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Tampa subregional

Deacons seeing double as they watch Daniels

By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2003

TAMPA -- If Wake Forest is the Josh Howard show, Wake Forest against Auburn has the potential to be a two-spotlight stage.

Tigers forward Marquis Daniels has heard the comparisons to Howard, especially after Friday's 65-63 overtime win against Saint Joseph's. Daniels was Auburn's high-energy star after scoring 25 and adding eight rebounds in 42 minutes.

Even scarier, though, is that he is a mirror image of Howard, who averages 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds and is an All-America selection and the ACC player of the year.

"He (Daniels) reminds me a lot of Josh Howard," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "He's athletic, he takes big shots, makes big shots. He's a senior who I think revels in being in that type of situation.

He's got a bit of Josh in him in that he does a lot of things and he's not one-dimensional. ... That's what I see."

Prosser is not the only one. After analyzing the tape of Daniels in Friday's Auburn-Saint Joseph's game, the players saw a lot of similarities between the players. Auburn senior guard Derrick Bird said Howard plays "almost exactly like Marquis."

Howard didn't have one of his best games against ETSU on Friday, but he hopes to come back strong today. If he does and Daniels has recovered from the overtime game, the matchup should be one of the best between forwards in the second round.

BOARD BULLIES: The ACC is viewed as a finesse conference that is light on contact this season, but the Demon Deacons see themselves as the pushy players in a pretty conference.

"I think we're pretty hard-nosed," freshman guard Justin Gray said. "We go to the boards, I mean, we lead the country in rebounding margin, and not too many teams in the ACC have done that. We just attack the boards, and if you're not going to put a body on us, we're going to keep going to the boards."

Wake Forest has outrebounded its opponent 28 times in 30 games this season and had a rebounding margin of 10 or more in 19 games.

NOTES:Wake Forest leads the series against Auburn 3-2. The Deacons are 3-1 against No.10 seeds in NCAA Tournament play. ... If the Deacons beat the Tigers today, their 26 wins will tie the school record for wins. Wake Forest was 26-6 in 1995-96. ... Wake Forest is 21-0 when it is leading with 10 minutes remaining. ... This is the first time Auburn coach Cliff Ellis and Prosser have coached against each other.

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