Wake Forest Pulls Ahead Of UTEP, 82-79
Al-Farouq Aminu battles for a rebound with UTEP's Claude Britten, right
Al-Farouq Aminu battles for a rebound with UTEP's Claude Britten, right

Nov. 28, 2008

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Jeff Teague stepped to the free throw line with the outcome in the balance and calmly performed as if he were practicing back home. Teague made two free throws with 14 seconds to play and finished with 29 points Friday, leading Wake Forest (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) to an 82-79 victory over Texas El Paso in the 76 Classic.

"Coach [Dino] Gaudio says that every time we're shooting free throws back in Winston-Salem, he tells us to shoot them like it's the last minute of the game," said Teague, who also tied a career-best with six assists.

James Johnson added 18 points and Al-Farouq Aminu scored 15 for the Demon Deacons (5-0), who advanced to Sunday's championship game of the eight-team holiday tournament.

Stefon Jackson led the Miners (3-2) with 31 points. Randy Culpepper added 15 points and Arnett Moultrie had 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.

"I thought we were playing the Lakers, as big as they were," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "You're not going to stop a fast, athletic team like that in transition but you have to limit their opportunities and we didn't do that."

Wake Forest led 64-52 midway through the second half before UTEP rallied, and a three-point play by Jackson with 16.3 seconds remaining moved the Miners within one point.

After Teague made his late foul shots, Jackson missed a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining that could have tied the game. Teammate Claude Britten got the rebound, but missed from close range before time ran out.

"It's hard to take," Barbee said. "With this team, there are no moral victories. My team truly believes that anytime we touch the floor, we're as good as anybody, period."

The Demon Deacons, off to their fifth 5-0 start in the past seven seasons, used a 15-2 run to take a 21-14 lead midway through the first half. UTEP rallied for a 33-31 lead before Aminu scored nine points during an 11-0 spurt to finish the half, giving Wake Forest a 42-33 lead.

 

 

"That was a real character win for us," Gaudio said. "Holding them to 34 [percent] from the field and 19 [percent from 3-point range] was the difference in the game."

The Miners grabbed a season-best 50 rebounds, compared to 33 for the Demon Deacons, but shot a season-low 34.2 percent. Wake Forest made more than half its shots for the fourth time in five games.

 

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