Wake Forest Holds Off Tigers


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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - In a game full of odd statistics, only the bottom line ultimately mattered.


Wake Forest built a 16-point lead in the second half and held off a desperate Clemson comeback attempt, knocking off the Tigers 80-68 at Lawrence-Joel Coliseum. The loss is Clemson's second straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak.


"Clemson perhaps was a more aggressive team today and a better rebounding team today," head coach Larry Shyatt said. "I'm very proud of the fact we guarded the ball and had six turnovers. There were some good things but there is nothing really good in the end when we finish with less points."


Clemson attempted an incredible 80 shots (making 26, for 32 percent) on the afternoon, many of them coming in a desperate attempt to cut into the Wake Forest lead down the stretch. Wake attempted just 45 shots.


Clemson also committed just six turnovers - tying an all-time team record for fewest giveaways on the road - while forcing the Deacs into 18.


But the most telling stat of the night came in the disparity at the free throw line. Wake Forest was 33-of-49 - the most attempts ever against a Shyatt-coached team - while Clemson was just 11-of-20.


That stat ultimately would cause Shyatt to draw a technical foul in the latter stages of the game.


Josh Howard led the Demon Deacons (21-4,11-3 ACC) with 29 points, 19 of which came in the first half. The likely ACC Player of the Year was 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc.


Wake led by 12 at the half, then scored the first basket of the second half to put the margin at 14, 39-25.


Chey Christie then scored 12 straight points to key a 14-4 that saw Clemson draw within four, 43-39, with 16:30 left in the game. Just two minutes later, an Edward Scott 3-pointer from the top of the key had the Tigers within 44-42.


Clemson was still within four, 49-45, when Justin Gray hit a pair of free throws at 9:35 to push the Demon Deacons' lead to six. On the ensuing possession Christie missed a short jumper in traffic in the paint and Shyatt - protesting that his sophomore guard was fouled - was hit with a technical foul at 9:19.


Taron Downey made both free throws to push the lead to 53-45, and seconds later the lead stretched to 10 on Vytas Danelius' dunk off an alley-oop pass. The lead eventually stretched to 16.


"I don't qualify technical fouls and place them like i want to," Shyatt said. "But I definitely thought there was clearly a disparity there I wasn't pleased about. I just was trying to defend out turf. I guess I didn't defend it too well to one official.


Clemson cut the margin to eight in the final minutes, but could get no closer.


"We put ourselves in position to win a road game against a ranked team," Shyatt said. "We did it the hard way. We spotted them a couple of touchdowns early. It was a (two) point game with 14 minutes to play and I believe a four point game with eight minutes to play


"We were in position to be in position. We didn't clean it up."


Scott finished with 27 points for Clemson, while Christie added 18.


Justin Gray had 16 for Wake Forest.


WAKE FOREST (21-4)


Howard 10-16 3-7 29, Levy 0-2 2-4 2, Danelius 2-6 6-9 10, E.Williams 1-3 2-8 4, Downey 2-5 7-8 12, Ellis 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 2-7 11-11 16, Joyce 0-0 0-0 0, Strickland 2-5 2-2 7. Totals 19-45 33-49 80.


CLEMSON (15-10)


Ford 0-2 0-2 0, Babalola 0-4 1-2 1, Hobbs 2-7 0-0 4, Scott 10-29 6-8 27, Christie 8-18 0-1 18, Betko 0-0 0-0 0, Nagys 1-5 4-7 7, Henderson 2-4 0-0 4, Robinson 3-11 0-0 7, Douglas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-80 11-20 68.


Halftime-Wake Forest 37-25. 3-Point goals-Clemson 5-18 (Christie 2-5, Nagys 1-3, Scott 1-4, Robinson 1-5, Babalola 0-1), Wake Forest 9-21 (Howard 6-10, Strickland 1-1, Downey 1-3, Gray 1-5, Levy 0-1, Danelius 0-1). Fouled out-Betko, Levy. Rebounds-Clemson 44 (Ford 10), Wake Forest 49 (Danelius 11). Assists-Clemson 9 (Robinson 4), Wake Forest 14 (Downey 6). Total fouls-Clemson 28, Wake Forest 18. Technicals-Babalola, Howard, Clemson bench. A-14,386.

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