THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Monday, February 12, 1996 TAG: 9602120150 SECTION: SPORTS PAGE: C2 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY FRANK VEHORN, STAFF WRITER DATELINE: WINSTON-SALEM LENGTH: Medium: 90 lines
Wake Forest coach Dave Odom had predicted Sunday's game against Duke would not hinge on a grudge match between centers Tim Duncan and Greg Newton.
Good thing for Odom and his ACC-leading Deacons it didn't, either.
Newton, who had tossed some barbed zingers at Wake Forest's All-American center after last month's game, showed he could walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
But despite Newton's inspired performance that resulted in 20 points and nine rebounds, the ninth-ranked Deacons led most of the way for an eighth straight win over the Blue Devils, 79-65.
The victory kept the Deacons (16-3) a half-game ahead of Georgia Tech in the ACC title race.
While most of the sellout crowd of 14,407 focused on Duncan and Newton, the Deacons leaned heavily on Rusty LaRue's 17 points and Sean Allen's 15 to subdue the Blue Devils (13-10).
The 6-foot-10 Duncan had his usual double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds), but he was so ineffective defensively on Newton late in the game that Odom shifted Allen to guard Newton.
``Newton played extremely well, and I showed the respect I have for him when I took Tim off him,'' Odom said.
Newton admitted he expected to get heat from the dominant Wake Forest crowd - which he did - and knew he had to play well.
``They would have buried me if I hadn't done well,'' the 6-foot-10 Canadian laughed.
After Wake's narrow 57-54 win in Durham last month, Newton said he thought Duncan's game was soft and that he was not very aggressive.
Newton didn't back away from those comments Sunday, but he acknowledged they would have been better left unsaid.
``No one misinterpreted what I said, and what I said was the truth,'' Newton said. ``But it shouldn't have been said, really.''
Unlike the game in Durham, Newton was not assigned defensively to Duncan.
Freshman Taymon Domazlski, a more physical player, drew that assignment and did well to limit Duncan to six field goals.
``He (Domazlski) played great, very strong,'' Duncan said. ``He has a future in this league.''
Duncan also had kind words for Newton, whom he had sarcastically referred to as ``the greatest player in the world'' after the Durham game.
``He just had a great all-around game, but especially on offense,'' Duncan said, this time with no sarcasm.
Duncan insisted he was not still bothered by Newton's remarks following the first game, and neither showed much emotion toward the other during the game.
Newton did take one of Duncan's elbows to the throat in the second half, but both agreed it was unintentional.
``The only thing we said to each other came after the game,'' Newton said. ``I told him `good game,' and I think he said the same to me.''
The Blue Devils were without starting forward Carmen Wallace, who injured a knee in Friday's practice.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wallace, one his most consistent players lately, might be out the remainder of the season.
Krzyzewski refused to offer Wallace's injury as an excuse, but Odom volunteered that his absence did affect on the game.
``Duke did a tremendous job of overcoming that as best it could,'' Odom said.
The aggressive Blue Devils bolted to a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes before the Deacons went on a 19-2 run.
Duke's only field goal during the 10-minute stretch was from Newton.
It was during that run that Krzyzewski, frustrated by his team's mounting fouls, got hit with a technical foul.
The Blue Devils, whose three previous losses were by a combined 4 points, used Newton's offense to make runs at the Deacons but never regained the lead.
Back-to-back goals by Newton clipped Wake's lead to 56-51 at 7:50 before the Deacons pulled away for a final time.
RETIRED NUMBER: Rodney Rogers, who had 1,720 points in three seasons at Wake Forest before leaving to join the NBA in 1993, had his No. 54 jersey retired.
Rogers was named the ACC Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the ACC Player of the Year in 1993, when he led the league with a scoring average of 21.2 points.
The 6-foot-7 Rogers became the seventh Demon Deacon to have his number suspended from the rafters at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
He joins Muggsy Bogues (14), Len Chappell (50), Randolph Childress (22), Charlie Davis (12), Rod Griffin (32) and Dickie Hemric (24). ILLUSTRATION: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sean Allen of Wake and Duke's Taymon Domzalski battle for a loose