Rushed Reactions: Maryland 75, Wake Forest 62Posted by mpatton on March 14th, 2013
Matt Patton is an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report after Thursday evening’s Maryland-Wake Forest game from the ACC Tournament.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Close for 32 minutes: At the under-eight media timeout in the second half, it was all tied up 54-54. Over the course of the next six minutes Wake Forest went 4-of-10 from the charity stripe, turned the ball over twice (and would have a third time if the possession hadn’t pointed in its direction), and missed all six of its free throw attempts. Needless to say, Maryland pulled out to a double-digit lead and the game was over. Down the stretch the Demon Deacons just didn’t look invested. They had poor body language and settled for ugly jump shots. The lethargy carried over to their defense in a nasty cycle of bad play. The negative body language is troubling. Wake Forest hasn’t had any success away from home under Jeff Bzdelik (his teams have won one conference road game and no postseason games), which plays into it. But somehow the Demon Deacons have to break out of the cycle.
- Pe’Shon Howard saved the day: Pe’Shon Howard has had a tough year offensively — like he’s made three of 25 attempts from beyond the arc in conference play. He hit his only deep attempt today, and it turned out to be where momentum really shifted to Maryland. Right after Travis McKie and Arnaud Adala Moto combined to go 1-of-4 from the free throw line, Howard buried a three to put Maryland up four and the Terrapins never looked back. If Howard is hitting shots, Maryland is a much better basketball team.
- Devin Thomas will be a great ACC player: Devin Thomas is going to be a very very good ACC player. He’s a worker for Wake Forest in the paint and has the frame that should add pounds during the offseason. In 18 minutes, Thomas finished with eight points, four rebounds, two steals and a block. He’s got a long way to go in terms of developing an arsenal of moves, but right now he plays a little like James Michael McAdoo. He doesn’t have the physical gifts that McAdoo does, but he does a lot of the little things that win games.
Star of the Game: Dez Wells kept Maryland close to start the second half, scoring seven of the Terrapins’s first nine points. He finished the game with 21 points on 10 shots with four rebounds and a steal to boot. Wells also had to guard Travis McKie much of the night, and did a good job on the perimeter.
Sights and Sounds: NC State fans stuck around to jeer Karl Hess and Maryland. Big Ten comments abounded. While the Tar Heels probably won’t be tempted to cheer for Duke tomorrow, the Terrapins could face a very hostile crowd Friday evening.
Wildcard: Alex Len looked off on both ends of the floor for Maryland. He finished 4-of-6 from the field with five boards but only played 21 minutes because of foul trouble. The good news is that means Len will be rested for his rubber match with Mason Plumlee (each dominated the other at home), but it should be concerning to Maryland fans and NBA GMs that Len looked soft against a tough but undersized Wake Forest frontline. He needs to dominate those match-ups, not disappear in them.
Quotable: “I don’t read the newspapers or the internet and that’s the truth, and I don’t watch sports on TV except for games that I need to watch so I’ve never seen anything, have no clue about what’s being said, I don’t worry about things I don’t have any control over. I just do my job and what I know is this: We have built a really strong foundation without compromising any values or integrity at Wake Forest University and there is a very bright future.” — Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik on the media and fans’ criticisms of him.
What’s Next: The Terrapins take on Duke in the tie-breaker game Friday at 7:00 PM.