Wake holds off Longhorn charge
Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) - Chris Paul scored 23 points and dished out 12 assists to lead sixth-ranked Wake Forest to an 89-88 win over No. 14 Texas at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
Eric Williams had 19 points and Justin Gray added 15 for the Demon Deacons (9-1), who have won four straight since their only loss of the season against top-ranked Illinois on December 1.
"I am not the sharpness knife in the drawer, but the point guard's job is to have his team win the game," said Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser. "We have played 10 games, four against nationally ranked teams, and he has won nine of them."
P.J. Tucker tied a career high with 27 points and 14 rebounds for Texas (7-2), which had its five-game winning streak halted. Brad Buckman chipped in 17 points and Kenny Taylor contributed 13 in a losing effort.
Paul buried a three-pointer late in the first half to stake Wake Forest to a 38-30 lead. The rest of the period was tight throughout with the Demon Deacons clinging to a 49-45 halftime advantage. Paul had 15 points at the break.
Wake Forest led by a 56-49 score after Vytas Danelius drained a three-pointer minutes into the second half. The Longhorns would make a run and eventually grabbed a 64-63 lead on a Jason Klotz jumper with 11 1/2 minutes left.
Taylor's tip-in with about eight minutes on the clock staked Texas to a 76-71 advantage. Paul later contributed consecutive baskets for a 77-76 Wake Forest lead, but Texas answered with a pair of quick baskets for a three-point edge.
The Demon Deacons took back the lead and grabbed some breathing room at 85-82 on a Gray basket with 1:14 to go in the game. Buckman's jumper pulled Texas within one, but Jamaal Levy sank two free throws for an 87-84 Wake lead.
"It is totally different shooting free throws in a game than at practice," Levy said. "The pressure is unbelievable with the fans in the background and knowing that there are people watching you on television."
Tucker's basket, off the glass, trimmed the deficit to one at 89-88 with 11.9 seconds remaining in the game. Kenton Paulino then missed a desperation jump shot for Texas at the buzzer.
"I am real, real proud of our players," Prosser said. "To get down four or five points in the second half and then have the where-with-all to hold off a nationally ranked team like Texas is great. We are very happy to get out of here with a win."TEXAS WAKEFOREST