Paulus Spurs Duke To Title Game

After being thought of as a one or two man show for most of the previous month, the Blue Devils showed a very balanced attack to beat Wake Forest by 12 in the ACC semifinal round on Saturday.

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Greg Paulus set a new career high with 18 points and tied another with seven rebounds and top-seeded and No. 3 Duke (29-3) used a 13-2 run over six minutes mid-way through the second half to put away Wake Forest, the tournament's 12 seed, 78-66 Saturday here at the Greensboro Coliseum in the first semifinal of the 2006 ACC Tournament.

With the win, Duke advances to the championship game for a record ninth consecutive season. Since 1998, Duke is 24-2 in the ACC Tournament with six championships in the last seven seasons.

Duke's 13-2 run had an exclamation point put on it with three high-rising dunks by Josh McRoberts. McRoberts finished with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

J.J. Redick scored a team-high 20 points despite missing four minutes of the first half in the lockerroom after injuring his right knee. Shelden Williams finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Lee Melchionni came up big defensively with three steals and finished with six points on the offensive end. Paulus also recorded five assists against just one turnover for Duke, who committed a season-low five turnovers. In the tournament, Paulus has 10 assists against just one turnover.

The game was close for most of the first half and Duke found themselves trailing at the break for the fourth time in the last five games. Duke came out strong in the second half, opening on an 11-4 run that included a three-pointer from Redick and back-to-back layups from Paulus, the last of which he was fouled and connected on the free throw.

The game continued with Duke holding a one or two possession lead until the aforementioned 13-2 run gave Duke a 14 point lead and Duke was able to maintain a double-digit lead the remaining four minutes of the game.

Duke will now face the winner of second-seeded North Carolina vs. third-seeded Boston College Sunday at 1 p.m. for the ACC Championship.


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