Winston-Salem, NC - Dez Wells scored 22 of his game-high 23 points on layups and a dunk as Maryland (20-9, 8-8 ACC) kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, defeating Wake Forest (12-16, 5-11 ACC) 67-57 on the Demon Deacons Senior Day and "Chris Paul Day," who returned for the retiring of his Black and Gold No. 3 jersey.
"Wells got some of his buckets in transition off those bad turnovers," Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Turning the ball over 18 times, leading to 20 points and he got some of those in the open court. He's a handful in the open court."
"When they've got some really talented three-point shooters like they do you really got to guard the ball. That was a big key going into this game is to take the personal challenge of guarding the ball. [We] needed to do that better with him in particular."
Wake defended the perimeter well, holding the Terrapins to a 3-14 effort from behind the arc. All of which came from the sharp-shooting Logan Aronhalt, who made 3-7 of his three-point attempts to finish with nine points.
The Deacs biggest problem came down low, as Maryland outscored Wake Forest 46-18 in the paint and claimed a 41-30 rebounding advantage despite Devin Thomas' efforts. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward from Harrisburg, Pa. scored 17 points and grabbed seven boards.
"I thought we were pretty good," Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. "The Thomas kid is unbelievable how tough he is and the will to win he has. I though Charles [Mitchell] was very physical and really helped us."
"I thought James [Padgett] in the first half before he got into foul trouble was physical. I thought Alex [Len] down the stretch protected the rim and got every rebound and it was just good to see."
Wake showed toughness when it scrapped its way back into the game from an eight-point second half deficit to take a 33-32 lead when C.J. Harris drove in for a fast-break dunk at the 15:13 mark. He finished with a team-high 19 points.
The lead did not last for long, as Maryland engineered a 27-16 scoring run to go up 59-49 with 5:24 remaining in regulation. However, the Demon Deacons trimmed it the Terrapins lead down to four twice, but were unable to get it lower.
"This was a hard-fought game," Bzdelik said. "We just needed to play better. We were standing a little too much offensively. For whatever reason we were frozen, and then we got moving and going in the second half better."
"But this team has great character. We have terrific young men. We had a great crowd, honoring our seniors and Chris [Paul]. We're disappointed we didn't play better. We have great resolve on this team, great heart on this team. It's like the little skirmish at the end there with Len and Devin, just clean, hard-fought game. Everybody just playing their hearts out. We just needed to play better. I'm really proud of my players, and we'll work hard to get better."