COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Playing against a Wake Forest team that has provided the opposition with plenty of positive moments this season, Maryland got a feel-good win for itself and a milestone victory for coach Gary Williams.
Jordan Williams had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Maryland defeated the lowly Demon Deacons 91-70 Saturday.
Coming off an 18-point home loss to Duke, the Terrapins were in desperate need of a confidence-building win. That’s exactly what they got against Wake Forest, the last-place team in Atlantic Coast Conference.
“This was a must-win game,” senior Adrian Bowie said. “We had to win by any means necessary. If we had to dive in the crowd or jump on the floor, we’d have done it.”
Gary Williams said: “I think guys were hungry to play today.”
Maryland (15-8, 5-4) took control before halftime with a pair of 11-point runs, then pulled away in the second half by scoring 13 straight points.
It was the 664th win for Gary Williams, tying him with Hall of Fame coach John Wooden for 22nd on the career list among those who have coached in Division I for at least 10 years. Williams coached at American, Boston College and Ohio State before returning to his alma mater in 1989.
Williams spoke with reverence about Wooden, recalling how the esteemed UCLA coach “glamorized the game” and “kind of set the table for the guys that followed him.”
When asked to convey his feelings about matching Wooden on the career wins list, Williams said, “He coached like 27 or 28 years and this is my 33rd, so I guess he had a few more seasons with a few more wins than me.”
That doesn’t mean Gary Williams doesn’t deserve to be tied with Wooden at 664.
“That’s a remarkable accomplishment,” Jordan Williams said.
“Coach Williams is an unbelievable coach, unbelievable teacher, unbelievable leader. I’m not surprised he’s in that same tier with John Wooden and all the coaching greats. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Jordan Williams led the Terps with his NCAA-best 20th double-double of the season, Bowie scored 13 and freshman Pe’Shon Howard had nine points and eight assists.
C.J. Harris led Wake Forest with 17 points and Carson Desrosiers added 11. The Demon Deacons (8-15, 1-7) have lost 10 of 12 overall, are 0-7 on the road and have lost seven games by at least 20 points.
“I’m optimistic,” Harris said. “Throughout games we shows signs of what we can be. If we just put together a full game, you would be surprised as to what can happen.”
Wake Forest trailed only 60-50 midway through the second half before Williams and Bowie each made two free throws. Williams followed with a dunk and Cliff Tucker drilled a 3-pointer to start the Terrapins on a 13-point run that made it 73-50 with 7:22 to go.
“We got it within 10, but we broke down,” Harris noted.
“That was a key time of the game,” Gary Williams said. “We had to respond.”
The Terrapins forced 10 turnovers to claim a 42-30 halftime lead.
Maryland missed seven of its first eight shots and trailed 4-3 before Williams made two straight layups to launch an 11-0 run that put the Terrapins ahead for good. Bowie contributed a 3-pointer to the surge.
The game was nearly nine minutes old before Maryland committed its first turnover. By that time, the Terrapins had already scored five points following four Wake Forest giveaways.
The Demon Deacons closed to 17-13 and 24-19 but couldn’t sustain the momentum. A layup by Williams, a 3-pointer by Howard and a jumper by Terrell Stoglin started another 11-0 spree that made it 35-19.
Maryland made five 3-pointers in the first half, exceeding its total in the previous two games combined. The Terrapins finished 8 of 17 from beyond the arc.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)