for this game

Teague, Wake Forest top North Carolina

Jan 12, 2009 - 5:32 AM WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jeff Teague and Wake Forest showed that there might just have been a shift of power in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Teague scored a career-high 34 points as fourth-ranked Wake Forest continued North Carolina's struggles to start conference play, capturing a 92-89 victory on Sunday.

Chas McFarland had 20 points and freshman Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in nine before fouling out for the Demon Deacons (14-0, 1-0 ACC), who came up big in their league opener.

"I just thought it was a great college basketball game," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. "If we would have been on the other end of that, I would have said the same thing. It was a great atmosphere. The people saw two pretty good teams.

"I thought our defense in the second half did a great job of getting back and keeping them from transitioning. We thought a lot this season getting our defense to where it needs to be. Good win against a great basketball team."

Off to its best start since the 1980-81 season, Wake Forest remained one of three unbeaten teams left in the nation along with Clemson (16-0) and Pittsburgh (14-0).

Danny Green scored 22 points and Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington added 17 each for the third-ranked Tar Heels (14-2, 0-2), who began 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since 1996-97.

"It's what it is," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We're 0-2 and we have to try to play better and be more effective. I told the kids that during Tyler (Hansbrough), Bobby (Frasor) and Danny's (Green) freshman year, we were 3-3 at one time and ended up 12-4.

"It is a long season. I'm still looking at the big picture and know that we can get a lot better. There's no question that the conference race is always our No. 1 goal, but it's not over with after two games."

Despite the close final score, the Demon Deacons unmistakably outplayed the Tar Heels, who were considered a strong candidate for an undefeated season prior to last Sunday's upset loss to Boston College in their league opener.

"This was a big win," Teague said. "We only play them once and we wanted to make it count. (Teammate) Harvey Hale came into the locker room saying it was his last time to play Carolina and he has never beaten them. We all put on our hearts that this game was for him."

Although it bounced back to thrash the College of Charleston on Wednesday, North Carolina still appeared out of sorts against the younger and quicker Wake Forest squad.

Behind the sophomore Teague, the Demon Deacons raced out to a 25-16 lead just over 10 minutes in while the Tar Heels struggled with turnovers - committing 10 in as many minutes.

North Carolina would go on to finish with 18 giveaways - twice the numbers of its assists.

"You look down and you have nine assists and 18 turnovers," Williams said. "That's not the way we're supposed to play basketball."

UNC also struggled shooting, going 1-of-8 on 3-pointers prior to the break. But it did managed a number of trips to the foul line, converting all 13 of its attempts in the opening 20 minutes to forge a 44-44 tie at the break.

The intermission was not enough to reverse the shooting fortunes for the Tar Heels, who missed their first nine shots of the second half in falling behind the Demon Deacons, 54-50, with 16:29 to play.

North Carolina did pull ahead at 57-54 on a three-point play by Will Graves with 15:06 left, but that would be the last lead for the former top-ranked team.

Teague hit one of his three 3-pointers with 12:42 remaining and sank two free throws more than 3 1/2 minutes later to cap a 12-5 run, giving Wake Forest a 70-63 lead.

"I told Jeff Teague that that was about as good a performance as I've seen in a long time against a team that I've coached," Williams said. "I thought he was sensational."

Although the Demon Deacons extended the advantage to eight points at 81-73 on McFarland's layup off a pick-and-roll with 4:34 left, the Tar Heels were still not to be counted out.

Although North Carolina had been struggling for the arc except for Green, Wayne Ellington sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around two free throws by McFarland to cut the deficit to 84-80.

The junior sharpshooter had been 0-of-4 from the arc before that stretch.

Ishmael Smith then missed a layup for Wake Forest, allowing UNC to potentially pull closer. However, Hansbrough uncharacteristically forced a bad 3-point attempt with 1:44 to play.

To make matters worse, the rebound caromed off the front of the rim, past the senior forward and to McFarland, who then rumbled down the court for a fast-break layup and an 86-80 lead with 1:38 left.

Ellington was later fouled on another 3-point attempt, making all three free throws to bring his team within 87-83 with 1:16 to play. But Teague put the Tar Heels away at the line, making 5-of-6 in the closing 66 seconds.

"I really liked the way my club tried to come back," Williams said. "We just gave ourselves too big of a hill to climb. We didn't make enough shots, turned it over too much. The best team tonight won the basketball game."

While the Tar Heels shot just 28 percent in the second half and 35 percent (26-of-74) for the game, the Demon Deacons came up big offensively, going 29-of-61 (47.5 percent) from the floor and converting 28-of-39 free throws.

"Statistically, I thought our free-throw percentage and field-goal percentage were the big points of the game," Gaudio said. "Sixteen turnovers are not what I would like. If we were on 12, I would have been happier. I thought our field-goal percentages defensively were the keys."

Teague finished 13-of-15 on free throws and shot 9-of-17 from the floor. He also grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists.

It was Teague's third 30-point game of the season. He is the only ACC player with multiple games of 30 or more points.

Along with bothering Hansbrough on the defensive end, McFarland went 7-of-10 from the floor en route to tying a season high in points. He also grabbed nine boards, including five on the offensive end.

Hansbrough ended up shooting just 3-of-12, a stat that was somewhat erased by his 11-of-13 effort from the stripe. The reigning National Player of the Year also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Yet, the 6-9 senior - and the rest of the Tar Heels, for that matter - had a great deal of trouble with the Demon Deacons' size inside. It was a point not lost on Williams.

"They have great length inside," he said. "It's hard to score inside. It's hard to get an open look inside. That length keeps coming at you from the bench too."