Teague helps Wake Forest hold off UTEPNov 29, 2008 - 7:59 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Wake Forest reached the championship game of the 76 Classic on Friday, but it was not easy.
Jeff Teague scored 22 of his 29 points in the second half as the 24th-ranked Demon Deacons survived their second straight scare in the tournament with an 82-79 win over Texas-El Paso.
Wake Forest (5-0) will face Baylor in Sunday's title game.
"I thought it was a real character win by our guys," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. "I thought we gutted it out, I thought we showed a lot of character and really hung together when UTEP made its runs. I am really proud of our guys."
In Thursday's quarterfinal, the Demon Deacons held off Cal State-Fullerton, 75-69, as the Titans sliced a 14-point deficit to three in the final minutes.
Twenty-four hours later, Wake Forest once again had trouble putting away an opponent.
This time, the Demon Deacons led by as many as 13 in the second half but the Miners (3-2) rallied behind Stefon Jackson, who poured in 31 points.
Wake Forest also was hurt on the boards, getting outscored 24-8 in second-chance points.
Two straight baskets by Claude Britten following offensive rebounds pulled the Miners within 78-76 with 50 seconds to play.
Overall, UTEP finished with a 26-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
Teague hit a pair from the line to make it 80-76 with 23 seconds remaining, but Jackson completed a three-point play to pull UTEP within 80-79 with 16 seconds left.
After Teague made two more from the line two seconds later, Jackson forced a 3-pointer that was off the mark.
Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu could not clinch the win, missing a pair from the line with two seconds on the clock.
However, Randy Culpepper's desperation 3-pointer from behind the midcourt line caromed off the front of the rim as time expired.
"It's hard to take," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "They have an unbelievable team, and I respect Dino Gaudio and the job he does. I thought we were playing the (Los Angeles) Lakers today, as big as they were.
"There are no moral victories. My team truly believes that anytime we touch the floor we are as good as anyone. Period. We have to finish these games off."
Teague finished 7-of-14 from the field and converted 13-of-16 free throws. He also handed out six assists and blocked two shots.
James Johnson scored 18 points and Aminu added 15 and eight rebounds for the Demon Deacons, who shot 54 percent (28-of-52) from the floor.
Despite his impressive point total, Jackson went 9-of-23 from the field, playing a major role in the Miners' offensive issues.
UTEP ended up shooting 34 percent (27-of-79), including 4-of-21 on 3-pointers.
- ANAHEIM CLASSIC
AT ANAHEIM CA
NCAA BB ANAHEIM CLASSIC
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
UTEP 33 46 79
WAKE FOREST (24) 42 40 82 FINAL
Nov 28 5:59 PM
- ANAHEIM CLASSIC
AT ANAHEIM CA
NCAA BB UTEP 33
(24) WAKE FOREST 42 HALFTIME
Nov 28 4:37 PM
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