Danny Manning

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, left, signals to players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
AP Photo/Robert Franklin

Jackson, Auguste lead No. 25 Notre Dame over Wake 85-62

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Zach Auguste had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Demetrius Jackson added 14 points in his return to the starting lineup as No. 25 Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 85-62 on Sunday.

V.J. Beachem added 15 points for the Fighting Irish (15-6, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Jackson, who missed a game with a pulled hamstring in a win over Boston College last week, added eight assists and seven rebounds. Notre Dame’s leading scorer missed Thursday’s loss to Syracuse.

Devin Thomas had 19 points and eight rebounds for Wake Forest (10-11, 1-8), which never led. The Demon Deacons have lost six in a row.

Johnson scores 27, No. 2 UNC beats Wake Forest 83-68

North Carolina's Brice Johnson (11) reacts following a basket against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. North Carolina won 83-68. North Carolina's Marcus Paige (5) and Kennedy Meeks (3) look on at rear. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina got away with Marcus Paige having one of his lowest-scoring games because Brice Johnson came through with one of his best.

Johnson had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the second-ranked Tar Heels beat Wake Forest 83-68 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight win.

Despite not having any other double-figure scorers, the Tar Heels (17-2, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended their best start to conference play since 2000-01, coasting through a second half in which they made just nine field goals and shot 26.5 percent.

“We had the mentality that we were going to outscore them, not defend them,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to not have that mentality going forward.”

The Tar Heels never trailed and overcame one of their worst shooting performances of the season (38.4 percent) by forcing Wake Forest into 19 turnovers and turning them into 21 points.

North Carolina – which appears in line to return to No. 1 after Oklahoma’s loss earlier this week – reeled off 12 straight points late in the first half to build a comfortable lead, then went up by 27 after halftime.

That all happened despite very little falling for Paige, who Johnson called “a ticking time bomb waiting to happen.” Coach Roy Williams said he’s “never had a player that I’ve had more confidence in in my entire life than Marcus Paige.”

The star guard missed his first seven shots before he flipped one in from the lane with about 5 1/2 minutes left. He matched a career low with two points and is a combined 3 for 25 since his 30-point game at Florida State.

“As long as we win, I’m fine,” Paige said. “I’ll be ready when I’m needed to make shots. Tonight, we didn’t need me to make very many shots. … We just played better than them tonight, so I’m not too worried about (the slump).”

It sure helped to have Johnson, who was 8 of 12 in matching the second-highest-scoring game of his career, surpassed only by the 39 points he put up against Florida State on Jan. 4. He also matched a career high by making 11 free throws.

Bryant Crawford scored 18 points and Devin Thomas had 17 for the Demon Deacons (10-8, 1-5), who fell to 5-21 in the Dean Smith Center. They lost their third straight overall and have dropped five of six in January.

“In the second half, we did some better things,” coach Danny Manning said, “but at that point it was too far in the ballgame.”

The Tar Heels broke this one open with that big run late in the first half, a burst started by Johnson’s back-to-back buckets – including a pretty turnaround hook shot from the baseline. Luke Maye had two tip-ins during the run, including one that made it 42-23 with just under 3 minutes left before the break.


“`Satisfaction’ is not part of my language right now.” – Williams, irritated at his team’s second-half performance.


Television viewers missed about 45 minutes of the ESPN2 broadcast due to what ESPN called technical difficulties. North Carolina officials said the signal was leaving the arena fine, but was having trouble somewhere between Chapel Hill and Bristol. The feed finally started to work during the final moments of the first half.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons haven’t won in Chapel Hill since 2010, and since that night, they’ve won just three ACC road games.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels were without 6-foot-10 forward Joel James, who has an injured Achilles tendon. James made seven of his eight starts while Kennedy Meeks was injured but averages only 10.6 minutes and 2.9 points.


Wake Forest visits No. 15 Miami on Saturday.

North Carolina plays at Virginia Tech on Sunday.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Kennard, Plumlee help No. 14 Duke survive rebounding troubles

Duke center Marshall Plumlee (40) is hugged by forward Sean Obi late in the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Duke won 91-75. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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With Devin Thomas doing whatever he wanted in the paint and Wake Forest controlling the boards, No. 14 Duke found itself in a dogfight in Winston Salem Wednesday night. But thanks to some key contributions from the likes of Luke Kennard and Marshall Plumlee, and second-half foul trouble for Thomas, the Blue Devils managed to pull away and win by the final score of 91-75.

Kennard (23 points) and Plumlee (18 points, seven rebounds) combined to score 29 points in the second half, with the latter returning to the court after playing limited minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Both were able to take advantage of a Wake Forest defense that both struggled with dribble penetration and became even softer once Thomas sat down at two critical points in the second half.

The senior’s first noteworthy trip to the bench came with 18:06 remaining, as he followed up his second personal foul with a technical (moving the count to three). Plumlee and Kennard combined to score six of Duke’s next eight points, which allowed the Blue Devils to keep a decent cushion against a team more than capable of pulling off the upset. And when Thomas picked up his fourth foul with eight minutes remaining, that same tandem combined to score 13 of Duke’s next 18 points.

What was once a close contest with both teams capable of winning turned into a comfortable Duke victory, thanks in large part to the contributions of Kennard and Plumlee.

Grayson Allen was efficient in scoring his 24 points, shooting 7-for-10 from the field and dishing out three assists with just one turnover, and Brandon Ingram added 17. At this point in the season contributions of that magnitude are expected of those two. But if Duke is to make a run at an ACC title and play deep into March, they’re going to need consistent production from Plumlee inside. He’s been holding down the fort with Amile Jefferson out due to injury, and with Duke’s lack of depth inside they need the senior 7-footer on the floor as much as possible.

Just as important is the increased productivity (and confidence) of Kennard off the bench. Wednesday marks the fifth time in the last six games that Kennard’s scored in double figures, and his offense off the bench was key with Matt Jones scoring just two points on 1-for-8 shooting.

The rebounding against Wake Forest is a concern, as the Demon Deacons (19 offensive rebounds) grabbed 46.3 percent of their available missed shots and scored 20 second-chance points. Duke’s first-shot defense was solid, but their inability to close out possessions on that end got them in trouble.

Thanks in part to the play of Luke Kennard and Marshall Plumlee, the rebounding struggles did not keep Duke from moving to 2-0 in the ACC.