- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

ATLANTA | Greivis Vasquez wanted to make the impossible possible in Maryland’s trip to the ACC tournament.

The Terrapins have not won a championship just yet. But they may have accomplished their primary mission: boosting their NCAA tournament profile enough to justify inclusion in the 65-team field.

Maryland collected such a prize Friday night when it bested second-seeded Wake Forest 75-64 in the conference quarterfinals at Georgia Dome. The seventh-seeded Terps (20-12) advanced to meet the winner of Friday night’s Duke-Boston College game in Saturday’s semifinals.

It is Maryland’s first trip to the semifinals since 2004, the last time the Terps won the event. That run was started with a Friday night upset of Wake Forest to solidify an NCAA spot as well.

Vasquez scored 22 points for Maryland, which attacked the basket with greater frequency and efficiency than when the teams met earlier this month. The Terps were 21-for-26 at the foul line after having only two attempts in Wake’s victory March 3 at Comcast Center.

The Terps already had a credible case to be part of the postseason discussion, having upended Michigan State on a neutral floor and stunned North Carolina at home. Losses to Morgan State and Virginia didn’t help, nor did a 2-6 road record, but there was still hope when the Terps began tournament play Thursday.

A defeat of the Demon Deacons (24-6) enhances Maryland’s chances, especially with a plethora of fellow marginal NCAA tournament hopefuls stumbling in their conference tournaments.

The Terps led much of the first half, then bumped their edge to 15 by starting the second half on a 12-2 run. The margin remained in that neighborhood much of the half, but the Demon Deacons got it down to 64-56 when Ish Smith connected on a 3-pointer with 4:51 left.

Dave Neal countered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, and the Terps kept Wake in check the rest of the way.

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