Wednesday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference game between No. 2-ranked Wake Forest andNo. 7 Clemson figured to be a rough one, with both teams being known for hard-nosed defensive play.
Officials, however, seemed content to let it get really physical as players were knocked around like bowling pins, going to the floor 20 times.
Wake Forest eventually won this battle for survival of the fittest, 55-49, to improve its overall record to 20-2 and keep sole possession of first place in the ACC at 9-2.
“When you get two teams fighting that hard on defense, I don’t think it’s going to be a real pretty game,” said Clemson Coach Rick Barnes, whose team missed 36 of 50 shots (28%) in falling to 19-5 and 7-4. “Everyone who played really gave it everything he had.”
The player with the most to give was Wake Forest center Tim Duncan, who had 18 points, 16 rebounds and was sent to the floor once with an elbow to the chin.
“Just a typical Clemson-Wake Forest game,” Duncan said.
The Demon Deacons not-so-typically shot 33%, had 15 turnovers--six by Duncan--and were outrebounded by the smaller Tigers, 37-34.
Clemson, though, had trouble keeping key players in the game, much less standing.
Leading scorer Greg Buckner came out 4 1/2 minutes into the game with a back injury and struggled when he returned, finishing with seven points and two-of-11 shooting. Forward Andrius Jurkunas took a forearm to the head and spent several minutes on the bench with an ice bag covering his face.
No. 1 Kansas 104, Oklahoma State 72--The Jayhawks (24-1, 10-1) made seven of their first 10 shots of each half to increase their home-court winning streak to 41 in the Big 12 Conference game at Lawrence, Kan. Oklahoma State is 12-11 and 4-7.
Center Raef LaFrentz made nine of 11 shots and had 22 points, his six consecutive game with 20 or more.
No. 3 Minnesota 70, Purdue 67--The Boilermakers (13-9, 8-4) missed two three-point shots in the final 9.3 seconds, allowing the Golden Gophers (21-2, 10-1) to win for the first time in their last 15 games at West Lafayette, Ind.
Minnesota, which has a three-game lead in a quest for its first Big Ten championship since 1982, shot 71% in taking a 38-28 halftime lead.
No. 4 Kentucky 84, Louisiana State 48--The Wildcats (23-3, 9-2) scored 27 points off 26 turnovers in handing the Tigers (9-16, 2-10) their worst loss of the season in a Southeastern Conference game at Lexington, Ky.
LSU Coach Dale Brown, who is retiring at the end of the season, was honored before the game. Brown has 18 victories against Kentucky, the most of any coach.
No. 9 Iowa State 87, Missouri 59--Guard Dedric Willoughby had 29 points and made six of eight three-point shots for the Cyclones (17-4, 8-3), who shot a season-high 63.5% in the Big 12 Conference game at Ames, Iowa. Missouri is 12-12 and 4-7.
Georgia 77, No. 12 South Carolina 74--Guard Ray Harrison, averaging 8.6 points, made nine of 11 shots and had 23 points as the Bulldogs (18-5, 7-4) ended a winning streak of 12 games by the Gamecocks (17-6, 11-1) in a Southeastern Conference game at Athens, Ga.
Oklahoma 91, No. 15 Colorado 66--Guard Nate Erdmann made seven of eight three-point shots and scored 31 points as the Sooners (14-7, 6-5) defeated the Buffaloes (17-6, 8-3) for the eighth consecutive time in a Big 12 Conference game at Norman, Okla.
No. 16 North Carolina 45, North Carolina State 44--Freshman guard Ed Cota went the length of the court and made a driving baseline shot with 4.8 seconds left for the Tar Heels (16-6, 6-5) in the ACC game at Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina forward Antawn Jamison blocked Danny Strong’s three-point shot from the corner as time expired. North Carolina State is 9-12 and 1-11.
Pittsburgh 95, No. 18 Villanova 89--Guard Jason Maile scored 40 points, the most by a Pitt player in 40 years, and the Panthers (13-11, 7-6) shot 71.4% in a 60-point second half of a Big East Conference game at Pittsburgh.
Maile, a fifth-year senior averaging 13.3 points, had 28 points and made all eight of his shots in the second half. He made 12 of 16 shots, including a career high eight three-point baskets in 12 attempts, in the highest-scoring game by a Pitt player since Don Hennon had a school-record 45 points against Duke on Jan. 21, 1957.
Guard Alvin Williams had 27 points Villanova (17-7, 8-5).
No. 19 Xavier 79, Dayton 53--The Musketeers (17-4, 8-3) forced 28 turnovers and had five players score in double figures in the Atlantic 10 Conference game at Cincinnati. Dayton is 9-12 and 2-9.
Wisconsin 62, No. 20 Illinois 45--The Badgers (14-7, 7-5) moved into a fifth-place tie in the Big Ten with the Illini (17-7, 7-5), scoring 21 unanswered points in a 13-minute span in the second half at Madison, Wis.
No. 21 Texas Tech 80, Texas A&M; 65--Guard Cory Carr was one of four double-figure scorers with 22 points for the Red Raiders (15-6, 7-4) in a Big 12 game at College Station, Texas.
Forward Calvin Davis had a career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds for Texas A&M; (8-13, 2-9).
Forward Antonio Smith’s layup with 1.7 seconds left gave Michigan State (12-8, 5-6) a 69-67 victory over Iowa (16-7, 7-4) at East Lansing, Mich.