Scores

Final 3OT

(14) Wake Forest 119

(7-0, 1-0 ACC)

(4) North Carolina 114

(6-1, 0-1 ACC)

    4:00 PM ET, December 20, 2003

    Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    1 2 OT 2OT 3OT T
    #14WAKE 47 41 31 119
    #4UNC 47 41 26 114

    Williams' jumper with 36 seconds left wins it

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Roy Williams' first ACC game proved to be a memorable one even in defeat.

    Eric Williams hit a jumper in the lane with 36 seconds left in the third overtime and added two late free throws to lift Wake Forest (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) to a 119-114 victory Saturday over fourth-ranked North Carolina.

    "It's a very disappointing game for us to say the least, and it's got to be exhilarating for Wake Forest," said Roy Williams, who left Kansas to take over the Tar Heels after last season. "I'll remember this one for the rest of my life. The quality of the play at times was really amazing, shots they made and shots we made."

    In the Tar Heels' first three-overtime game since Williams was an assistant for Dean Smith in November 1982, the teams provided a thrilling start to the conference season.

    Thirteen players scored in double figures, and the teams combined to finish two points shy of breaking a 25-year-old record for most points in an ACC game.

    "I have been doing this for 30 years," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said, "and I have never seen anything quite like that."

    Eric Williams scored 24 points and Justin Gray added 20 for the Demon Deacons (7-0), who earned their first road win against a top-10 team in six years.

    Taron Downey scored 19 while Chris Paul added 18 for Wake Forest, which scored the most points ever allowed by North Carolina.

    Rashad McCants scored 25 points and Raymond Felton added 22 for the Tar Heels (6-1), who have lost five straight games in the series.

    Williams appeared completely at ease before the game, wishing the referees merry Christmas and continuing his pregame tradition of throwing T-shirts into the student section.

    Wake Forest's size and depth proved to be key after Sean May fouled out with 3:41 to play in the third overtime. With May out, the 6-foot-9 Williams had his way inside, while 6-foot-11 reserve Kyle Visser added a key putback.

    After each team scored only two points in the second overtime, the offenses came back in the third extra session.

    North Carolina took a 111-107 lead on a dunk from Jawad Williams. But Downey answered with a 3-pointer, and Visser put the Demon Deacons ahead 112-111 with a tip-in with 2:20 left.

    After a bucket by Williams gave Wake Forest a 3-point lead, Melvin Scott drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 114 with 1:03 left.

    That's when Williams put the Demon Deacons ahead to stay. After his inside bucket, Williams hit two free throws to seal it with 2.4 seconds left.

    "Sean May is a big body, but big 'E' is a huge body," Paul said. "When Sean May left the game, we knew to punch it inside."

    The game featured the two top-scoring teams in the ACC, with North Carolina ranking first with an average of 88.3 points per game and Wake Forest averaging 87.8 points. Both teams repeatedly pushed the ball up the court, providing plenty of offense in front of a sellout crowd of 21,750.

    "This ... shows how everybody in this league loves this game," Eric Williams said. "When you have two teams like that fighting for a win, rankings are not an issue."

    McCants hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds to play in the first overtime to give North Carolina a 103-102 lead. After Jawad Williams' free throw pushed the lead to two, Paul sent the game into a second overtime when he hit two of three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to play.

    North Carolina had several chances, but went 1-for-4 from the line after McCants' 3. The Tar Heels went 0-for-2 from the line in the second and third overtimes.

    "We had many opportunities," Scott said. "We had the game won and made stupid plays."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    2003-04 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Dec 20, 2003 WAKE 119, @UNC 114Recap
    Feb 7, 2004 UNC 79, @WAKE 73Recap