No. 7 Wake Forest 87, Duke 70
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) _ It was starting to get embarrassing, and Randolph Childress had seen enough.
After going off on some of his teammates during a timeout, Childress went off on Duke, scoring a career-high 40 points and leading the seventh-ranked Demon Deacons from an 18-point deficit to an 87-70 victory and a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals.
``I told each and every guy what they needed to do in order for us to come out and win this game,″ Childress said. ``There would have been no excuse for us.″
Childress equaled the fifth-best performance in an ACC tournament game, matching the 40 points of North Carolina’s Charlie Scott in the 1969 championship game against Duke.
Childress also topped the school record for points in one tournament game, beating Len Chappell’s 38 points in the 1962 semifinals against South Carolina. And his eight 3-pointers broke the mark of six shared by Phil Henderson of Duke and Keith Gatlin of Maryland.
Wake Forest (22-5) faces Virginia in the semifinals on Saturday. The Cavaliers downed Georgia Tech 77-67 in the first game of Friday’s session.
For Duke (13-18), the loss ended a season which opened with promise but disintegrated when coach Mike Krzyzewski was sidelined with back problems aggravated by a quick return from surgery. The Blue Devils lost four of their last five games and their 18 losses established a school record.
Duke started quickly, opening a 31-13 lead against a sluggish Wake Forest team that hit only five of its first 15 shots.
Wake Forest called for time at the 8:33 mark. Between Childress and Coach Dave Odom, the mood was set for a turnaround.
``At that point, they were running away with it,″ Childress said. ``I felt as though I had to do something to try to attack those guys to back them away.
``I just wanted to make sure that we just didn’t sit back and let these guys bring the game to us. We had to back them off.″
As for Odom, whatever he had to say only augmented Childress’ comments.
``I really don’t think it was what I said or how I said it,″ Odom said. ``I really, honestly believe that they were embarrassed. Randolph was embarassed for them, for himself, to be part of that.
``We worked too long and too hard this year to have the ACC tournament actually end for us before it ever began.″
The Demon Deacons made 13 of 15 shots in the closing minutes of the half. Childress, who had seven points up until to then, exploded for 20, 12 on 3-pointers, and finished the half with 27 points.
Tim Duncan’s 3-point play with two seconds left in the half completely erased Duke’s edge and gave Wake Forest a 46-45 lead at the break.
``At halftime, we probably would have been OK if we thought we could get our kids convinced that it’s a brand new ball game,″ Gaudet said.
Erik Meek hit two free throws to give the Blue Devils a 51-50 lead with 14:52 to play, but the lead was Duke’s last as Tim Duncan scored on a follow and Ricky Peral hit a 3-pointer to put Wake Forest on top for good.
Duke tied it at 55-all on a layup by Carmen Wallace with 12:37 left, but the Demon Deacons scored the next 10 points.
Again, the Blue Devils surged back, drawing to within 65-63 on Trajan Langdon’s 3-pointer with 6:14 to go, but Childress answered with a 3-pointer and three free throws, repelling Duke one last time.
Duncan finished with 15 points, Peral had 12 and Rusty LaRue 11 for Wake Forest. Meek led Duke with 18 points.
The Blue Devils became the first No. 9 seed to get into the ACC quarterfinals by beating North Carolina State 83-70 on Thursday night. Wake Forest is celebrating its first time as a top seed in the tournament in 33 years.