When the buzzer finally sounded yesterday and Maryland had beaten Wake Forest, 93-76, to end a 16-game losing streak against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, the Terrapins looked to share their joy with the people who had shared their frustrations.
There was no riotous celebration, but the crowd of 13,910 in Cole Field House realized this victory had been a long time coming and yelled accordingly. Mostly unnoticed, second-year coach Bob Wade, beaming after his first conference triumph, went to his wife Carolyn for a hug just off the court.
"She is very supportive and has always been there," Wade said. "I was glad she was able to get her frustrations out. I was happy and I was happy for her, because it's not just Bob Wade, it's the Wades. That's why I went right to her because I knew she was on pins and needles the last few minutes. It seemed like that clock would never run out."
The Terrapins (8-2, 1-0 in the ACC) got a team-high 21 points from senior Derrick Lewis as seven players scored in double figures. They built a 12-point halftime lead, then hit their first six shots of the second half to break open the game against a Wake Forest team that seemed badly outmanned.
The Terrapins' last victory over an ACC opponent was in the first round of the 1985-86 ACC tournament, when they beat North Carolina, 85-75. Last year, they lost all 15 ACC games (14 in the regular season and their first-round tournament contest) and finished 9-17 overall. Wake Forest had ended a 24-game conference losing streak by beating Maryland last season in the teams' first meeting.
Yesterday, guard Steve Hood smiled from ear to ear and wrapped an arm around the shoulder of fellow sophomore Teyon McCoy. The two of them, recruited by former coach Lefty Driesell, were newcomers last fall when Wade took over.
"Teyon and I went through some hard times," said Hood, who, like McCoy, is mainly a shooting guard. "Together, we showed that, no matter who is playing, we're happy for each other."
"Steve and I were the two freshmen coming in," McCoy said, "and it was all downhill because we lost every ACC game. We lost, lost and kept losing. We never experienced the feeling of winning. This is our first win and it's a good feeling."
The Demon Deacons weren't thrilled about having the tables turned, but they understood.
"I know they feel good about their first conference win," said sophomore David Carlyle, who had 17 points. "We were real excited last year."
Lewis, who had eight rebounds, said the victory shed baggage that would have weighed down the Terrapins as they progressed through the league.
"It gets the pressure off," said Lewis, who was seven of 12 from the field, including one of two from three-point range, and six of nine from the free throw line. "A lot of people said we should win this game . . . Now that the pressure is off, we can go about our business of playing the rest of the ACC."
The Terrapins would do well to play the rest of the league like they did the Demon Deacons (4-6). Hood broke a 10-10 tie with a three-point play with 12:50 left in the first half and Maryland never trailed after that.
The Terrapins twice led by 12 in the first half. They took a 41-29 lead to the locker room after Dave Dickerson scored on a follow shot with five seconds left.
The Terrapins hit their first six shots of the second half to push the lead to 56-40, but Wake Forest answered with seven straight to slice the margin to 56-47 with 13:01 left. But that was as close as the Demon Deacons got. Hood hit one of his three three-point shots to end the Demon Deacons' run.
Then in a 2 1/2-minute span Lewis scored six points and Dickerson hit a jumper from the corner to push the Maryland lead to 67-51. And when Hood hit another three-pointer with 6:55 left, the lead was 74-55 and the outcome all but settled.
Tony Massenburg had 15 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, and Brian Williams and Hood had 12 points, Dickerson 11 and Rudy Archer and McCoy 10.
The Demon Deacons tried a 2-3 zone at the start, but Maryland was able to pick it apart. "We thought that would be appropriate because we wanted to pack it in," said Sam Ivy, who led Wake Forest with 18 points. "But they found the open gaps and got inside."
Williams had 10 of his 12 points in the first half and Massenburg had eight in the first 20 minutes. "We moved the ball real well," Massenburg said. "If you make sharp, crisp passes against a 2-3, sooner or later something is going to be open."
Wake Forest Coach Bob Staak said he thought Maryland could compete with the top teams in the ACC, though he added the disclaimer that the Terrapins have yet to test themselves on the road. "They've got a good mix and they should be able to do it," Staak said.
The Terrapins will play Missouri Wednesday night in Columbia, Mo. They may or may not have Cedric Lewis, Keith Gatlin and Rodney Walker. Wade said Lewis, who sat out his third straight game with the flu, would be examined by a doctor again Monday.
As for Gatlin and Walker, Wade still is waiting for their first semester grades before making a decision. "The offices open Monday and we will try to get the information I need," Wade said . . .
DeMatha's Jerrod Mustaf, who has narrowed his list of prospective colleges to Maryland, Howard and Georgia Tech, watched the game with his parents at a courtside table. WAKE FOREST Min FG FT R A PF T Carlyle 37 6-13 4-4 5 5 1 17 Ivy 33 8-14 2-2 9 0 2 18 Kitley 33 4-7 2-4 7 0 4 10
Halftime: Maryland, 41-29.
Three-point goals: Wake Forest 8-21 (Carlyle 1-5, Boyd 4-6, Black 1-5, Johnson 1-4, Ray 1-1); Maryland 7-14
A -- 13,910.