In an uptempo affair, Deacons just no match for Terrapins
It may not be as dangerous as running with the bulls or with scissors, but running with the Maryland Terrapins is risky business.
With uptempo Wake Forest showing no hesitation to play at the Terps' preferred pace Saturday, Maryland put together its best offensive performance of the season, shooting 67.3 percent and blowing out the Demon Deacons 86-60 before 16,179 at Comcast Center.
Coming off a crushing buzzer-beater loss Wednesday at Florida State, its fifth defeat in seven games, Maryland (16-6, 4-5) needed a confidence-building romp. The Terps got it with dominant work on the boards and a blistering transition attack that produced unfettered layups and dunks and open looks from the perimeter.
"We needed it," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "Playing with energy, playing hard and having fun."
Fun was a byproduct of the pace. In a 94-71 victory over Virginia Tech to open the ACC schedule, Maryland handed the Hokies their most decisive league loss. On Saturday, the Terps did the same to Wake Forest (10-11, 3-6), rolling to an early lead that was never challenged.
"We love it," senior Logan Aronhalt said of the quick tempo. "We keep teams scrambling. They're coming down quick, and they're trying to match up. At the same time, we're already running our sets."
The Terps employed another new starting lineup, their eighth in nine ACC games, as senior James Padgett (12 points, four rebounds) got his second conference start, hitting all six of his shots and helping the Terps to an overwhelming 42-21 edge on the boards.
"They started small, so we went right to James the first play and he finished," Turgeon said. "James is a senior. I have a lot of confidence in James on the defensive end."
With sophomore Alex Len (12 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) hitting six of seven shots and freshmen Shaquille Cleare (four points, five rebounds) and Charles Mitchell (five points, seven rebounds, two blocks) contributing off the bench, all four Maryland frontcourt players were productive.
Same for those on the perimeter as freshman Jake Layman (12 points) hit four 3-pointers while Aronhalt (13 points) and freshman Seth Allen (12 points, seven rebounds) drained three each as Maryland reached its season high in 3-pointers (11) and accuracy from beyond the arc (68.8 percent).
"Watching from the sidelines early in the game, I could see wide open 3s," Aronhalt said. "I was almost drooling waiting to get in."
With an early 12-0 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Layman, Maryland took a 26-11 lead. After that, Wake Forest never got the deficit into single digits. Travis McKie (15 points, six rebounds) did solid work, but the Demon Deacons shot only 34.4 percent overall and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
It was as complete a victory as Maryland has enjoyed this year and a vivid contrast to how the Terps felt after watching Florida State's Michael Snaer hit the winning 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left three days ago in Tallahassee.
"We had guys crying after the last game," Turgeon said. "We're starting to figure it out. Now whether we're gonna get a road win next Thursday [at Virginia Tech], I don't know. But you can see it coming. It's good to see."