No. 10 W. Forest again pulls rank on Terps, 88-64

February 18, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Just before the Maryland Terrapins took the floor for the last test of a three-game Top 10 stretch, guard Kevin McLinton gathered his teammates in a runway for a brief pep talk before facing No. 10 Wake Forest.

"We came close against Florida State," said McLinton, whose Terps also had fallen to North Carolina four days before that. "Let's go out there and get this one."

After playing close for a half, what the Terps got was hammered as the Demon Deacons shot 62.9 percent in the final 20 minutes and led by as many as 28 points on their way to an 88-64 win before 9,061 at Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum.

The hottest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake Forest (17-4, 8-3) won for the ninth time in its past 10 games. Maryland (10-12, 1-11) lost its seventh in a row -- six of them against Top 25 teams.

"In the league everybody goes through that stretch -- this was just our turn," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "It's just nice to get the time off now and rest for N.C. State."

The Terps will have a full week to shake off their worst loss since a 105-85 defeat at Florida State on Jan. 13. During the previous five games against Top 25 teams, the Terps could find something to build on -- especially Saturday's 87-84 loss to then No. 10 Florida State. But, after going into the second half trail

ing by just three last night, Maryland was run completely off the floor.

"It just seems like we're scared to win," McLinton said. "We played well in the first half, but then all of a sudden we're down by 20 points."

Rodney Rogers has dished out the punishment in the Demon Deacons' recent run that has included wins over North Carolina and Duke, but it was a couple of lesser known Wake Forest players who sparked the decisive second-half run.

Guard Marc Blucas, starting because of an injury to starting point guard Charlie Harrison, scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half and center Derrick Hicks, who had scored in double figures just twice this season, scored a career-high 18 -- 14 in the second half.

"It's a team effort," said Rogers, who did finish with a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds. "Everybody's playing great ball right now."

Although Rogers scored just two field goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half, his mere presence gave Blucas and Hicks scoring opportunities. With the guards sagging off the perimeter to shadow Rogers, Blucas hit two long jumpers early in the second half that helped increase a 36-33 halftime lead to 49-38.

Then, after Maryland pulled to within 49-41 following a three-pointer by Exree Hipp, Hicks, with Evers Burns playing off him to help with Rogers, scored 10 points during a 22-11 run that blew the game open at 71-52.

"That was the strategy, he hadn't been shooting well," Williams said of Hicks, who missed his first five shots, but hit eight of his next nine. "We tried to get whoever was playing him as a rover. It worked the first half, until Hicks got warmed up."

It's a gamble you have to take against a player like Rogers, a 6-foot-7, 252-pounder who had a career-high 35 points against Duke Saturday.

Quiet the first part of the second half, the junior did give the fans a show during a three-minute stretch later in which he scored nine points on a three-pointer, a field goal and two thunderous dunks.

"If my teammates do a good job of getting the ball to me, I have to reward them by putting it in the basket," said Rogers, who got three quick fouls on freshman Mario Lucas during a 15-point first half.

Hitting 13 of 19 shots, Rogers

continued a torrid streak in which he has hit 70.6 percent (65 of 92) his past six games.

"Wake has done a good job putting this team together," Williams said. "Wake Forest got their transition game going in the second half, and we couldn't stop them."

Much to the disappointment of McLinton, who desperately wants to end his career on an up note. Now two games under .500, with just one ACC win with four league games to go, the final stretch is crucial for a Maryland team that could gain an NIT berth with a respectable finish.

"This is disgusting," McLinton said. "We feel we're a better team than we've shown. But it's hard to say the way we're losing."

ACC standings

.. .. .. .. .. .. Conf. .. .. Overall

.. .. .. .. .. .. W .. .. L .. .. W .. .. L .. .. Pct.

N.Carolina ... .. 10 . .. 2 .. .. 21 . .. 3 .. .. .875

Florida St. .. .. 10 . .. 2 .. .. 20 . .. 6 .. .. .769

Wake Forest .. ... 8 . .. 3 .. .. 17 . .. 4 .. .. .810

Duke ... .. .. ... 7 . .. 4 .. .. 19 . .. 4 .. .. .826

Virginia .. .. ... 7 . .. 4 .. .. 15 . .. 5 .. .. .750

Georgia Tech . ... 5 . .. 6 .. .. 13 . .. 8 .. .. .619

Clemson ... .. ... 2 . .. 9 .. .. 12 . .. 9 .. .. .571

N.C. State ... ... 1 . . 10 .. ... 7 . . 14 .. .. .333

Maryland .. .. ... 1 . . 11 .. .. 10 . . 12 .. .. .455

Yesterday's results

Wake Forest 88, Maryland 64

Florida State 72, N.C. State 71

North Carolina 80, Clemson 67

Georgia Tech 65, Richmond 60

Today's game

Duke at Virginia, 9

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