WINSTON-SALWM, 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 11, 58-47, with 6:53 remaining, the Terps made a frantic comeback. They cut their deficit to four, 58-54, on a pair of free throws by Duane Simpkins with 3:36 to go.
The loss was the first for the Terps against Wake Forest (16-5, 7-4 in the ACC) since the 1992-93 season. It also droppped Maryland (19-5, 9-3) out of a first-place tie with North Carolina. All-American Joe Smith led the Terps with 17 points.
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 and Childress put the game away with a layup.
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. 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.
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 and, after falling behind by seven, 42-35, and again at 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.