PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- With two starters on the bench, Wake Forest
had a different look at the start of its game against Temple.
The postgame celebration wasn't quite the same, either.
Reserve Trent Strickland scored all nine of his points over the
final 9 minutes to lead the Demon Deacons (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) to a 67-64
victory over Temple on Monday night.
It's usually Chris Paul, the leading vote-getter on the AP's
preseason All-America team, or Eric Williams, who along with Paul
was benched for the opening 4 minutes for being 2 minutes late for
the bus on the way to the game, or All-Atlantic Coast Conference
guard Justin Gray who draws the attention.
Not this game. It was Strickland's turn to hear the praise.
"I don't think we win the game without Trent Strickland," Wake
Forest coach Skip Prosser said.
Paul couldn't stop talking about his teammate.
"Trent Strickland is a winner. He stepped up big for us on both
ends of the court. We have to give him a game ball," Paul said.
"He gets the emotion going for us."
Wake Forest clinched the win by going 5-for-6 from the free
throw line over the final 2 minutes.
Williams had 17 points for the Demon Deacons, while Gray added
15. Paul finished with nine points and eight assists for Wake
Forest, which was coming off a 9-day break for exams.
Mardy Collins had a season-high 25 points for Temple (3-5),
which had a chance at tying the game but Dustin
Salisbery's 3-pointer hit the rim with 1 second to play.
The game was played at Temple's pace as Wake Forest came in
averaging 83.1 points, almost 21 more than the Owls.
"They did a terrific job keeping us off balance," Prosser
said. "We were never able to get into a rhythm."
There were six lead changes and two ties in the opening 10
minutes of the second half and Wake Forest seemed to take control
behind Strickland, a reserve junior forward who came in averaging
Strickland had six points in a 15-6 run that gave the Demon
Deacons a 58-49 lead with 5:40 left.
Collins scored on a drive to make it 59-57 with 2:51 left and he
and Strickland exchanged 3-pointers to make it 62-60 with 2:07
Gray made two free throws with 1:56 to go to make it a
four-point game and Salisbery tipped in a missed 3 by Collins to
get it to 64-62 with 1:29 to go.
Williams made one free throw with 55 seconds to go, then Wayne
Marshall scored in the lane for Temple to make it 65-64 with 36
Taron Downey, a 64 percent free throw shooter, made two with 11
seconds left for the final margin.
"I like playing in tough situations. It brings out the best in
you," Strickland said. "When I get open shots I know I can knock
Jamal Levy had eight rebounds for Wake Forest, which finished
with a 31-21 advantage on the boards. The Demon Deacons did turn
the ball over 15 times against Temple's matchup zone.
"I liken this to going to the dentist," Prosser said of facing
Temple's defense. "You know it's good for you, but the whole time
you are sitting there with your mouth open, waiting for the pain to
Marshall had 11 points for the Owls, who shot 45.1 percent
(23-for-51), their second-best effort of the season. They entered
the game shooting 37.3 percent.
"We're getting better. It's going to pay off somewhere down the
line," Owls coach John Chaney said. "Every time we had an answer,
they came up with another one. They're a step ahead of us. We're
not in their class yet but there was a guy like Mardy Collins
playing an All-American and he outplayed him."
Paul said he and Williams knew they broke a team rule and they
paid the penalty, which in Paul's case was the first non-start of
his college career.
"That was tough, absolutely," the sophomore said of sitting on
the bench until the first media timeout. "Those were the toughest
4 minutes of my career at Wake Forest."
The win was Wake Forest's fourth straight over Temple and gave
it an 11-10 lead all-time in the series.
The game was played in the Liacouras Center which was used
Sunday for the premiere of Bill Cosby's movie "Fat Albert."
Cosby, Temple's biggest supporter, was at the game.