No. 18 Arizona Falls to No. 1 Wake Forest, 63-60

Nov. 26, 2004

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Justin Gray scored 21 points for the second straight gameand No. 1 Wake Forest beat No. 18 Arizona 63-60 on Friday night in thechampionship game of the Preseason NIT.

The Demon Deacons ended an 11-game winning streak at Madison Square Gardenfor Arizona coach Lute Olson. The Hall of Famer's run started in 1973, when hewas coaching at Long Beach State.

Gray, overshadowed in his own backcourt by sophomore sensation Chris Paul,was the only player who scored for the Demon Deacons (5-0) during the first 10minutes of the second half.

When his teammates started to find their stroke, the Demon Deacons went on a13-2 run to go up 59-51 with 5:28 left. Arizona (4-1) rallied to get within61-60 with 1:26 left on a 3-pointer by Hassan Adams.

Gray missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 24 seconds left. Arizona had onetimeout left but Olson didn't call it. Shakur dribbled the ball at the top ofthe key and started his move with 7 seconds left. His jumper from about 8 feetwas short.

Eric Williams made two free throws for Wake Forest with 1.2 seconds left andArizona's chance to tie ended when Adams' turnaround 3-point attempt at thebuzzer bounced off the rim.

The loss ended Arizona's 15-game winning streak in the Preseason NIT. TheWildcats won the tournament the last three times it participated - 1990, `95and `99.

It was the first Preseason NIT title for Wake Forest, which finished secondin 2001.

Gray, who had 21 points in the semifinal win over Providence, was selectedtournament MVP.

Taron Downey had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Wake Forest, which became No.1 this week for the first time in school history earlier this week, whileJamaal Levy had eight points and 12 rebounds.

Paul, the leading vote-getter on the AP's preseason All-America team, hadfour points on 2-for-11 shooting as he was hounded all game by Arizona'sMustafa Shakur. Paul had four assists, three during the Demon Deacons' run thatgave them the lead in the second half.

Adams had 19 points and eight rebounds for Arizona, while Salim Stoudamirehad 16 points.

Arizona opened the game with an 11-2 run and was up 37-29 at halftime. TheWildcats kept the lead until Wake Forest tied it at 46 with 12:48 to go. A3-pointer by Stoudamire gave Arizona its last lead, 49-46 with 12:09 left.

That's when Wake Forest went on the 13-2 run and the last three baskets allcame on assists by Paul.

He threw an alley-oop pass to Trent Strickland for a dunk, found Williamsfor a dunk with a pass inside and then threw a long pass on the break that Levydunked for a 59-51 lead with 5:28 to play.

Wake Forest was just 2-for-15 from 3-point range, but shot 42 percentoverall. Arizona wasn't able to take capitalize on a 23-16 edge on theoffensive boards, shooting just 31 percent from the field.

Shakur, who did such a good job on Paul, was 1-for-12 from the field.

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