- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2003

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Maryland's fastbreak comeback wasn't quick enough.
Wake Forest's frontcourt dominated on both ends to withstand a furious late charge for an 81-72 victory last night at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The loss snapped No.17 Maryland's (9-4) five-game winning streak. The Terps' team-record 14-game ACC winning steak and seven straight victories over the No.19 Demon Deacons (11-1) also ended.
Maryland used its aggressive man defense to offset a poor night underneath. Maryland scored nine straight points largely fueled by its defense to close within 66-64 with 4:56 remaining. Wake Forest countered with two baskets underneath before guard Steve Blake followed with two free throws with 3:43 remaining to close within 70-66.
Wake Forest then broke Maryland's press on center Eric Williams' dunk for a six-point lead before Blake again drained two more free throws. Forward Tahj Holden soon added a 3-pointer to close to 73-71 with 2:43 left. Wake Forest forward Vytas Danelius countered with two free throws with 1:40 remaining for a four-point margin and Maryland followed with a turnover.
The Terps were outmuscled underneath regularly as the Demon Deacons prevented Maryland from getting easy points underneath or spark its transition offense. The hosts simply sealed the lanes.
It wasn't the complete effort the Terps hoped when entering the marquee part of their schedule. Maryland hosts No.1 Duke on Saturday at Comcast Center before traveling to North Carolina on Wednesday.
Maryland has steadily sought more from its big forward throughout the young season. However, Maryland also failed to gain a big effort from its small forward against Wake Forest and often left center Ryan Randle alone underneath.
Maryland's comeback attempts were often fueled by outside shooting and tenacious man defense. However, the low-percentage shots were offset by Wake Forest dominating inside.
After three straight blowouts the Terps came out unsettled. Maryland was sluggish for the first 10 minutes and trailed 13-6 after a 7-0 Wake Forest run. The Terps kept searching for a mismatch at small forward and liberally subsituted before Calvin McCall emerged midway through the opening half.
McCall scored eight first-half points, including six straight and Maryland twice came within four. McCall had to leave momentarily with 1:03 left after his left cheek was cut.
Maryland was unable to gain consistent outside scoring aside from consecutive baskets by guards Drew Nicholas and Blake with 4:43 remaining.
The Terps converted one of seven 3-pointers before intermission and were only 35.3 percent from the field overall. Guard John Gilchrist seemed to spark more penetration, but the Terps seldom ran freely. Maryland didn't get its first fastbreak points for nearly 15 minutes before Nicholas slammed for only his second basket.
Not that Wake Forest dominated when leading 32-27 at intermission. The Demon Deacons survived the Terps sometimes smothering defense that forced turnovers and came away with key offensive rebounds for conversions underneath or free throws to stave off several Maryland runs. Wake Forest outrebounded Maryland 27-15 in the first half.
The Terps returned from the locker room energized, opening the second half with a 10-6 run led by 3-pointers by Blake and Nicholas to close to 38-37 with 17:54 remaining.
However, Wake Forest regained its momentum underneath. Williams scored four points, forward Jamaal Levy gained a three-point play and forward Josh Howard snuffed Maryland center Ryan Randle's attempted dunk to lead 48-38 with 15:41 left. Even a 3-pointer by Gilchrist couldn't stop Wake Forest's momentum with the Demon Deacons scoring nine straight points for a 56-41 edge with 12:35 remaining before Gilchrist made two free throws.


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