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Archive for Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wake survives in OT

November 12, 2005

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— For the second straight night, Wake Forest seemed unable to protect its big lead or put the game away.

And just as before, the 18th-ranked Demon Deacons did enough to stay unbeaten.

Eric Williams had 19 points, and Trent Strickland had 18 points and 11 rebounds, helping Wake Forest hold off George Mason, 83-78, in overtime Friday in the second round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.

Justin Gray added 17 points for the Demon Deacons (2-0), who blew a 19-point lead in the second half before finally earning their 18th straight home victory. Wake Forest advanced to face Florida in next week's semifinals in New York.

The win followed Thursday's 78-64 victory against Mississippi Valley State, during which the Demon Deacons led by 14 in the first half before the Delta Devils rallied to tie it midway through the second.


Wake Forest's Kyle Visser, left, defends George Mason's Will Thomas. The Demon Deacons survived for an 83-78 overtime victory Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wake Forest's Kyle Visser, left, defends George Mason's Will Thomas. The Demon Deacons survived for an 83-78 overtime victory Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We've got four guys trying to move into whole new roles and that can be frustrating at times," coach Skip Prosser said. "We as coaches had the choice to play in this tournament, to play good teams and test our abilities early on. I think we're learning early what we need to work on later in the season."

Prosser won't have to look far. Wake Forest appeared in control before George Mason (1-1) turned to fullcourt pressure, fueling a 16-6 run over the last six minutes to erase a 65-55 deficit and force overtime.

The Demon Deacons committed 15 of 20 turnovers after halftime, with Gray -- an all-conference shooting guard charged with replacing all-America Chris Paul at point guard -- committing 10. It was the most turnovers by a Wake Forest player in more than six years.

But the Deacons -- who followed a strong first half with shaky play -- finally pushed ahead with free throws.

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