Demon Deacons show lighter side

Player, coach get chance to joke after rare win

ACC tournament notebook

March 10, 2006|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

Greensboro, N.C. -- Following their 78-66 upset of fifth-seeded Florida State yesterday in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wake Forest senior Justin Gray and his coach relished the unfamiliar spotlight in the post-game news conference at the Greensboro Coliseum with a little humor and wit.

After all, there haven't been many opportunities this season for the conference cellar dweller to answer questions about an ACC win.

"A wise man told me, the last thing you do is what people are going to remember," said Gray, who finished with 25 points and made 12 of 15 from the free-throw line.

"I thought you were sleeping during that," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said.

It actually began on a serious note, as Prosser, Gray and senior Eric Williams spoke about those who doubted the 12th-seeded Demon Deacons because of their winless conference road record and 3-13 finish in the ACC.

Then it ended with somewhat of a comedic skit.

Gray said he enjoyed the tournament because there are more game minutes than there is practice time. He immediately segued into a flawless imitation of Allen Iverson that had everyone in the room laughing.

"Practice?" he said. "We're talkin' 'bout practice. I'm an All-Star. Practice? We're not talkin' about a game, we're talkin' 'bout practice."

To which the ACC moderator concluded the session with a smile, and, "Does anyone have a question about practice?"

Hurricane health

Miami junior guard Guillermo Diaz was struggling to catch his breath on the bench, and coughing throughout the Hurricanes' game against Clemson yesterday, but the flu didn't stop Diaz from scoring a game-high 22 points to lead his team to a 66-63 come-from-behind win.

Diaz talked to trainers and doctors before the opening game, and said he didn't know if he'd be able to play. He didn't eat much of his pre-game meal, but still had enough energy remaining to dish an assist to Denis Clemente, who hit a three-pointer for a 62-60 lead with 50.9 seconds left. It was the first edge for Miami since it led 9-6 with about 16 minutes left in the first half.

Four in four?

No team has won four games in four days here, and that's what it would take for one of the teams in the first round to win the championship game Sunday. The top four seeds received a bye in the first round and will play for the first time today.

"Whenever you win, you get a jolt of adrenaline and you go play the next day," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team won three straight here for the title in 2004.

Layups

In its first season as a member of the ACC, No. 3 seed Boston College (24-6, 11-5) enters today's game having a 3-0 record on Tobacco Road, having defeated Wake Forest, North Carolina and N.C. State this season. ... Though some have projected only four teams from the ACC to participate in the NCAA tournament, this week's Rating Percentage Index has the league ranked third behind the Big Ten and the Big East.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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