There was Maryland Coach Charles G. Driesell, interrupting his celebration of the Terrapins' first Atlantic Coast Conference basketball win this season by climbing the railings of Cole Field House and furiously going after a heckler, then stalking back to his finally victorious locker room.
Last night's 77-55 victory over Wake Forest might have made Driesell a little giddy. It broke a five-game losing streak and gave the Terrapins (11-8, 1-6) their first league victory after going 0-6, their worst start since the 1968-69 season.
The Terrapins came out hungry for a win over a lesser opponent and took full advantage of a last-place Wake Forest team that is on an eight-game losing streak and beset by injuries and the loss of two players for personal reasons. Maryland built a 34-17 halftime lead and led by as much as 26 in the second half as Len Bias scored a game-high 21 points.
So it was that the 54-year-old Driesell leaped over a railing and into the stands to go chest to chest with the heckler who had taunted him at just the wrong moment, apparently with the words, " . . . you're still in seventh place in the ACC."
Before a lingering crowd of 11,950, Driesell stormed up the steps and held a lengthy, red-faced discussion with the unknown fan, until the coach was calmed by assistant Oliver Purnell and returned to the dressing room amid scattered cheers.
"I ain't a-scared of anybody," Driesell said afterward. "Some guy cussed me, some guy who wanted to get his name in the papers. I said I'd knock his teeth out.
"I said, 'Go on and push me, and we'll get after it. You start it and I'll finish it.' I'm not afraid of anybody. I'm not that old yet."
The game wasn't quite as interesting as the altercation, but it did provide the Terrapins with a measure of relief and an outlet for their frustration after losing four of six ACC games to top-five teams. They had dropped close games to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 3 Georgia Tech and had been beaten by No. 5 Duke twice. Their last victory had come over Randolph Macon on Jan. 7.
The Terrapins ran up their halftime lead by outscoring the Demon Deacons (6-14, 0-8) by 17-6 in the final eight minutes of the period, holding Wake Forest scoreless for a 5:40 stretch during that time. Maryland's biggest lead came with 12:21 remaining in the game on six straight points, when Terry Long, Tom (Speedy) Jones and Tony Massenburg all hit in succession. Massenburg's baseline jumper gave the Terrapins a 54-28 margin.
Maryland managed to spread the scoring around for once, something it had seemed incapable of during its losing streak. Giving all-America forward Bias support were freshman guard John Johnson with 15 points and guard Jeff Baxter with 14.
The Terrapins shot 73 percent from the field; Wake Forest managed just 23 percent. Point guard Keith Gatlin, returning from a one-game absence with back spasms, had 11 assists and forward Derrick Lewis, who did not take a single shot, had a game-high nine rebounds.
In earlier games, the Terrapins had displayed a damaging inability to put two good halves together and often had found themselves facing large deficits at halftime. But their lead at intermission last night, their first in four games, seemed to spark them.
"That was a new feeling," Baxter said. "We were elated to have the lead and we just wanted to keep it going."
After Maryland built its 26-point second-half lead, Wake Forest never came closer than 15 again. The Demon Deacons, who have suffered a number of recent miseries that range from injuries to the sudden departures of two players and were down to a roster of eight at one point, were led by 5-3 guard Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues with 15 points and six assists.
"Our overall performance was better in the second half," first-year Wake Forest Coach Bob Staak said. "But we're hardly the type of team that can play one half and expect to be in the game."
The Terrapins' victory provided them with something of a rest before taking to the road for what should be a difficult two games but also could be an opportunity to salvage their so-far disappointing season. They meet Villanova Saturday, then go to South Bend, Ind., to meet 16th-ranked Notre Dame Monday.
"This is the type of week that can turn it around," Baxter said. "We win three games and we're right back in the middle of everything." Gallaudet 90, Washington Bible 54
David Hamilton had 28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocked shots as the Bison (7-9) won at Gallaudet Field House.