WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said Tuesday that, when it comes to playing Maryland, his Demon Deacons "haven't found an answer to changing the rhythm of the game."
They found the answer last night at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum -- barely.
It wasn't senior All-America guard Randolph Childress, who continued to have his shooting problems against the Terrapins. It wasn't sophomore center Tim Duncan, who got into early foul trouble.
It was reserve guard Tony Rutland.
Rutland, who recently was taken out of the starting lineup while spending time with his cancer-stricken mother, scored a career-high 19 points to lead the 14th-ranked Demon Deacons to a 63-54 upset of No. 7 Maryland.
But it didn't come easily. With Wake Forest leading by as many as 12 points midway through the second half, and by 58-47 with 6:53 remaining, the Terps made a frantic comeback. They cut their deficit to 58-54 on a pair of free throws by Duane Simpkins with 3:36 to go.
After missing two chances to get closer, the Terps saw their final opportunity disappear when Johnny Rhodes had a pass swiped by Travis Banks. Childress was fouled and made both free throws. Wayne Bristol then was called for a double dribble -- the Terps' 19th turnover -- and Childress put the game away with a layup.
"We feel very fortunate, very lucky to have won the basketball game," Odom said. "We caught Maryland on what was certainly not their best night."
The loss dropped Maryland (19-5, 9-3) out of a first-place tie with North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It also was the first for the Terps against Wake Forest (16-5, 7-4) since the 1992-93 season.
All-American Joe Smith led the Terps with 17 points. Simpkins, with 10, was the only other Terp in double figures on a night that Maryland shot only 19-for-56 (34 percent) from the field.
"It's a tough loss, but at the same time, we knew it was going to be tough," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "Hopefully we'll regroup for Cincinnati Sunday. Wake Forest is a top 15 team. If you don't play well, you're going to lose."
The first half last night was reminiscent of the first half in last year's game here, won by the Terps, 61-58. In that game, the Demon Deacons led at the half, 22-21, and it wouldn't have been that close except for a five-point outburst by reserve Matt Kovarik.
It was almost fitting that Kovarik was among Maryland's first subs this time around. After a free throw by Exree Hipp gave the Terps a 14-13 lead, Maryland went nearly five minutes without scoring.
But the Demon Deacons were hardly any better. In a stretch when the Terps were missing six straight shots and committing three turnovers, Wake Forest scored a total of three points. Over a period of 6 1/2 minutes, a rebound follow by Duncan was the only basket scored by either team.
Though Duncan's presence was felt early, his absence because of fouls helped Maryland recapture the lead. Duncan picked up his second foul with 6:51 left in the half and then got his third six seconds later, as Keith Booth hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 16.
It started an 8-1 run for the Terps, who led by as many as five points on five different occasions. The last time came on a rebound follow by Mario Lucas with 41 seconds left in the half. Travis Banks scored on a follow-up with three seconds left to cut the lead to 30-25.
Odom thought Wake Forest's ability to stay close in the first half despite the absence of Duncan proved to be the key. "Those next 6:45 were the difference in the game," he said. "With two of our best players -- Timmy Duncan and Randolph Childress -- not at their best, other guys did a great job."
After starting out by hitting five of their first seven shots from the field, the Terps wound up the half 12 of 30 overall, including one of nine on threes.
The Demon Deacons were even worse, going nine of 29 overall while matching Maryland on threes. Childress was 0-for-4, including 0-for-3 on threes, and failed to score.
After leading by as many as five in the first half and by three, 30-27, at halftime despite playing sloppy for most of the first 20 minutes, the Terps came out even sloppier in the second half.
They scored only once in their first eight possessions, shooting quickly and forcing passes. It resulted in Maryland falling behind by six, 38-32, on a turnaround by Ricardo Peral with 15:17 to play.
The Terps twice cut their deficit to three, the first at 38-35. After falling behind by 42-35, Maryland pulled to 42-39 on a drive by Duane Simpkins and a dunk by Booth off a turnover by Rutland.
But Rutland quickly redeemed himself. After Simpkins rushed a long jumper, Rutland hit a three from the corner for a six-point lead. Then, after Booth missed and Hipp was stripped going up with the rebound, reserve guard Rusty LaRue hit another three for a 48-39 lead with 10:17 to go. The Terps called for time.
After an inside basket by Maryland reserve Lucas cut the deficit to seven, Rutland drove the lane, was fouled and made both free throws. Smith missed for the Terps on a wild scoop inside, and Rutland came down again, this time hitting a 21-footer for a 53-41 Wake Forest lead, forcing another Maryland timeout.
Team .. .. .. .. .. ACC .. .. Overall
North Carolina . .. 9-2 .. .. .. 19-2
Maryland . .. .. .. 9-3 .. .. .. 19-5
Virginia . .. .. .. 9-3 .. .. .. 17-6
Wake Forest . .. .. 7-4 .. .. .. 16-5
Georgia Tech ... .. 6-5 .. .. .. 16-8
Florida State .. .. 4-9 .. .. . 11-10 TC Clemson .. .. .. .. 3-7 .. .. .. 13-7
N.C. State .. .. .. 3-8 .. .. . 11-10
Duke 1-11 11-13
W. Forest 63, Maryland 54
Virginia 64, Duke 58
Ga. Tech 85, N.C. A&T; 81
N.C. State 86, Florida St. 77
Clemson at UNC, 7:30 p.m.
Duke at N.C. State, 1:30 p.m.
Clemson at Fla. St., 2 p.m.
Ga. Tech at W. Forest, 4 p.m.
Maryland vs. Cincinnati at San Antonio, 1:30 p.m.
UNC at Virginia, 3:45 p.m.