Jan. 17, 2009
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Clemson, S.C. (AP) – Jeff Teague scored 24 points and No. 2 Wake Forest set a school record with a 16-0 start, handing No. 10 Clemson its first loss of the season, 78-68 on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons (16-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) looked like they had this one in hand, leading 58-44 after L.D. Williams’ 3-pointer with 9:32 left.
However, the Tigers (16-1, 2-1) used a 16-3 run over the next 5 minutes to pull within 61-60.
Teague rushed the ball up court on Wake’s next possession, finding a sprinting Al-Farouq Aminu for a dunk. James Johnson followed with a free throw and two baskets and the Demon Deacons were on their way to surpassing the school mark for best start since 1926-27.
Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Aminu, a freshman, had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Terrence Olgesby and K.C. Rivers both had 15 points for Clemson.
Clemson fell a win short of tying its best start, established in 1986-87 and matched two years ago. The Tigers will have their hands full to avoid losing two in a row as they head to No. 5 North Carolina, where they are 0-53, on Wednesday night.
It was the second straight time Wake Forest came out on top in a matchup of top 10 teams at Littlejohn Coliseum. In 1997, the fourth-ranked Demon Deacons, led by Tim Duncan’s 16 points and 15 rebounds, defeated the second-ranked Tigers and coach Rick Barnes, 65-62.
This time, Teague’s steady hand and a solid defense won out for Wake Forest.
Clemson, the ACC’s third-best shooting team coming in, was held to its poorest shooting half of the season in the opening 20 minutes. The Tigers missed 13 straight shots at one stretch as Wake Forest went from a point behind to leading 37-27.
The Demon Deacons eventually stretched it out until Clemson’s rally.
This one had all the trappings of a big event on this campus – a football game complete with Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney and star tailback C.J. Spiller.
Scalpers holding “I need tickets” signs surrounded the parking lots and entranceways at Littlejohn Coliseum.
And Clemson pulled out all the stops.
Each seat had a square orange flag with a white tiger paw in the middle.
Swinney came out at halftime to introduce what he called his first “10-star recruit” in Spiller, who passed up the NFL draft for his senior season.
Then Wake Forest showed off a defense that might’ve made Swinney envious.
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