It was no secret that depth-challenged
But then came the
Maryland responded to the postseason with its most energetic and complete game of the season on Thursday, piling up assists and using fast breaks effectively in an 82-60 victory over
The eighth-seeded Terps — led by Terrell Stoglin (25 points) and Nick Faust (career-high 19 points) — now move into the quarterfinals against top-seeded
Maryland will enter the North Carolina game coming off its largest victory margin of the season. It was also Maryland's most lopsided ACC tournament victory since a 2002 game against Florida State.
The Wake Forest game came at a time when the Terps and coach
"We were really disappointed at the way we ended the [regular] season, so this is huge," Turgeon said. "This has been a great day — a great day — for Maryland basketball. I can't talk about everything, but it's been a great day for us."
Turgeon was referring not only to the victory but to the recruitment of power forward Charles Mitchell, who tweeted that he would be in "a Maryland uniform next year."
Maryland (17-14) seemed to reinvent itself against the Demon Deacons (13-18). Most of Maryland's big plays resulted from passes, and the Terps recorded 18 assists — their high this season in a conference game.
Stoglin, the ACC's leading scorer, was particularly efficient, shooting 8-for-14 to go with seven rebounds and four assists. "Coach was talking to me on the plane about being a better teammate," Stoglin said. "I just thank God I showed it today — showing the passing, the rebounding. I'm just going to continue to do that and try to get better."
Stoglin's 25 points were the most by a Terp in the ACC tournament since John Gilchrist's 30 points in 2004. Faust's 19 were the most for a Maryland freshman in the tournament since Laron Profit scored 19 against
Interviewed in Maryland's locker room, Stoglin reiterated that he is likely to return for his junior season rather than enter the
It was the first ACC tournament for freshmen Faust (City) and center Alex Len, who both started and played well. Len started for only the second time in more than a month.
"We talked about just dialing in and also having fun," Turgeon said.
Said Faust: "It's what you come to Maryland for — the big stage, the big plays, the big games. When I was little I definitely watched these [tournaments]."
Maryland has now advanced to at least the second day in each of the past four ACC tournaments. Last year, Maryland beat
Maryland led just 36-31 at the half. But a scoring burst keyed by Stoglin and Faust soon pushed the advantage over 20 points.
A Stoglin 3-pointer pushed the lead to 10 and his three free throws made it 46-33. Moments later, another Stoglin 3 upped the margin to 49-35.
Faust then started a highlight play, passing from beyond the arc in to Len, who dunked and was fouled. Faust stopped and shouted in celebration near midcourt, pumping his arms as Len's free throw gave Maryland a 52-35 lead.
The Terps "did a good job of getting the ball into the middle of the zone," said C.J. Harris, Wake Forest's junior guard.
The game was enjoyed by a sizable contingent of red-clad Maryland fans sitting behind one of the baselines.
Maryland had won an earlier meeting with Wake Forest, 70-64, at
Turgeon has said the Terps like to run whenever they can. They had 18 fast break points to Wake Forest's seven. "We run on misses and we got stops — long rebounds — and we were able to get some easy ones," Turgeon said.
As weary as Maryland was at the end of the regular season, Wake Forest — which also lacks depth — appeared spent as well. The Deacons played again Thursday without suspended big man Ty Walker, who blocked eight shots in the teams' first meeting.
"They didn't have a lot of subs," Turgeon said. "I was trying to be a little bit deeper than them in the first half and try to wear their guys down."