GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins take aim at their 20th win of the season, as they take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Atlantic Coast Conference action on Saturday afternoon at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
Mark Turgeon's Terrapins have had a strong season at 19-9 overall, but a lot of that success has come out of conference. The ACC road has been much tougher for Maryland, which is currently under .500 in league play at 7-8 following Wednesday's 78-68 road loss at Georgia Tech. Consistency has been a real problem of late, with Maryland an even 6-6 in its last 12 games.
Jeff Bzdelik's Demon Deacons have struggled for the most part this season, sitting at 12-15 overall, with a mere 5-10 record in-conference, tied for eighth in the league with both Georgia Tech and Clemson. Wake dropped a 76-62 decision to Florida State last time out and has now lost three of its last four games. Still, the Demon Deacons have shown brief flashes of strong play, including being the only team to hand Miami-Florida a league loss this season.
Maryland holds a 67-56 lead in the all-time series with Wake Forest and has won five straight meetings, including an 86-60 drubbing of the Demon Deacons in College Park on Feb. 2.
Georgia Tech used an efficient offensive performance, shooting 51 percent from the floor, including 57.1 percent in the first half to earn the 10-point win over the Terps last time out. Dez Wells led the way in defeat for Maryland with 15 points. Alex Len just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Seth Allen and Nick Faust finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Maryland was edged out on the boards (34-32) and was outscored at the free-throw line 20-10.
Maryland is usually much more efficient in its shooting, as the Terrapins come into this game shooting a healthy .470 from the floor, leading to 71.2 ppg. In addition, the team has had plenty of defensive success, yielding just 63.2 ppg on just .379 shooting by the opposition. Len is a force in the middle, as the 7-foot sophomore leads the team in both scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). Wells, a sophomore as well, comes in at 11.6 ppg and is shooting a strong .521 from the floor overall.
The Seminoles used a 21-2 run in the second half to give themselves plenty of breathing room as Wake simply couldn't get back into the game after that, falling in Tallahassee. Travis McKie led the way for Wake in the loss with 15 points. No other Demon Deacon managed double figures in scoring, although C.J. Harris, Devin Thomas and Chase Fischer all tallied nine points. Wake Forest managed to shoot just .327 from the floor in the game, while FSU converted at a .489 clip.
The Demon Deacons lack a great deal of scoring depth, instead relying heavily on the play of Harris and McKie. Harris currently leads the Demon Deacons in scoring at 14.9 ppg, thanks in large part to his .417 effort from behind the arc (45-of-108). McKie is the perfect complement in the frontcourt, netting 14.2 ppg and grabbing 7.4 rpg. A pair of freshman has shown glimpses of their potential this year in Codi Miller-McIntyre (8.3 ppg, team-high 68 assists) and Thomas (8.2 ppg, team-high 7.6 rpg).
Maryland has certainly had its problems outside of College Park. That could play a big factor in this one, as Wake has certainly been up to the challenge at home, regardless of the competition.
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