Sunday, March 21, 2004

Demon Deacons, frosh Paul hold off upstart Manhattan

East Rutherford Regional: Saint Joseph's waiting in wings for Wake Forest

The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser jokingly refers to the Demon Deacons' recent seasons as the "S.T." era: Since Tim Duncan.

Chris Paul could be on his way to changing that.

The freshman point guard had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists Saturday to lift Wake Forest past Manhattan 84-80 in the second round of the East Rutherford Regional.

Paul went 10-for-14 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the line for the fourth-seeded Demon Deacons (21-9), who made it through the NCAA tournament's opening weekend for the first time in eight years. Wake Forest will face top-seeded Saint Joseph's - a 70-65 winner over Texas Tech - in the third round.

"Sometimes I just find myself watching (Paul)," said Justin Gray, Wake Forest's leading scorer this season who was limited to just six points. "It seems like he'll go on a run by himself. I'm glad on his team, I can tell you that much."

Luis Flores had 20 points and Dave Holmes added 19 for the 12th-seeded Jaspers (25-6), who reached the second round with a 75-60 upset of Florida.

Manhattan was the toast of the Big Apple after its upset of the Gators, with former New York Mayor and Manhattan graduate Rudy Giuliani calling to congratulate coach Bobby Gonzalez. But the unflappable Paul wouldn't let the Jaspers repeat their first-round magic, repeatedly making big plays to leave No  12 seed Pacific as the lowest-seeded team left in the tournament.

"I thought Chris Paul was the best guard we've played against all year, literally the best player we saw all season," Gonzalez said. "He's a whole different level."

The Demon Deacons hadn't made it through the first two rounds since Duncan led them to the round of eight in 1996.

MANHATTAN (25-6)-Flores 8-17 2-3 20, Wingate 1-4 0-0 3, Holmes 5-9 9-11 19, Mulligan 4-11 4-5 13, Benton 5-7 0-1 10, Minor 3-6 0-0 8, Ngarndi 0-1 0-0 0, Konovelchick 3-8 0-0 7. Totals 29-63 15-20 80.

WAKE FOREST (21-9)-Gray 2-9 0-3 6, Paul 10-14 8-9 29, Levy 5-11 2-2 12, E.Williams 1-3 2-2 4, Strickland 1-3 3-4 5, Downey 4-8 0-0 10, Danelius 3-4 3-4 12, Visser 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 29-57 18-24 84.

Halftime score-Wake Forest 48-35. 3-Point Goals-Manhattan 7-20 (Minor 2-3, Flores 2-6, Wingate 1-2, Konovelchick 1-4, Mulligan 1-5), Wake Forest 8-20 (Danelius 3-4, Downey 2-4, Gray 2-8, Paul 1-1, Strickland 0-1, Levy 0-2). Fouled out-Danelius, E.Williams. Rebounds-Manhattan 32 (Holmes 8), Wake Forest 37 (Paul 8). Assists-Manhattan 15 (Wingate 4), Wake Forest 15 (Paul 6). Total fouls-Manhattan 23, Wake Forest 18.

Saint Joseph's 70, Texas Tech 65

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jameer Nelson and Delonte West showed why they're one of the best backcourts in the nation.

And it's because of them that Saint Joseph's is heading to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 for the first time in seven years

St. Joe's beat Texas Tech and guess who's waiting for the Hawks in the next round? Billy Packer's alma mater Wake Forest. Packer's been an outspoken critic of the Hawks receiving a top seed. "I guarantee you he won't be rooting for us," West said smiling.

West was on early and Nelson impressive late, the two combining for 39 points.

West's contributions were particularly important, scoring 11 of his 15 points during a 24-2 first-half run that put the Hawks ahead for good. The outburst came after Nelson struggled, missing five of his first six shots.

"That's why we're a backcourt tandem, we know each other's needs," West said. "We really had no flow. I wasn't going to let the game get too far away from us."

The Hawks (29-1) continue to prove worthy of their No. 1 seed, and will meet fourth-seeded Wake Forest (21-9) in next week's East Rutherford Regional semifinal.

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight is a Hawks believer.

"I told Phil that their team, from watching the film, I really liked and enjoyed watching them play," Knight said. "It's good for kids to see a really good team play the way those kids do."

TEXAS TECH (23-11)-Emmett 6-13 6-8 18, Giles 6-8 2-2 14, Jackson 3-12 0-0 7, M.Marshall 4-9 4-4 14, Ross 3-6 0-0 6, White 0-0 0-0 0, Dora 3-5 0-0 6, Works 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 12-14 65.

SAINT JOSEPH'S (29-1)-Carroll 5-9 0-0 14, Bryant 1-2 2-2 4, Jones 2-2 0-0 4, Nelson 9-22 2-2 24, West 7-13 0-1 15, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Barley 1-5 0-0 3, Stachitas 1-3 0-0 3, Mallon 1-1 0-0 3, Lidzius 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-57 4-5 70.

Halftime score-Saint Joseph's 36, Texas Tech 31. 3-Point Goals-Texas Tech 3-12 (M.Marshall 2-6, Jackson 1-3, Ross 0-1, Emmett 0-2), Saint Joseph's 12-31 (Carroll 4-7, Nelson 4-11, Mallon 1-1, Stachitas 1-2, Barley 1-5, West 1-5). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Texas Tech 29 (Giles 8), Saint Joseph's 31 (Jones 12). Assists-Texas Tech 16 (Emmett, Jackson 4), Saint Joseph's 13 (West 8). Total fouls-Texas Tech 11, Saint Joseph's 16.

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