Terps Muscle Past Wake Forest, 71-64
#21 Greivis Vasquez dribbles around a player and up the lane against the Wake Forest defense in the first half of Maryland's game against Wake Forest on January 15, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md -- Maryland rallied around the cheers of a hometown crowd to overcome the stigma of a 0-2 record in conference play and defeated the Demon Deacons 71-64. In spite of a grim start where they fell behind 7 - 0 after missing four shots and causing one unforced turnover, Maryland defeated Wake Forest to notch their first conference victory of the season. With a little less than three minutes off the clock Adrian Bowie, who had seen little playing time until tonight, hit two back to back jumpers. Unfortunately, that spark didn't set the Terps in motion. The two plays that followed resulted in two Maryland turnovers and the Demon Deacons quickly pulled ahead 13 - 4. Coach Gary Williams said, "In those first few minutes of the game we were really fighting the whole way."

But Maryland wouldn't give up that easily. Gary applauded the leadership of senior James Gist who rallied the team. "James was really upset in the huddle and that's what you need from your seniors." James' comments must have spurred on the team because shortly after they went on a 9 - 0 run tying the game at 13 - 13.  Maryland took the lead for good with 9:28 left in the first half.

Maryland outshot Wake Forest 26 - 75 (34.7%) to 24 - 52 (46.2%), but the real story was in the Demon Deacon shot selection. Wake Forest converted on only 5 of 30 3-pointers (16.7%). Comparatively Maryland shot 4 - 14 (28.6%). The noise of the Terrapin fans, as well as the defensive performance by Bombale Osby and James Gist shut down the Wake Forest offense forcing 2 delay-of-game turnovers.

The Terps performed well in the second half, shooting 12-24 (50%) from field goal range and 2-6 (33.3%) from beyond the arc.  Maryland managed to extend the lead to 13 points in the second half, but Wake Forest closed the gap in the closing 3 minutes, clawing to within 5 points.  With memories of Virginia Tech fresh in their minds the Terrapins focused on sharp ball handling and protected the lead to win 71-64.

Throughout the game fans cheered for Adrian Bowie, a rising star on the Maryland team who played 32 minutes in Eric Hayes absence. Bowie ran the point on a number of plays that provided shooting opportunities for Greivis Vasquez. Although Vasquez led all players with 22 points, it was Adrian Bowie who fans were applauding. With 14 minutes left to go in the second half Bowie was fouled after stealing the ball off an inbounds pass. He missed both free throws but managed to recover the ball off the second miss. He was fouled again and returned to the line to shoot. This time he made both attempts. Adrian Bowie entered the game off the bench and scored 8 points, and Osby delivered 6 points (all off field goals).  The Terrapin bench combined for 26 points in the first half compared to Wake Forest's 7.

When asked about Adrian after the game Coach Williams said, "Eric (Hayes) was averaging 35 minutes a game so you have to get those minutes from somewhere. Adrian just keeps coming along. He just gives a little bit more energy out there right now. We're still working on some things with Adrian, but I think he's got a chance. He's proven that he's got a chance to be a very good player in our program as time goes by."

The Terrapin men now head south to arguably the most difficult game of the season for the young squad: North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Roy William's squad has been unstoppable this season, and the Terrapins look to rise to the occasion for the match.  The game can be viewed at 3:30pm on ABC.