ATLANTA -- It's one down and hopefully a couple of more wins to come for Richard Howell as he and North Carolina State teammate Lorenzo Brown try to parlay a trip home for the ACC Tournament into a NCAA Tournament bid.
The Wolfpack, on the NCAA bubble, face a potential must-win situation today in a quarterfinal game against depleted Virginia at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Philips Arena after an opening 78-57 victory against Boston College on Thursday.
"We owe them some get-back," said Howell, who had a career-best 18 rebounds in a 61-60 home loss to the Cavaliers on Jan. 28. "We'll be ready for them this time. It's a game we're determined to win."
Former Centennial standout Brown had 12 points, eight assists and five steals, while Howell, who started at Central Gwinnett before transferring to Wheeler, contributed 12 rebounds and nine points in the victory over B.C.
Scott Wood went 5-for-9 on 3-pointers and had 22 points for No. 5 seed N.C. State, which scored the first 14 points against the Eagles and also closed strong after seeing its lead reduced to six points in the second half.
"This win gives us confidence and I think we're all comfortable here," Howell said. "Lorenzo and I have been showing everyone around. We'll have plenty of fans backing us."
Brown missed a potential winning shot at the buzzer against Virginia, so he will have plenty of motivation for the rematch.
"The last game was a tough loss for us, but I think we're going to come in here with a different attitude and play our hearts out," he said.
No. 4 seed Virginia (22-8) appears to have a NCAA bid secured despite a late slump marked by injuries and a suspension. No. 5 seed N.C. State (21-11) trying to rebound after losing four straight late in the season seems next in line if the ACC gets more than four bids. The Cavaliers and Wolfpack tied with No. 6 seed Miami for fourth place in the conference at 9-7.
Asked if he thought the Wolfpack had to beat Virginia to get into the NCAA Tournament, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said, "I wish we had a crystal ball. For us, the answer is to continue to win. I don't know if that is one game, two games, three games. ... I know if we win the tournament, we get to go."
B.C. finished 9-22 with by far the ACC's least-experienced team. Freshman Ryan Anderson had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.
Maryland 82, Wake Forest 60
Terrell Stoglin, the ACC's leading regular-season scorer at 21.2, had 25 points to lead No. 5-seeded Maryland to an 82-60 victory over No. 12 seed Wake Forest in the opening game of the ACC Tournament at Philips Arena.
Maryland (17-14) will play No. 1 seed and fourth-ranked North Carolina (27-4) in the first quarterfinal at noon today. The Terrapins lost to the Tar Heels by nine and 24 points while going 6-10 in the ACC regular season.
Up just 36-31 at halftime despite shooting 51.6 percent, Maryland outscored Wake Forest 30-9 in the first 10 minutes of the second half to blow the game open.
Stoglin, a second-team All-ACC pick, had 16 points in the second half and Nick Faust scored 11 of his 19 after intermission. The Terrapins shot 57.7 percent in the second half and 54.4 percent for the game.
"That's the best, most complete game we've played all year," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
Wake Forest (13-18) got 22 points from Travis McKie, but was out-rebounded 39-24 and had no defensive answer for Maryland in the second half.