COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Still feeling the sting of a bitter defeat three days earlier, Maryland was not at its best against a Wake Forest squad still looking for its first win in February.
That is precisely why Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon was so delighted about his team’s 71-60 victory on Tuesday night.
Coming off a two-point setback at Duke on Saturday, Maryland fell behind early but bounced back to hand the Demon Deacons their sixth straight loss.
“It shows you we’re getting somewhere because we didn’t play particularly well throughout the game but we were still in control in the second half,” Turgeon said. “We’re coming.”
Nick Faust scored a career-high 20 points for the Terrapins (15-12, 7-7 Atlantic Coast Conference). Maryland began the game by missing 13 of its first 16 shots while falling behind 15-7.
“We didn’t have it early. It was pretty obvious,” Turgeon said.
Faust, a junior guard, went 7 for 11 from the floor and sank four 3-pointers. His previous career best was 19 points.
“We really didn’t want to say it, but (the Duke loss) was still there for us,” Faust said. “Coach spotted it early and just told us to come out with energy. But we really didn’t have it, so I just tried to do what I can off the bench and I really helped the team.”
Turgeon said, “Nick was terrific.”
Charles Mitchell contributed 12 points and Jake Layman added 11. Maryland has eight straight wins over Wake Forest, the longest run in a series that began in 1953 and will end after this season.
Travis McKie scored 16 for the Demon Deacons (14-12, 4-9) and Devin Thomas had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Wake Forest went 3 for 15 from 3-point range and 9 for 20 at the free throw line.
“I told our team that they’re trying to do the right thing, but we all just have to get a little bit better,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “This includes everyone on the team. I have to get a little better, and they do as well. If that happens, we will get a whole lot better.”
Wake Forest is winless since defeating Notre Dame on Jan. 25.
After successive baskets by Codi Miller-McIntyre got the Demon Deacons to 36-35, Maryland used a 16-3 run to pull away. Seth Allen started the surge with a 3-pointer, Evan Smotrycz added a layup and Faust connected from beyond the arc to make it 44-35.
Miller-McIntyre interrupted the run with a basket, but Layman responded with a 3-pointer. Soon after that, a layup by Maryland’s Roddy Peters and a three-point play by Smotrycz put the Terrapins ahead 52-38 with 11:07 remaining.
Wake cut it to 56-50 before Dez Wells scored four straight points to give the Terrapins a 10-point cushion with 2:54 left.
“They were just making shots,” McKie said. “We have to get better defensively, but the competitiveness was there.”
Unless the teams meet again in the ACC tournament, Big Ten-bound Maryland will finish with a 70-56 record against Wake Forest, including 39-18 at home.
The Demon Deacons looked sharp early, scoring 11 straight points while the Terrapins missed one shot after another. It was 23-19 before Faust and Layman hit successive 3-pointers and Mitchell made a layup to put Maryland in front for good.
“We all moved forward,” Turgeon said. “Mentally, we might have been a little fatigued. We know what lies ahead for us and what opportunities we have. Hopefully we can get through this one and just get our legs back underneath us, get mentally fresh and make a run down the stretch.”
Next up for the Terrapins: A home game against unbeaten and top-ranked Syracuse on Feb. 24.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)