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Wake Forest staves off Maryland

Mar 4, 2009 - 7:01 AM COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- Wake Forest came up big in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash on Tuesday.

The 10th-ranked Demon Deacons downed the Terps, 65-63, as they dominated the boards, swatted 10 shots and held Maryland scoreless over a key five-minute span in the second half..

Four Wake Forest players had two blocks apiece as it limited Maryland to 39 percent shooting from the floor (25-of-63). The Demon Deacons also enjoyed a 50-32 advantage on the boards.

"I thought it was a really hard-fought and hard-played game," coach Dino Gaudio said. "I thought our kids did a terrific job in the second half and on the backboard. We had 19 offensive rebounds and outrebounded them, 50-32. It was a good win on the road, and those kids showed a lot of heart and character."

Maryland coach Gary Williams understood that Wake's domination off the boards went a long way to its victory.

"We got inside a couple times, but they blocked everything," Williams said. "Every time we got it in there, it seemed they just swatted it away."

The game remained tight and the Demon Deacons needed four free throws by Jeff Teague in the final 35 seconds to come away with the victory.

Teague led Wake Forest (23-5, 10-5) with 17 points. Al-Farouq Aminu had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Ishmael Smith scored 11 points off the bench.

Maryland (18-11, 7-8) was paced by Dave Neal with 19 points and Grevis Vasquez with 16.

"He was really good early on in the game," Gaudio said. "Holding that kid to 16 points on 24 shots is pretty good. After that initial burst from him, I thought we did a pretty good job."

Vasquez found Neal for a 3-point shot in the final second to make the contest appear tighter than it was.

"He made some big shots for us, that's for sure," Williams said.

"Dave's one of the keys to this team, in terms of what effort they give. You see the games, but every day in practice, it's there. Dave does what he can and, from a coaching standpoint, that's terrific that a guy uses what he has to be as good a player as he can be. That's what Dave's done this year."

Coincidentally, Vazquez had found Neal with three seconds left in the first half for a shot from long distance that gave Maryland a 32-25 lead at the break.

"If you want to be a good team, you have to be able to come back like that," Teague said. "We've got to stay together on the road. We stayed together and we played hard, and it all paid of for us."

Wake Forest wasn't deterred by Neal's late shot in the first half and came out with a 16-5 tear in the second half to move in front 41-37 on Aminu's 3-point shot.

Maryland didn't go away, using its own 17-7 run to surge ahead 54-48 with 7:45 left on Dino Gregory's layup.

However, Wake went on an 11-0 run, which saw Teague score five points, to take the lead for good. Ishmael Smith's 3-point shot made it 55-54 with 4:35 left.

Maryland went through a five-minute dry spell before Landon Milbourne hit a jumper to make it 59-56 with 2:34 left.

The Terps closed within 59-58 before Wake scored six straight points to ice the game.

"The resiliency of our team was unbelievable," Smith said. "Coach Williams did a great job of changing defenses on us, and it kind of put us outside of our offense. But we made some big shots down the stretch and got the win."