9:00 PM ET, January 11, 2005
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-salem, North Carolina
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Justin Gray walks around all day with a bulky brace on his right arm that cradles his aching wrist. It only comes off when he's on the court, and then he forgets all about his strained tendons.Gray has shown zero effects of the injury he suffered three games ago, continuing his torrid shooting streak by scoring 25 points to lead Wake Forest (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) to an 81-66 victory over Maryland on Tuesday night."I messed up the tendons in my wrist against Virginia, but I hope it stays banged up for the rest of the season," Gray said. "I'm just feeling it right now."Gray made a season-high six 3-pointers while helping the Demon Deacons (14-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) avenge their 87-86 loss to Maryland in the first round of the ACC tournament last season.Gray was off in that loss, scoring just 14 points.There was no chance of that in this meeting since Gray is playing the best basketball of his career. He had 31 points in a win over Clemson on Saturday, and has 55 points and 11 3-pointers the past two games."Justin has never seen a shot he doesn't like," said guard Chris Paul, who added 14 points. "Whenever he throws it up, I think he has a 95 to 99 percent chance of it going in. And no doubt he wanted to make up for the Maryland game last year, so he was trying to make everything."Eric Williams had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Jamaal Levy had 11 points and Vytas Danelius finished with 10 rebounds for Wake Forest.Maryland (9-4, 1-2) played poorly in its second-straight lopsided loss: The Terrapins were coming off a 36-point loss at North Carolina (No. 4, No. 3)."We're struggling right now. We're just not playing with the intensity level needed for us to be successful," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We have to improve. It's pretty obvious we have to improve."The Terps started the game with leading scorer John Gilchrist on the bench for missing an academic assignment. Gilchrist played just 9 minutes, sitting for almost the entire second half and finishing with two points on 1-of-2 shooting.Williams said Gilchrist was bothered by a bad back and wrist, but Gilchrist said he was surprised to get pulled in the second half."I definitely assumed I was going back in the game," he said. "I was like `Hey, I'm not the type of guy that really cares.' It didn't even matter, really. It was a coach's decision to fight back without me."Trouble was, the Terps had little fight against a Wake Forest team playing as if the game was nothing more than a tuneup for Saturday's meeting with North Carolina. They opened up firing behind Gray, and coach Skip Prosser refused to allow them to back off.Even when they took a huge lead into halftime, he screamed "Run!" at the Deacons as they filed off the court to the locker room.Prosser kept the intensity all through the second half, standing up in disgust after Levy missed a 3 and Mike Jones quickly converted for Maryland with a 3-pointer that cut Wake Forest's lead to 69-55. Prosser ordered the Deacons to pick it up, and Gray responded with his sixth 3-pointer.Gray scored 16 points in a stretch of 5:05 of the first half, hitting four 3-pointers. Every time he let the ball go, it seemed sure to hit for the second straight game. It was a similar stretch to Saturday, when Gray scored 15 points in 3 minutes.Although the Deacons played well in the first half, the Terps' poor play was the reason Wake Forest rolled to a 47-26 halftime lead.Maryland was awful in every area during the first half, failing to set plays or look for shots. Maryland shot just 37 percent in the first half, missed all seven of its 3-point attempts and struggled at the line on 2-of-8 free throw shooting.Maryland finished 1-of-14 from 3-point range."We're open for volunteers," Williams said. "We're not a good shooting team right now."