WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Chris Paul wanted to win, and he got
a reminder on just how to make that happen from Wake Forest coach
"Coach always tells us this is a team game played by
individuals," Paul said. "He says you have to beat your guy."
No problem there.
Paul dominated his point guard matchup with Raymond Felton,
Taron Downey had a season-high 18 points and the Demon Deacons (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today; No. 4 AP) ran away from North Carolina (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 3 AP) 95-82 on Saturday.
Wake Forest (15-1, 4-0) set an Atlantic Coast Conference record
by making all 32 free throws -- falling two short of tying the NCAA
mark -- with Paul finishing 9-for-9. The 6-foot sophomore finished
with 26 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals to
overshadow Felton, who shot only 5-for-18 and had 16 points.
"He is a very, very, very talented player with an excellent
work ethic," Prosser said. "He also can read and watch
television, so he knew the magnitude of this game, and I think he
stepped up to the challenge."
Downey gave his team an unexpected boost. A senior whose playing
time decreased with the emergence of Paul, he came in averaging
only 7.6 points.
"I've said before and I'll say it again, he's one of the most
selfless players I've ever coached," Prosser said. "And for that,
he's also one of the most popular among his teammates."
Downey beat his average by making three consecutive 3-pointers
during a 90-second stretch of the first half to give the Deacons
their first lead at 14-13, and the score was tied only once after
"Big-time players like to play on a big stage," Downey said.
"When the stage is big, I play better."
The Tar Heels (14-2, 3-1), who lost for the first time since
their opener at Santa Clara, struggled throughout with foul
trouble. Jackie Manuel, Marvin Williams and David Noel all fouled
out, and Rashad McCants finished with four.
McCants scored 19 points and Williams added 15 for North
"We just have to put everything in perspective," said Tar
Heels center Sean May, who was held to nine points. "It's one game
in conference play. We can't hold on to this forever, but we do got
to think about some things, things we did wrong and how we didn't
have each other's backs out there."
Because of a quirk in the scheduling for the newly expanded ACC,
this was the only meeting of the season for the teams, the first
time since 1922 they haven't played a home-and-home.
It also was the first time they've played while both were ranked
in the top five.
"We might play them in the ACC tournament or the NCAA
tournament, but if we don't, we got this one," Paul said.
McCants picked up his fourth foul about a minute into the second
half and sat on the bench for 10 minutes. When he returned, he
tried to rally North Carolina by himself, scoring 12 points down
"I kept saying that if I didn't have those four fouls, there
would've been no telling where the game would've went," McCants
said. "It was hard, real hard."
Wake Forest took control with a 10-0 spurt early in the second
half, with four players contributing. Downey finished it off by
getting fouled on a 3 and making three free throws to put the
Deacons ahead 53-38, and North Carolina threatened only a couple of
"In the second half, we were much more competitive," Tar Heels
coach Roy Williams said. "I'm disappointed in the result, but I
think it was a heck of a college basketball game."
One of those rallies came after McCants' layup with about 8½
minutes left cut the lead to 66-58, the first time the margin had
been less than 10 since early in the second half. Later, McCants
drove around Jamaal Levy to score to make it 83-75.
Paul had the answer for the Deacons, throwing a full-court pass
to an open Eric Williams for a dunk, and they finished it off by
--what else? -- making their free throws.
The NCAA record of 34-for-34 has been done twice, most recently
by Samford on Dec. 20, 1990. Wake Forest had been making only 66
percent at the line.
"I think that if you follow us, you will see that as an
aberration," Prosser said with a smile. "We needed all 32 of
those, especially down the stretch. We knew that Carolina would
make a run, so I'm glad we made our free throws."