Saturday, March 21, 2009

ACC BLACK FRIDAY

No. 13 CLEVELAND STATE 84, No. 4 WAKE FOREST 69 - All three ACC teams lost in the first round yesterday, and all were upsets – at least on paper.

While a case could be made by bracketeers that surging USC (10) would knock –off higher seeded BC (7) and Bo Ryan’s Badgers might pull the 12/5 upset on the one-dimensional Seminoles, precious few saw Cleveland State (13) shocking Wake Forest.

But that’s exactly what they did.

The Vikings (26-10) raced to an early 17-point lead and withstood a second-half rally by the Demon Deacons in a manner reminiscent of Cleveland State’s only other tournament appearance in 1986, when they upset Indiana and Bob Knight in the opening round.

It was Wake Forest’s (24-7) first tournament game since 2005. "It's very disappointing," Demon Deacons scoring-leader Jeff Teague said. "We expected to do damage in this tournament. To lose in the first round is hard to take."

In a disconcerting imitation of their neighbor to the south, Clemson, the Deacs won their first 16 games and was No. 1 for a week in January, but sputtered late losing its final two games of the season.

Sputtering offense again plagued Wake – that and 18 turnovers as Cleveland State held the Deacons well below its scoring average of 81 points per game.

Jeff Teague was shut out for the first 13 minutes, totaled two points in the first half and finished with 10, half of his average. James Johnson's trio of 3-pointers kept Wake Forest in the game in the first half, and he finished with 22 points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17.

"We have an incredibly disappointed locker room right now," coach Dino Gaudio said. "Hopefully we learned from this experience."

J'Nathan Bullock scored 21 points for Cleveland State, and Cedric Jackson had 19 points and eight assists.

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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