Terps Snap Out Of Funk

Search and Rescue team members look through debris at a home in Eagle Pass, Wednesday, April 25, 2007, after a tornado swept through the area on Tuesday.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
Happy or relieved?

Juan Dixon wasn't sure how to answer as No. 17 Maryland ended its recent slide with a 73-57 victory over No. 23 Wake Forest on Saturday.

"We haven't had this feeling in the locker room in a long time," said Dixon, who had 17 points and four steals in Maryland's most convincing victory since mid-January. "We just wanted to go out there and have fun like we did last year. We had to be hungry."

Lonny Baxter scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Terrapins outscored Wake Forest 40-20 inside.

"They lived inside of 3 feet all day long, and combine that with the fact that we lived at 30 feet, that's a bad combination," Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said.

The No. 23 Demon Deacons (17-8, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) had no answer for Baxter inside or Maryland's zone defense. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Baxter was 9-for-15 from the field while Wake Forest shot a season-low 31.5 percent.

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  • Maryland (16-9, 7-6) had lost three straight and five of six, but avoided its worst losing streak since 1994, improving to 2-6 against ranked teams. Both of those wins have come over the Demon Deacons.

    Dixon said the last two weeks have been rough on the team.

    "We had our own fans booing us at home," Dixon said. "That's not a good thing. They can boo us all they want now, but we're going to win for the people inside this locker room, our little family."

    "It has been difficult," Maryland coach Gary Williams added. "We've been conscious of not playing well, conscious of missing shots that we made early in the year. It's hard to put that aside and play a team as good as Wake Forest."

    Wake Forest started the second half with a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the gamebut it was short-lived as Maryland made 10 of its first 14 shots, scoring on nine straight possessions to take control.

    While the Terrapins were hot on offense, their zone defense was giving the Demon Deacons all kind of trouble. Wake Forest had problems at point guard starter Ervin Murray played just two minutes because of sore knees, and Broderick Hicks was saddled with foul trouble most of the game.

    Maryland went up by 12 midway through the second period as Steve Blake, who had taken just one shot prior, hit a 15-footer and a 3-pointer for a 57-45 lead.

    Wake Forest closed to nine with 8:07 left, but managed just seven points the rest of the way as Blake scored on a driving layup and Baxter made a pair of buckets as Maryland handed Wake Forest its sixth loss in eight games against ranked teams.

    "They were a team clearly on a mission today," Odom said of the Terrapins, who shot 57 percent in the second half. "Obviously, they fulfilled it.

    "To be able to handle the ball the way they handled it at the speed they played at it was flawless," Odom added. "The interior passing was absolutely splendid. I can't remember the last time one of our teams was taken apart inside like we were taken apart."

    Hicks led the Demon Deacons with 14.

    The Wake Forest student section greeted Maryland with the Florida State war chant, mocking the Terrapins, who had lost to the lowly Seminoles 74-71 at home Wednesday night.

    Dixon said a Wake Forest player, who he refused to identify, came up to him prior to the game and asked how the Terrapins could have lost to the Seminoles.

    "I told him you better worry about this game, you better worry about how you're not going to lose to Maryland," Dixon said.

    "Yeah, I heard it," Blake said of the chant. "That only made us play harder. If they want to make us play harder, that's their problem."

    Maryland jumped to a 12-point lead midway through the opening half by outscoring the Demon Deacons 16-2 in the paint as Baxter got a quick eight points.

    Wake Forest countered with a 15-5 run to pull to 30-28, but missed its last eight shots and ended up shooting 27.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

    It was the worst shooting half of the season for the Demon Deacons and their 57 points was a season low.

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