COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Every big-man stat went Wake Forest's way.
Rebounds: 50-32. Blocks: 10-3. Second-chance points: 20-6.
"Every time we got it in there," Maryland coach Gary Williams said, "it seemed they just swatted it away."
Size was everything Tuesday night for the No. 10 Demon Deacons in a 65-63 win over the Terrapins that moved Wake into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The visitors' usual sharp-shooting was absent for the second straight game, but the red paint in the Comcast Center lanes might as well have been painted gold and black.
The Demon Deacons, shooting an ACC-best 49.8 percent on the season entering the game, hit only 39.7 percent against the Terrapins. They led by only one with 1 minute to play, but James Johnson had a tip-in at one end and a block at the other to sway the momentum for good.
"We weren't making any layups or anything," said Jeff Teague, who scored 17 points to lead Wake.
Al-Farouq Aminu added 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (23-5, 10-5), who have won six of eight after dropping three of four. They close the regular season at home against Clemson on Sunday.
Dave Neal, Maryland's only senior, had a senior night to remember with a career-high 19 points, but the Terrapins failed to get another much-needed take-notice victory for the NCAA selection committee. Maryland (18-11, 7-8) will need to win its last game, on Saturday at Virginia, to finish .500 in the conference, an often-used litmus test for an NCAA tournament berth.
"We know what's at stake," said Neal, who made 5 of 6 3-pointers. "If we win this game, it puts us back to 8-8. In the past, if you're at 8-8 in the ACC and make a decent showing in the ACC tournament, you've got a pretty good chance to get back in the [NCAA] tournament."
Greivis Vasquez added 16 points for the Terrapins, but he shot only 7-for-24 from the field. On the eve of coach Williams' 64th birthday, Maryland couldn't quite beat a top-10 team for the third time this season. It didn't help that his tallest starter is 6-foot-7.
"We have to -- when we're against a team that size -- use our speed," Williams said. "And we just didn't seem to have it there for a while."
And Wake ruled the congested paint with just the right touch. Maryland took only two free throws in the entire game -- a pair by Sean Mosley with 14:42 left in the second half.
Maryland, which had won four straight over the Demon Deacons, led by 11 late in the first half and by seven at halftime, but Wake opened the second half with a 16-5 run and went to a 1-3-1 zone that stymied the Terrapins' attack. Maryland shot only 34 percent in the second half, and Vasquez was 2-for-11.
"The zone really bothered him," Teague said. "We hadn't played it before -- and nobody ever scouted or seen it."
But every time it seemed Wake Forest had Maryland figured out, the Demon Deacons would have a possession such as the one that produced Aminu's not-even-close air ball in the second half. The Terrapins rebounded and tied the game at 41 on Adrian Bowie's fast-break dunk.
Neal made three 3-pointers over a span of about 2 minutes as the Terrapins took a 54-48 lead. Students chanted his name during a timeout, but Wake Forest responded with a 9-0 run that included two 3-pointers and Teague's powerful one-handed flying dunk.
Johnson's tip-and-block sequence effectively sealed the deal as the game wound down. Teague then went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 35 seconds to give Wake a seven-point lead. Maryland made two jumpers in the final 10 seconds to account for the final margin.
Wake Forest played most of the game without center Chas McFarland, who limped off the court early in the game. He returned in the first half but played only 8 minutes and had his right knee heavily bandaged after the game.
"I'll be all right," the 7-footer said. "I felt like I could play in the second half. The trainer didn't want me to [play] because of the tournament coming up."