(12) Manhattan 80

(25-6, 16-2 MAAC)

(4) Wake Forest 84

(21-9, 9-7 ACC)

    3:30 PM ET, March 20, 2004

    PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    #12MAN 35 4580
    #4WAKE 48 3684

    Jaspers can't take Wake

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Chris Paul kept Manhattan from pulling off another upset.

    The freshman point guard had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists Saturday to lift Wake Forest past the Jaspers 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 the Saint Joseph's in the third round.

    Dick Vitale's Tourney Take
    I've been screaming about the alternate possession rule for a long time -- get rid of it, man -- and it came back to bite Manhattan today. The Jaspers forced a jump ball while down only two late in the game against Wake Forest only to have the ball go with the possession arrow to Wake. Let the kids tip it up, baby! That said, though, the Demon Deacons have the best diaper dandy in America in point guard Chris Paul, who made some huge plays in another tough game for Wake. Skip Prosser's club topped Virginia Commonwealth by one point and squeaked it out against Manhattan. The Deacons will hook up with St. Joe's in an exciting Sweet 16 matchup.
    More on Saturday's Games
    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 fifth-seeded 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, leaving No. 12 seed Pacific as the lowest-seeded team left in the tournament.

    The Jaspers twice closed the gap to two in the final two minutes, only to see Paul have the answer.

    After Jason Benton's stickback cut the deficit to two, Paul banked in a drive over Kenny Minor for an 82-78 lead with 1:25 to play. Paul sealed it by finding Trent Strickland alone under the basket for a slam and an 84-80 lead with 11.2 seconds left.

    The Demon Deacons hadn't made it through the first two rounds since Tim Duncan led them to the round of eight in 1996. Wake Forest missed the tournament from 1998-2000 and had three early exits after that in a period coach Skip Prosser jokingly called "ST": Since Tim.

    That era had included two straight second-round losses, including last year's loss as a No. 2 seed to Auburn.

    But Paul -- who had 22 points and seven assists in the first-round win against Virginia Commonwealth -- is writing his own history. He also had three steals and two blocks with just one turnover in 38 minutes Saturday.

    He was dynamic from the start, scoring 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first half to help the Demon Deacons to a 48-35 lead at the break.

    The Jaspers got back into the game with a full-court press, double-teamming Paul to force someone else to handle the ball. Jason Wingate drained a 3-pointer after a turnover in the backcourt to make it 50-46 early in the second half.

    But Paul continually turned away runs by the Jaspers, almost single-handedly carrying Wake Forest.

    With his team clinging to a 73-69 lead, Paul scored on a drive and drew a foul on Wingate. He completed the three-point play for the 76-69 lead with 5:42 left.

    He penetrated and found Jamaal Levy for a layup on the right side and a 78-71 lead with 4:35 to play. Flores hit a 3 on the next possession, but Paul answered with two free throws for an 80-74 lead with 3:28 left.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



    » Mar 20, 2004 @WAKE 84, MAN 80Recap