This just hasn't been Wake Forest's year. The Demon Deacons were expected to contend for the Atlantic Coast Conference title, but the loss of Randolph Childress and some bad luck has cost them a Top 25 ranking and could find them scrambling for an NCAA Tournament berth.
On Saturday, Wake Forest led North Carolina 32-10 and was up by 20 points with 14:49 left in the game, only to lose 80-78 on a last-second shot by North Carolina's Brian Reese. The Deacons missed the front end of two crucial one-and-one free throws down the stretch, and for the 10th straight time and 22nd in the last 23, fell to the Tar Heels.
"I hope all our fans and followers will let this game go," coach Dave Odom said. "All the reminiscing and all the thinking about it and the longer that hangs with you, the worse it can be."
For Wake Forest, it can't get much worse.
During the game, North Carolina's Hubert Davis had a career-high 30 points, hitting 9 of 14 shots and all nine of his free throws. His previous high was 29 earlier this season against Houston.
"It was a very good week for us," Davis said. "Hopefully, it will continue. This was a very big game for us. We wanted to end the week on a high note against a tremendous Wake Forest team, and it feels good to escape with a win."
The victory kept the Tar Heels firmly in second place and still gives them a chance to overtake Duke, which suffered its only loss against North Carolina last week.
Momentum: Georgia Tech got a much-needed boost heading into tonight's game against No.
1-ranked Duke. The Yellow Jackets went on a 14-5 run at the end of their game Sunday against Maryland and got a 67-65 victory when James Forrest scored on a buzzer-beating basket. Forrest managed to get off a shot from an out-of-bounds pass by Jon Barry with just 0.2 seconds left. Georgia Tech had lost four in a row in the ACC.
Duke beat Georgia Tech 97-84 earlier this season.
Still on top: Duke seemed to do just fine without point guard Bobby Hurley. The Blue Devils defeated LSU with Grant Hill filling in for the injured Hurley. Hill played 40 minutes, hit 6 of 9 shots, made only three turnovers (none in the final 7:45) and had six assists. Hill had primarily been a small forward.
"Everybody was helping me out there," Hill said. "It's not like I had never played point before. I tried to run the offense and get everyone involved."
_ BOB HARIG