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Wake Forest advances to 2nd round, plays West Virginia Saturday

Posted Friday, March 18, 2005

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Demon Deacons break school record with 27th win

Deacons Advance To 2nd Round, Play West Virginia Saturday Night

Wake Forest, which broke a school record with its 27th victory on Thursday, advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year, where it will face West Virginia (approximately 8:00 pm/CBS). The winner of Saturday's game advances to the Sweet 16 in Albuquerque, NM, where it will face either Gonzaga or Texas Tech. The No. 2 seed and fifth-ranked Demon Deacons, 27-5 overall, overcame a sluggish first half to beat Chattanooga, 70-54, Thursday night. Sophomore All-American Chris Paul led the Deacons with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win over the Mocs. No. 7 seed West Virginia, 22-10, continued its March surge with a 63-61 win over No. 10 seed Creighton Thursday night. Junior center Kevin Pittsnogle, who averages more than 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, led the Mountaineers with 17 points Thursday. The Mountaineers have won eight of their last 10 games and made it all the way to last week's Big East Tournament championship game. Wake Forest and West Virginia will meet on the hardwood for the first time in nearly 30 years -- since a 93-80 Wake Forest win in Winston-Salem on Dec. 3, 1975. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series, 6-3

Wake Forest Overcomes Sluggish First Half To Beat Mocs, 70-54

Sophomore Chris Paul returned from a one-game suspension to lead the second-seeded Demon Deacons to a 70-54 win over Chattanooga Thursday night. Paul scored 20 points -- 13 in the second half -- and added six rebounds and five assists to pace Wake Forest, which didn't play like one of the pre-tourney favorites until midway through the second half. The Demon Deacons struggled with the Mocs, who threatened to become just the fifth No. 15 seed to win a first-round game since the tournament expanded in 1985. Paul made sure that didn't happen, though, making several big plays in a game-closing 32-16 run. Paul dominated in the second half. When Wake needed a steal or basket, he got one. When the Deacons needed to settle down, Paul took control. The Deacs had just five turnovers in the second half. Chris Brown scored 14 points and Alphonso Pugh had 13 for the Mocs, which doomed themselves with 22 turnovers. But for nearly 30 minutes, the Southern Conference champions were equal to one of the ACC's best. The Mocs led 38-35 when Paul hit a 3-pointer, and Wake Forest started to do its damage from long range. Trent Strickland hit a 3-pointer and Taron Downey made a pair of 3s on consecutive trips.

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Wake Forest advances to 2nd round, plays West Virginia Saturday
WFU's Eric Williams
photo by Gene Galin

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