TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Second-seeded Wake Forest can advance to the "Sweet 16" for the first time since 1996 on Sunday when it meets No. 10 Auburn in the second round of the East Region.
Wake Forest (25-5) is just 3-3 in four NCAA Tournament appearances since a Tim Duncan-led team lost to Kentucky in a regional final in 1996. The Demon Deacons are led by senior swingman Josh Howard, their first All-American since Duncan.
Howard had a rough game on Friday as Wake Forest survived a scare in the first round for a 76-73 victory over East Tennessee State. The Demon Deacons avoided becoming the second No. 2 seed to lose to a fifteenth seed.
Freshman Eric Williams had a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds and Taron Downey mailed five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. It helped the Demon Deacons overcome 4-of-11 shooting by Howard, who hit the glass hard and had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Auburn (21-11) used some big plays from Marquis Daniels in overtime to post a 65-63 victory over Saint Joseph's in the first round. Daniels dunked and had an athletic three-point play to rally the Tigers from a 63-59 deficit in the extra session.
"He's athletic, he takes big shots, makes big shots," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "He's a senior, and I think he revels being in that type of situation. He's got a bit of Josh in him in that he does a lot of things - he's not one-dimensional. He drives the basketball well."
The Demon Deacons are planning to use a combination of Downey and freshman Justin Gray on Daniels, an Orlando native playing in front of friends and family.
Daniels scored 25 points and Marco Killingsworth added 14. Derrick Bird netted 11 points for Auburn, which is 11-7 all time in the NCAA Tournament.
Auburn has not advanced to the regional semifinals since 1999.
Wake Forest and Auburn have split six games and the Demon Deacons posted a 76-67 victory in the last meeting in the 1983-84 season. Tigers coach Cliff Ellis, who coached at Atlantic Coast Conference school Clemson from 1984-94, is 13-9 against Wake Forest.
The winner advances to Albany, New York to take on Syracuse or Oklahoma State on Friday.