GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dez Wells scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half and Maryland beat pesky Wake Forest 75-62 on Thursday night in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Alex Len and Seth Allen added 11 points for the seventh-seeded Terrapins (21-11).They struggled for about 30 minutes against a Wake Forest team they previously beat twice by a combined 36 points.But they held the Demon Deacons without a field goal for a critical 8 1/2-minute stretch while using a late 24-8 run to pull away for their seventh straight win in the series. Maryland will face No. 2 Duke, the tournament's second seed, in the quarterfinals Friday night.C.J. Harris scored 19 points and Devin Thomas added 14 for the 10th-seeded Demon Deacons (13-18). They ended their season by losing 10 of 13 and were denied their first ACC tournament win since 2007.Still, Wake Forest led 52-51 on Madison Jones' layup off a pretty feed from Harris with just over 10 minutes left.But its offense disappeared after that. The Demon Deacons missed their next seven shots and had trouble converting consistently from the free-throw line, making just 4 of 10 foul shots during the stretch when the game got away from them. Wake Forest finished just 12 of 21 from the line.The Terps, meanwhile, were content to give Wake Forest those free throws in exchange for field goals -- mainly because they weren't missing them.Logan Aronhalt followed Jones' layup by hitting a 3-pointer that put Maryland up 54-52. After Harris tied it with two free throws, Len sent home an alley-oop dunk from Seth Allen to make it 56-54. Pe'Shon Howard scored five straight points for the Terps and they pulled away from there.Nick Faust and Howard each finished with 10 points for the Terrapins, who snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the first time since a 67-57 win over Wake Forest on March 2 in Winston-Salem.This marked Wells' second 20-point performance against the Demon Deacons. He hung 23 on them in that victory to spoil Chris Paul Day.Wake Forest entered 2-13 in road and neutral-site games and hadn't won anywhere but the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem since beating UNC Greensboro here on Dec. 22. But the Demon Deacons sure made themselves comfortable here early.Harris scored 13 points in the first 13 1/2 minutes, hitting two 3-pointers roughly 45 seconds apart during the 18-7 run that put Wake Forest up 29-22.But after Maryland opened the second half with a quick 9-2 spurt led by Wells, neither team led by more than three until the Terps' late run.---Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at (at)JoedyAP