Don't bother looking for many long-term bellwethers in Maryland's 86-60 rout of Wake Forest on Saturday.
The Terrapins' offense thrived in a way it couldn't come near for most of January. It achieved scoring balance in a way coaches perpetually crave. And it opened up a 30-point lead before settling for its most lopsided pummeling of a conference foe since 2003.
It also came against a team with minimal interest in running sets for its best players and even less for showing a hint of interest on defense.
So that leaves Maryland with a blowout victory at Comcast Center. And right now, that's more than enough.
"We definitely needed a win," guard Logan Aronhalt said. "Coach kept telling us ‘I feel it, it’s right there for us.’ We still have to take care of business. When we did and we got things rolling, I think everyone took a few breaths and [said] ‘We can play.’"
These Terps (16-6, 4-5 ACC) got well, with some assistance from the scattershot Demon Deacons (10-11, 3-6). Back at home, both looking to snap a two-game skid during which the offense started to show signs of growth, Maryland wasn't losing to a second-division team on this particular day.
They weren't falling because Jake Layman hit open 3-pointer after open 3-pointer, four in all.
They weren't stumbling because the four-man frontcourt rotation scored 33 points on 19 shots, starting out of the chute with a James Padgett lay-in on the first possession.
They weren't letting one get away because Alex Len was assertive, engaging himself on defense and then quickly becoming a factor at the other end as well.
"I was screaming ‘Don’t back down, be tough Alex,’" coach Mark Turgeon said. "We talk about Alex protecting the rim --- be a presence. He was a big-time presence."
Len said he wasn't worried about offense at all, and without the presence of a double team for much of the day scoring chances presented themselves with greater ease than usual.
Such was life against Wake, which didn't make life particularly difficult for their hosts. But there was still the matter of shutting down the Demon Deacons, which Maryland handled quite well.
Like on offense, it started with an interior posse that simply bullied Wake Forest from the start. The Demon Deacons didn't offer a particularly noteworthy reply; between just 13 fouls and Maryland's 67.3 percent shooting, the Terps did not encounter much resistance to the work of their big men.
"Their screening was really good," Turgeon said. "Their ball screen defense was really good. And their protection around the rim was tremendous. We played smarter defensively than we have in a long time, and we put less effort into the scout than we have in a long time because we were just mentally tired."
Well, this should perk Maryland back up. And in truth, the Terps began a significant stretch --- one bookended by its games against Wake Forest --- during which they can do far more harm to themselves than good.
Starting with Saturday's triumph, six out of eight games are against opponents with losing records in conference play. That's a big serving of underwhelming on the horizon.
Really, though, that's not what Saturday was about. Instead, the Terps got well, and for one afternoon it was plenty good enough.
"We needed this game badly," Layman said.
Maybe not for March. But for this day, Maryland couldn't have asked for much more.
--- Patrick Stevens