GREENSBORO Wake Forest’s drought in the ACC tournament continues.
The Deacons, losers of six consecutive conference tournament games entering Thursday night’s contest against Maryland, dropped their seventh against the Terrapins 75-62 in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Maryland, paced by Dez Wells’ 21 points, overcame a five-point halftime deficit early in the second half. Then with five minutes remaining in the game, the No. 7-seeded Terrapins took their largest lead of the game at 64-56 and didn’t look back.
Wake Forest (13-18) didn’t help its case by not scoring a field goal from the 10:02 mark in the second half until 1:26 remained in the game.
After a missed free throw with less than six minutes remaining, Wells threw an outlet pass to Nick Faust, who sliced a defender but missed the layup. However, Pe’Shon Howard was there for the tip-in and his fifth straight point to put Maryland (21-11) up 61-56.
Faust then stripped Harris of the ball on a fast break, and on the other end Charles Mitchell collected a missed 3-pointer, made a bucket and drew the foul to give Maryland an eight-point lead.
Maryland finished the game shooting 46.7 from the field in the second half compared to Wake’s 36.4, down from its 47-percent performance in the first half.
The Deacons held a 35-30 lead at halftime thanks in large part to C.J. Harris’ 13 points. Harris, the lone scholarship senior on Jeff Bzdelik’s squad, did what he could to ensure it wouldn’t be his last game as a Deacon.
The senior committed to Wake Forest when it was ranked No. 1 in the nation, but he spent his entire career with a club that went to the NCAA tournament once and won just one postseason game.
Harris shot the ball 11 times in the first half to lead all scorers. He finished with 19, going 3 for 8 from 3-point range.
Harris drove especially hard to the hoop in the second half. He had eight attempts from the free-throw line, getting six points.
Wake Forest continued to trouble the Terrapins defense with deft ball movement. Throughout the first half and occasionally in the second half, the Deacons would catch Maryland sleeping in the post and get easy baskets near the rim.
Some of Wake Forest’s success in the paint came when 7-foot-1 center Alex Len sat on the bench with foul trouble. He played just eight first-half minutes and had just three points and one rebound.
But less than a minute into the second half, Wake Forest had already lost its five-point lead. Two free throws by Faust and four points by Wells gave the Terps their first lead since the seven-minute mark of the first half.
Wells had 23 and 11 points in the two regular-season meetings between the teams. At Maryland the Deacons lost by 26 and they fell at home to the Terps 67-57.
Wake Forest hasn’t won an ACC tournament game since 2007. The Deacons’ last tournament win came in a double-overtime victory against Georgia Tech, which happened to be the late coach Skip Prosser’s final win with Wake Forest.