim,’” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “They got some open ones but they didn’t fall for them. But we were pretty locked in. The scouting report was pretty good in the second half.”

After a missed free throw with less than six minutes remaining, Wells threw an outlet pass to Nick Faust, who sliced a defender but missed the layup. However, Pe’Shon Howard was there for the tip-in and his fifth straight point to put Maryland (21-11) up 61-56.

Faust then stripped Harris of the ball on a fast break. On the other end, Charles Mitchell collected a missed 3-pointer, made a bucket and drew the foul to give Maryland an eight-point lead.

The Deacons held a 35-30 lead at halftime thanks in large part to C.J. Harris’ 13 points. Harris, the lone scholarship senior on Jeff Bzdelik’s squad, did what he could to ensure it wouldn’t be his last game as a Deacon.

The senior committed to Wake Forest when it was ranked No. 1 in the nation, but he spent his entire career with a club that went to the NCAA tournament once and won just one postseason game.

Harris shot the ball 11 times in the first half. He finished with 19 points.

“We’re disappointed for him,” Bzdelik said. “He’s a terrific young man. He’s really just been a great role model for our young players. He represents Wake Forest the way we want it to be represented. We’re disappointed for him.”

Less than a minute into the second half, Wake Forest had already lost its five-point lead. Two free throws by Faust and four points by Wells gave the Terps their first lead since the seven-minute mark of the first half.

Wells had 23 and 11 points in the two regular-season meetings between the teams. At Maryland the Deacons lost by 26. They fell at home 67-57 less than two weeks ago.

Wake Forest hasn’t won an ACC tournament game since 2007. The Deacons’ last tournament win came in a double-overtime victory against Georgia Tech, which happened to be late coach Skip Prosser’s final win with Wake Forest.

“There is a very bright future,” Bzdelik said. “We have beaten four out of the top six teams in this league. We’ve lost in numerous close games. As these young men grow up, get bigger and stronger, they’re going to turn those close losses into great wins.”

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