Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Reeling Terps look to end skid vs. Wake

Three games remain in Maryland's regular season, and they're becoming the most important games of the year for the reeling Terrapins.

They're back on the road today to face Wake Forest, a team against which they've had recent success. But Maryland (19-9, 7-8 ACC) can't seem to figure out its road woes, and because of that the Terps have fallen to sixth in the conference standings.

And all but out of the NCAA tournament hunt.

Maryland is 1-6 on the road this year, but the Terps have beaten the Demon Deacons (12-15, 5-10) five straight times including a 86-60 drubbing Feb. 2 at Comcast Center.

Their latest road loss came Wednesday at Georgia Tech, a 78-68 setback in which they were outrebounded for the third time all year and struggled on defense against the Yellow Jackets.

"We need to find ways to defend teams," freshman forward Shaquille Cleare told reporters after the game. "We need to play better. It's tough losing on the road, but to be a great team, you have to win on the road."

Maryland's next task is trying to beat a Wake squad that has lost seven of its last nine games.

The Demon Deacons have a potent inside-outside combo on offense in senior guard C.J. Harris and junior forward Travis McKie. Harris leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game (seventh in the ACC) while McKie averages 14.2.

In the first meeting against Wake, Maryland shot 74 percent in the first half and finished at 67.3 percent - the fifth-best mark in program history - with six players in double figures. One of those players was sophomore Dez Wells, who had only one other double-digit performance before dropping 15 on Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Wells shot 60 percent (6 for 10) and had four assists against the Yellow Jackets one game after struggling against Clemson (1 for 6 from the field, four points). He's averaging 15.8 points on 57.6 percent shooting in road games this year.

Wells (11.6 ppg) and fellow sophomore Alex Len (12.3 ppg, tops on the team) likely need to factor into Maryland's offensive plans today if the Terrapins want to halt their road problems and gather some momentum with North Carolina coming to College Park on Wednesday.

"Home and road, I don't know," Terps coach Mark Turgeon told reporters after the game. "If I had an answer, I would fix it. I do think we tried hard. We just didn't play very smart."