Junior guard J.J. Redick scored a career-high 38 points after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski shook up the starting lineup, and reserve Lee Melchionni added 15 as the seventh-ranked Blue Devils roared past No. 5 Wake Forest, 102-92, last night at Durham. N.C. to avoid their first three-game losing streak in nine Years.
Duke (19-4, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) had its way with the Demon Deacons in the second half. After trailing by 2 at the break, the Blue Devils shot 61 percent in the final 20 minutes to reach their highest point total of the season.
Chris Paul had 27 points and Trent Strickland scored 17 for Wake Forest (22-4, 10-3), which fell out of a first-place tie with North Carolina.
Duke center Shelden Williams more than held his own in the matchup with Eric Williams, finishing with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. And Melchionni, a junior who played very little during his first two seasons, came up with big play after big play when the Blue Devils needed it most.
Melchionni came in averaging only 6.8 points a game, but beat that total during a 90-second span of the second half. The lefthander swished a 3-pointer for a 5-point lead, jumped in the passing lane for a steal that led to his own dunk, then spun in the paint for a short jumper.
On the other end, he drew a charge from Wake Forest guard Justin Gray, who went to the bench with his fourth foul with 14:30 left. Duke eventually went ahead, 88-69, before the Deacons staged a furious rally to make the final respectable, getting within 7 with 1:15 remaining.
The Blue Devils closed it out at the free throw line to win for only the third time in six games.
Villanova 80, Pittsburgh 72 -- Allan Ray hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half to lift the No. 25 Wildcats over the No. 17 Panthers at Villanova, Pa. Ray's most important 3 points came late in the game, however, and not from behind the arc, but off a tough turnaround jumper with 1:05 left that resulted in a successful free throw and stopped a 10-0 run by the Panthers that ended their chance for a comeback victory.
Curtis Sumpter scored 18 points, Randy Foye added 15 and Villanova went 12 for 23 from 3-point range, helping the Wildcats (17-6, 7-5 Big East) win for the eighth time in 10 games to bolster their chances of making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999.
Aaron Gray, a 7-foot center, continued to get major minutes off the bench and scored a career-high 15 points for the Panthers (18-5, 8-4). Carl Krauser had 16 points with six turnovers. Chris Taft added 11 points.
With a noticeable size difference thanks to Villanova's three-guard lineup, the Wildcats won by doing what they do best -- shooting well from the perimeter. Ray hit three 3s during a 17-2 run early in the second half that turned a 2-point halftime deficit into a 12-point lead.
Arizona 91, Oregon St. 70 -- Salim Stoudamire sank a school record nine 3-pointers and scored 31 points in his final home game as the No. 10 Wildcats won their sixth in a row by routing the Beavers in Tucson, Ariz. Channing Frye added 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Wildcats stayed alone in first place in the Pac-10. Stoudamire and Frye, both seniors in their last contest at McKale Center, left the game with 9:43 to play and Arizona leading, 74-49.
Hassan Adams had 13 points and tied his season high with 10 rebounds for the Wildcats (23-4, 13-2 Pac-10), who finished 15-1 at home. Ivan Radenovic added 10 points.
Nick DeWitz and Jason Fontenet scored 16, and David Lucas had 15 for the Beavers (14-11, 6-8), who fell to 0-7 on the road in the Pac-10.
Stoudamire, 9 for 14 on 3-pointers, broke Jason Gardner's school record of eight, set against Kansas Dec. 1, 2001.
Louisville 84, St. Louis 66 -- Taquan Dean hit five 3-pointers for 15 points and the host No. 12 Cardinals (23-4, 11-2 Conference USA) put together their best offensive performance in weeks for the victory. Larry O'Bannon scored 17, Francisco Garcia added 13 and Ellis Myles finished with 13 points and 18 rebounds for Louisville.
Louisville shot 30 for 61 for 49.2 percent, its highest percentage since converting 53 percent in a 99-52 win over Marquette Jan. 26.
Fordham 56, URI 54 -- Marcus Stout, who led all scorers with 18 points, hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining to lift Fordham's Rams (11-13, 7-6 Atlantic 10) over Rhode Island's Rams (4-19, 2-10) in New York.
Brandeis 94, Case 78 -- Center Bryan Lambert led five players in double figures with 24 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the host Judges (14-10, 7-6 UAA) clinch their first winning season in 10 years.
St. Joseph's 69, Maine-Fort Kent 60 -- Senior Jon Pratt of Gloucester scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help lift the Monks (13-10) at Standish, Maine.
Emmanuel 96, Southern Vt. 77 -- Bobby Brown's game-high 22 points helped the Saints (16-9, 13-5 GNAC) romp in Boston.
Johnson & Wales 3, Wentworth 2 -- Matt McGilvary's power-play goal at 14:19 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie as the Wildcats (9-13-2, 8-6-0 ECAC Northeast) upset the Leopards (14-9-2, 11-2-2) at Matthews Arena.