Late first-half run provided momentum for Wake
When the officials stopped play for a television timeout with 7:53 remaining in the first half of the Maryland-Wake Forest game on Tuesday night, the Terrapins possessed their largest lead of the night -- eight points -- and to that point had dictated the flow of the game.
Although Maryland faced a significant size disadvantage for the second time in as many ACC games, the Terrapins compensated by having their guards reinforce their defensive presence in the lane in the first half. Maryland was afforded such an opportunity because Wake Forest does not possess many long-range threats. The Demon Deacons entered the game shooting 33 percent from three-point range.
Out of that TV timeout, though, the Demon Deacons began to wrestle control of the game's pace away from the Terrapins. After a few quick possessions by both squads, Wake Forest guard Gary Clark scored on a fast break, and for the rest of the half the tempo remained elevated. Advantage: Wake Forest.
Clark’s basket sparked a 15-4 Wake Forest run that put the Demon Deacons back in front. Leading the charge for Wake Forest was shooting guard C.J. Harris, who has been named ACC freshman of the week on four occasions this season. Harris, considered one of his team’s best long-range shooters, made 3 of 3 attempts from beyond the arc and tallied 13 points in the final eight minutes of the first half. He had been shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range entering the game.
Forced to abandon the defensive strategy that had served it so well in the early going, Maryland’s guards pushed out and monitored the perimeter more tightly. Consequently, Wake Forest found rebounds and drives into the lane easier to come by as first half wound down. The Terrapins trailed by three at halftime.
Despite a few defensive assignment changes by the Terrapins, Wake Forest was able to continue pushing the pace for much of the second half. Maryland tallied 15 turnovers, which contributed to Wake Forest scoring 18 fast break points.
Harris was a non-factor in the second half (he finished with 18 points) and Wake Forest ended up shooting 33.3 percent (5 for 15) from three-point range. But the Demon Deacons, led by incendiary guard Ishmael Smith, were able to run the floor more effectively than Maryland for much of the night. That's not a problem that Maryland has on most nights, but it certainly was the case against Wake Forest.
January 13, 2010; 11:51 AM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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