Gary Williams didn't like the way Maryland's ACC schedule started.
He liked it even less after the Terrapins dropped a heartbreaking 85-83 overtime decision Tuesday at Wake Forest. Maryland, as Williams pointed out several times in recent weeks, was the only ACC team that began with two league games in three days, hosting Florida State on Sunday and then playing at Wake Forest on Tuesday.
Did fatigue figure in Maryland's loss at Wake and failure to go to 2-0 in conference play for the seventh straight year?
Actually the Terps (10-5, 1-1) acquitted themselves well on only one day's rest, building an eight-point first-half lead before the Demon Deacons charged back to lead most of the rest of the way. But Maryland led twice in the final 2:11 and had several shots to tie or win.
Williams' words after his team upset 18th-ranked Florida State 77-68 seemed prophetic Tuesday.
"This is one of 16 games, there's no champagne in the locker room," he said. "We'll be ready to play (Tuesday)."
The Terrapins were ready but couldn't hit a big shot at the end when they needed it. Sean Mosley missed an open 12-footer with two seconds left that would have won it in regulation, and Greivis Vasquez missed a decent look at a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in overtime that would have put Maryland ahead. Mosley got the rebound and also missed a 3-point attempt.
It's a game the Terrapins may look back and regret -- a road effort good enough to win that came up empty.
After Maryland plays another road game, at Boston College on Saturday, the schedule is more to the Terrapins' liking. Maryland then has a three-game homestand -- the last nonconference game, Jan. 19 against Longwood, and then conference tilts with North Carolina State, Jan. 23, and Miami, Jan. 26.
WAKE FOREST 85, MARYLAND 83 (OT): Greivis Vasquez scored a season-high 30 points, but his 3-point attempt in the final seconds of overtime was off the mark, and Wake Forest held on for the home-court victory.
Ishmael Smith, Wake's cat-quick point guard who gave Maryland's slower backcourt fits all night, hit a floater in the lane with 20 seconds left to provide the final margin after the Terrapins had tied the game on a Jordan Williams tip-in.
Williams, a freshman center, had 12 points, and Landon Milbourne added 11. Mosley contributed eight points and a career-high 13 rebounds against the taller Demon Deacons. Al-Farouq Aminu led Wake with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
--Maryland seems to have found the solution when things start going awry.
Let Greivis do it.
That's Greivis Vasquez, who scored a game-high 22 points and handed out five assists as the Terrapins withstood two Florida State rallies in the second half for a 76-68 victory.
"I'll put Greivis with anybody in terms of what he brings overall to a team during a game situation," coach Gary Williams said. "I'm proud of him, but I expect him to play like this. He's that type of player."
Maryland jumped out in front by as many as 16 points in the first half before settling for a 14-point halftime edge.
When the Seminoles cut that deficit down to three points less than eight minutes into the second half, the Terps went on a 14-4 run that got their lead back up to 13 points with just over nine minutes left.
Vasquez had nine points, a steal and an assist in the run.
Later, after the 'Noles crept back to within six points at 72-66, Vasquez drained another trey to stem the surge.
"This is the ACC," Vasquez said. "We knew coming out of halftime they were going to make a run."
--Maryland figured to have problems on the boards against a Florida State team that had outrebounded 13 of its previous 15 opponents, but it didn't work out that way. The Terps won the boards 40-34 with Landon Milbourne and Jordan Williams leading the way with seven each.
ON THE SPOT: Outrebounded in five of the first 14 games and with just a plus-1.3 rebound margin (11th in the ACC) entering conference play, the Terrapins have answered the bell on the boards since conference play began. Maryland outrebounded Florida State and 7-foot-1 Solomon Alabi 40-34 in upsetting the Seminoles. The Terps were winning the battle of the boards at Wake early and opened an eight-point lead before the Demon Deacons, the ACC's third-best rebounding team, asserted themselves in the paint and opened their own eight-point lead. The closeness of the game was reflected in a 40-40 rebounding draw at the end. Even with 6-10 freshman Jordan Williams playing big minutes, the Terrapins are still small with 6-7 Landon Milbourne and 6-4 Sean Mosley as the starting forwards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've been working hard for about three weeks to try to get to the point where we could beat a nationally ranked team like Florida State, who is a very good basketball team. They just make you work, and I respect teams like that where you have to match their intensity level." -- Coach Gary Williams, after the win over the Seminoles.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: Maryland has bounced back from the loss to William & Mary with a road win at UNC-Greensboro and the win at home over Florida State. The Terps shot 46.8 percent from the field against the Seminoles, the best any FSU opponent has managed this season.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Landon Milbourne, F Jordan Williams, G Eric Hayes, G Sean Mosley, G Greivis Vasquez. Key Subs -- F Dino Gregory, F James Padgett, G/F Cliff Tucker, G Adrian Bowie.
William & Mary 83, Maryland 77
Maryland 97, UNC-Greensboro 63
Maryland 76, Florida State 68
Wake Forest 85, Maryland 83 (OT)
at Boston College, Saturday, Jan. 16.
vs. Longwood, Tuesday, Jan. 19.
vs. North Carolina State, Saturday, Jan. 23.
vs. Miami, Tuesday, Jan. 26.
IN FOCUS: The Terps have to get big games from Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes on the perimeter against Boston College. The Eagles should have the advantage inside.
--Senior G Greivis Vasquez's streak of seven consecutive 20-plus-point games is the longest such run for a Terp since Walt Williams finished the 1991-92 season with 19 in a row. Vasquez had started the season slowly before the recent streak. He scored 20 or more in just one of the first eight contests.
--Senior G Eric Hayes got in early foul trouble at Wake and was limited to just four field-goal attempts. But he hit three, including two 3-pointers, to finish with eight points and become the 48th Terrapin to go over 1,000 career points. Hayes is at 1,001 points, and he is averaging a career best 11.7 points per game this season.
--The Terrapins were down a couple of bodies as ACC play tipped off. Sophomore F Jin Soo Choi left school last week to pursue a professional career in his native Korea. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 0.8 points and 1.1 rebounds. Sophomore C Steve Goins, who has battled knee problems all season, stayed in Chicago after the holidays to see his own doctors, and he hasn't played in the past 10 games.