WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- It took four years, but Josh Howard finally has a victory over Maryland.
Howard had 23 points and eight rebounds as No. 20 Wake Forest ended a seven-game slide against the 15th-ranked Terrapins with an 81-72 Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
Maryland (9-4, 2-1 ACC) had its school-record 14-game ACC winning streak come to an end. It was the Terrapins' first conference loss since a 99-78 defeat at Duke on January 17, 2002.
The win came without freshman point guard Justin Gray, who suffered a broken jaw in Sunday's loss at Duke and is out indefinitely. Howard had Gray in his thoughts.
"It was a big win tonight," Howard said. "We played hard tonight, especially for Justin. I remember last year when we played them at home and they beat us big (85-63). I didn't want to lose again."
Howard, a senior All-American candidate, scored nine points in a 21-5 burst that extended Wake Forest's (11-1, 1-1) lead to 59-42 just before the midway point of the second half.
Howard helped atone for a loss to the Terrapins last season in which he called a timeout when the Demon Deacons had none left, resulting in a game-winning free throw by Juan Dixon.
"We learned from last season, every game is a war," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "You can't get down after a loss. You have another game, another war, and you have to look past the loss and move on."
The Terrapins refused to quit and got within 66-64 on Drew Nicholas' basket with just under five minutes remaining. A 3-pointer by Maryland's Tahj Holden again cut it to two at 73-71 with 2:46 left.
Maryland got back the ball and had a chance to take the lead, but Steve Blake missed a 3-pointer with 1:51 to play. Wake Forest made 9-of-10 foul shots over the final 1:40 to seal the victory.
"I have to give Wake credit," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "They lost a great player in Gray and I never like to play a team when that happens. They tend to play harder, and they did tonight."
Blake scored 15 points and handed out seven assists and Calvin McCall added 10 points off the bench. But Nicholas, the team's leading scorer, was limited to nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Wake Forest's physical frontcourt dominated the interior and held a 49-36 edge on the glass. The Demon Deacons converted 19 offensive rebounds into 22 points.
"We knew they were a great offensive rebounding team, but I think we could do better than we did on the glass," Williams said. "If we're going to do anything in this league, we have to respond on the road the same way we do at home."
Prosser, who is renowned for using a plethora of junk defenses, chose a variety of zones to slow Maryland. The Demon Deacons forced 17 turnovers.
"We had a potpourri of defenses," Prosser said. "We could not guard them (man-to-man). Fortunately, we were able to slow down at times. We knew they would figure our plan but hoped we would have a large enough lead that it wouldn't matter."
Vytas Danelius scored 19 points and freshman Eric Williams fouled out with 16 for Wake Forest. Jamaal Levy, making his second straight start, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
"Tonight was a must-win," Howard said. "Playing at home in the ACC is always big. The coaches and team pride ourselves on rebounding, and we outrebounded our opponent again tonight."
Levy, a 6-9 forward, was the fourth starter taller than 6-6 as sophomore guard Taron Downey was the lone ballhandler for Wake Forest. Downey had a miserable night, making 1-of-11 shots for six points, but the Demon Deacons survived 21 turnovers.
Maryland also suffered from a lack of composure as Gary Williams was hit with a technical midway through the second half and Blake received one in the closing seconds.
The Terrapins were playing their first true road game, while the Demon Deacons improved to 9-0 at home.