Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser jokingly refers to the Demon Deacons' recent seasons as the "S.T." era: Since Tim Duncan. Chris Paul could be on his way to changing that.
The freshman point guard had 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists yesterday to lift Wake Forest past Manhattan, 84-80, in the second round of the East Rutherford Regional.
Paul finished 10 for 14 from the floor and 8 for 9 from the foul line for the fourth-seeded Demon Deacons (21-9), who made it through the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend for the first time in eight years. Wake Forest will face top-seeded Saint Joseph's in the third round.
"Sometimes I just find myself watching [Paul]," said Justin Gray, Wake Forest's leading scorer this season who was limited to just 6 points. "It seems like he'll go on a run by himself . . . I'm glad on his team, I can tell you that much."
Luis Flores had 20 points and Dave Holmes added 19 for the 12th-seeded Jaspers (25-6), who reached the second round with a 75-60 upset of fifth-seeded Florida.
"I thought Chris Paul was the best guard we've played against all year, literally the best player we saw all season," Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "He's a whole different level." The Demon Deacons hadn't made it through the first two rounds since Duncan led them to the round of eight in 1996. Wake Forest missed the tournament from 1998-2000 and had three early exits after that in a period that included two straight second-round losses, including last year's loss as a No. 2 seed to Auburn.
But Paul is writing his own history.
In last week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament loss to Maryland, Paul had 30 points and nine assists. He followed that with 22 points and seven assists in a 79-78 first-round win against Virginia Commonwealth. Yesterday, Paul had three steals and two blocks with just one turnover in 38 minutes. He was most clutch at the end. The Jaspers twice closed the gap to 2 in the final two minutes, but Paul answered each time.
After Jason Benton's stickback brought Manhattan within 80-78, Paul banked in a drive over Kenny Minor for a 4-point lead with 1:25 to play. Manhattan pulled back within 2, then Paul sealed it by finding Trent Strickland alone under the basket for a slam with 11.2 seconds left.
Duke 90, Seton Hall 62 -- J.J. Redick broke out of a shooting slump as the Duke guard scored 21 points to guide the Blue Devils past Seton Hall and into the second round. Top-seeded Duke (29-5) had struggled of late mainly because of the poor play by Redick, who had shot only 34 percent over the nine games leading into the tournament. But the team's leading scorer started heating up in the second half of Duke's opening win against Alabama State, and he kept it going against the eighth-seeded Pirates (21-10). He made his first four shots -- his first nine if you count his five straight free throws -- and wound up 6 for 10 from the field, 7 for 7 from the line.
Luol Deng finished 6 for 9 for 20 points and Shelden Williams contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Blue Devils shot 54 percent in advancing to the second weekend of the tournament for the seventh straight time.
Duke will face the winner of today's game between Cincinnati and Illinois.
Seton Hall was overmatched and unable to get a big game from its best player, all-Big East guard Andre Barrett, who had just 8 points and five assists.
It took 15 minutes for Redick to miss his first shot. By then, the Blue Devils were ahead, 35-17. Seton Hall worked the lead down to 9 late in the first half, but Redick hit a 3-pointer for a 40-28 lead just before halftime.
Kelly Whitney and John Allen led the Pirates with 14 points each.