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Paul scores 25 points for Demon Deacons

1/30/2004

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- The shot clock was winding down and
Wake Forest freshman Chris Paul had to improvise. Taught to drive
to the basket in that situation, Paul went against the lesson plan
and fired up a 3-pointer.

He made it, and snapped the 19th-ranked Demon Deacons four-game
losing streak with the shot.

Paul scored 25 points, including the pivotal 3-pointer with 2:23
to play, to lead Wake Forest to 93-85 victory over Maryland on
Thursday night.

"I thought that 3 was a dagger," Wake Forest coach Skip
Prosser said.

Paul let out a sigh of relief as the ball sailed through the
hoop for an 82-75 lead.

"Coach always tells me at the end of the shot clock to drive,"
Paul said. "But I didn't have enough time, so thank God it went
in."

The Demon Deacons (12-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) had
struggled mightily with their scoring during their losing streak as
Paul and fellow guard Justin Gray had not been able to find an
offensive rhythm.

But the two snapped out of it against Maryland (11-6, 2-4) and
helped Wake Forest overcome a 10-point halftime deficit.

Gray scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, and Paul
picked up the slack in the second half after a fiery speech from
Prosser.

"Coach had been pretty intense during the losing streak, and he
was after us again at halftime," Gray said. "He said this would
be our biggest win so far, the next 20 minutes were the most
important we've played this season, and we had to get with it and
go get this game."

Taron Downey added 12 points for the Deacons and freshman Kyle
Visser had 11.

Nik Caner-Medley led Maryland with 15 points. Travis Garrison
scored 13, John Gilchrist had 12 and Mike Jones 11.

Wake Forest had seemingly wrapped the game up on Paul's
3-pointer, but a flurry of late Maryland 3-pointers -- two from
Gilchrist and one from Jones -- made it a close final margin.

Maryland coach Gary Williams was clearly frustrated after the
Terrapins blew a 53-43 halftime lead behind 14 second-half
turnovers. Seven of the turnovers came early in the second period
when Wake Forest clawed back into the game.

"We didn't look like we had the same energy at the start of the
second half and I think we gave Wake a little confidence early,"
Williams said. "We just didn't play that good in the second
half."

The game had the usual tense atmosphere of two teams that don't
particularly care for each other, and was marked by three technical
fouls. Paul and Jones were each called for one for pushing and
shoving after a basket by Paul, and Skip Prosser also got one for
kicking the scoring table.

It was a fitting show for former Wake Forest star Josh Howard,
who was in attendance and had his jersey retired at halftime.
Howard, now with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, closed last year's
meeting here with a postgame shoving match with former Maryland
star Steve Blake.

But once the officials made their presence known in this one --
and Prosser told his Deacons to toughen up -- most of the action was
game related.

"It's nice to win a congenitally award and we do have really
nice kids," Prosser said. "But ACC games are usually not family
reunions."

Eric Williams, Wake Forest's leading scorer at 14.6 points a
game, continued his recent slide. After scoring a combined 30
points in the Deacons' first four losses, Williams found himself in
foul trouble for most of the game against Maryland.

Williams finished seven points in 13 minutes.

Maryland had its own foul troubles, as well.

Smith was limited to 10 minutes in the first half, and finished
with 10 points before fouling out.

Gilchrist, Maryland's leading scorer, also had foul problems and
a horrible shooting night. He finished 3-for-11 from the field.