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College basketball

Wake Forest protects spot at top

©Associated Press
February 21, 2003

ATLANTA -- Josh Howard knew all too well how long it had been since Wake Forest won at Georgia Tech.

Howard scored 24 points and Justin Gray tied his season high with 20 as the 10th-ranked Demon Deacons beat the Yellow Jackets 75-67 Thursday night, ending Georgia Tech's 13-game home winning streak.

"The last time we beat Tech here, I was a freshman," Howard said. "I'm a senior, and I wanted to do it again."

Howard, the leading scorer in the ACC at 19 points, dominated from the start, making his first seven shots. Wake Forest stayed a half-game ahead of Duke and Maryland for the top spot in the ACC.

"We needed this game," he said. "A lot of people thought we'd finish seventh in the conference."

The Demon Deacons (18-4, 8-3) shot 53 percent, the first team this season to make at least half its shots at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Freshman Jarrett Jack had 19 points for the Yellow Jackets (12-11, 5-7). Chris Bosh, their second-leading scorer, struggled and finished with 13. He's shooting 33 percent in the past four games.

Georgia Tech lost at home for the first time since Feb. 9, 2002, and fell to 11-1 this season. On the road, the Yellow Jackets are 0-9.

"It's real disappointing to lose that home winning streak," B.J. Elder said. "That's the one thing we had going for us. Maybe we can turn it around on the road."

NO. 11 MARQUETTE 75, CHARLOTTE 67: Dwyane Wade scored 21 as the host Golden Eagles (19-4, 10-2) defeated the 49ers (10-13, 5-6) for the second time this season, rebounding from Saturday's loss to Louisville that ended their 28-game home winning streak.

Marquette is one-half game ahead of Louisville atop the American Division of C-USA.

Robert Jackson scored 14, Travis Diener 12 and Scott Merritt 11 for Marquette.

Charlotte, which beat Cincinnati 74-64 at home Saturday, has one C-USA road victory. Demon Brown led the 49ers with 22 points and Curtis Withers added 11.

Brown, who leads the nation with 5.1 3-pointers per game, went 6-of-17 from behind the arc.

Marquette opened the second half with a 12-5 run, with Wade scoring seven. The lead was 55-39 when Diener hit a 3-pointer with 13 minutes to play.

The 49ers, getting two 3-pointers from Brown, came within seven with 6:31 left before going scoreless for 2:26.

Brown's sixth 3-pointer was answered with a short jumper by Merritt and a three-point play by Jackson to make it 72-60.

Trailing 16-14 with 8:30 left in the first half, Marquette hit four 3-pointers -- three by 6-foot-10 freshman Steve Novak and one by Diener -- en route to a 17-2 run and a 31-18 lead.

NO. 21 STANFORD 73, SOUTHERN CAL 67: Justin Davis scored 20 and the visiting Cardinal (20-6, 11-3 Pac-10) achieved its ninth straight 20-win season. The Trojans (10-12, 5-8) played without Roy Smiley, who has a sprained right knee. USC's fourth-leading scorer with an 8.7-point average, Smiley might return Saturday night against California.

ACADEMIC TEAM: Florida's Matt Bonner and Miami's James Jones made the Academic All-District III team. The others: Adam Hess of William and Mary, Jon Larranga of George Mason and Brad McKeiver of Campbell. Bonner has a 3.98 grade-point average in business administration. James has a 3.405 cumulative GPA in finance.

Nation

CONNECTICUT: Coach Jim Calhoun led practice, two weeks after prostate cancer surgery, and he might coach Saturday's game against St. John's.

TEXAS TECH: School administrators will question coach Bob Knight about the suspension of two players.

Andre Emmett and Nick Valdez were suspended for Monday's game against Texas after missing breakfast and a walkthrough meeting that morning. Valdez's father said the players didn't receive a customary wakeup call and believe they were "set up" as punishment for the team's losses.

A spokesman for Knight called the claim "ridiculous" and said the players overslept.

Joe Valdez then sent a letter of apology to the coaching staff expressing his regret.

It is unclear whether Emmett and Valdez will play Saturday against Texas A&M. Valdez missed a second day of practice and it's unclear where he is.

State

TROY STATE 77, UCF 72: Ben Fletcher scored 17 as the visiting Trojans (20-5, 11-2) stayed tied for first in the Atlantic Sun South. The Golden Knights (18-9, 10-4) dropped to third in the South.

MERCER 87, FAU 72: Scott Emerson had 17 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Bears (18-5, 10-2 Atlantic Sun) overcame a nine-point halftime deficit. The Owls are 7-19, 3-11.

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