CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Wake Forest's potent offense misfired
Tuesday night, so the Demon Deacons relied on defense for a change.
By holding Miami to 33 percent shooting in the second half, No.
5 Wake Forest won 68-63 to retain its lead in the Atlantic Coast
"We're used to running, scoring in the 80s and the 90s," guard
Chris Paul said. "Tonight we did just enough to win. I think it
really shows how far along our team is."
The Demon Deacons enjoyed their biggest lead at 61-53 with 4½
minutes left. Miami rallied and had one shot to tie, but Anthony
Harris' 22-footer fell short with 5 seconds to go.
Wake Forest (22-3, 10-2) earned its sixth straight win, a streak
that includes two victories over Miami (15-8, 6-6).
The Demon Deacons reached 10 conference victories for only the
second time in the past eight seasons. The latest win came even
though Wake Forest had its lowest point total since December, 18
points shy of its average of 86 per game.
"Usually we can score," coach Skip Prosser said. "Tonight
when we didn't, our defense carried the day. It's nice to talk
about a game we won because of how we guarded."
The Hurricanes shot 47 percent in the first half but finished at
39, shooting 12-for-36 in the second half. They finished 3-for-18
from 3-point range after making 13 3-pointers in a loss at Wake
Forest last month.
"We knew they were really good 3-point shooters," Demon
Deacons center Eric Williams said. "We tried to take the 3 away
from them. We just decided that if they wanted to drive, drive,
because we weren't going to give away any 3s."
Williams and Paul each scored 13 points for the Demon Deacons,
and Justin Gray added 11.
"They didn't have a great night shooting the ball, but found a
way to win," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "That shows they're a
top-notch team. They're experienced, and they come at you in waves
-- they're a deep ballclub."
Taron Downey hit a 3-pointer to put Wake Forest ahead to stay,
47-44 midway through the second half. Gray's 3-pointer made it
59-53, and Trent Strickland then scored to put the Demon Deacons up
by eight points for the first time.
Hite intercepted a pass and made the ensuing layup to cut the
margin to 63-59, and Diaz hit two free throws to make it 63-61 with
1:32 to go.
Paul sliced through the lane for a layup, and Diaz scored again
for Miami to make it 65-63 with 20 seconds to go. Strickland made
one of two free throws, but Harris missed over Jamaal Levy from
beyond the top of the key.
"I saw that it was going straight to the goal, and I thought it
might go in," Levy said. "But it came up short."
Gray sank two free throws with 3 seconds remaining to clinch the
"We're playing right now like we have a lot to lose," Williams
said. "We didn't come out squeaky clean, but we found a way to
win. I think that's our mentality right now: We're fighting for
something, and we're just going to keep fighting."
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