NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Wake Forest remained unbeaten and atop the college basketball polls by doing something that no one ever had before - beat a squad coached by Lute Olson in Madison Square Garden.
Justin Gray scored 21 points and Jamaal Levy came up with a key defensive play in the final minute as top-ranked Wake Forest posted a 63-60 triumph over No. 17 Arizona in the Preseason NIT championship game.
Ranked in the nation for the first time in school history, Wake Forest (5-0) preserved its position by rallying from an early deficit and turning up the defensive intensity late.
"I guess the team is offensively talented," Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser said. "Now having said that, the ends of the defense is wrapping up the defensive possession with defensive rebounds."
Taron Downey scored 11 points and Eric Williams added 10 as the Demon Deacons improved to 7-1 all-time in this event and avenged a loss to Syracuse in the final here in 2001.
The loss here was Olson's first in 12 games - a streak that dated to 1973, when the venerable coach was at Long Beach State. He guided Arizona (4-1) to Preseason NIT titles in 1990, 1995 and 1999.
"It's disappointing," said Olson, who also had his 15-game winning streak in this tournament snapped. "But it wasn't because our guys didn't play hard. It wasn't a case of our coming out and not being ready to play. I thought we played with a lot of passion."
The Demon Deacons won despite an off night by star guard Chris Paul, who finished with just four points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Hasan Adams scored 19 points and Salim Stoudamire added 16 for Arizona, which was meeting Wake Forest for the first time.
The Wildcats had a couple of chances to take the lead after Adams' 3-pointer got them within 61-60 with 86 seconds to play.
Levy appeared to get a piece of a shot by Mustafa Shakur with 24 seconds to go, but Gray missed the front end of a 1-on-1. Olson did not call his final timeout and Shakur's eight-footer was short with 1.2 seconds to play.
"Well, they didn't drop the help and that's what he was trying to do to get that open," Olson explained. "But you know Wake Forest knew that we were trying to go to him, too."
Following a pair of free throws from Williams, Adams' shot bounced off the rim.
Olson's team took a 37-29 lead into halftime and held a 46-38 advantage with 14:51 remaining following a jumper by Channing Frye. But the Demon Deacons rallied behind Gray, who scored six points during a 21-5 run. His 15-footer with 9:14 to play gave Wake Forest its first lead of the contest, 50-49.
"Coach said before the game big-time players will be playing in this game and if you want to be one of those you got to make the plays," Gray said. "I know everybody in this locker room did, too. We never gave up."
Gray had 13 of his points in the second half.
"He has a courage that's contagious," Prosser said. "Not unlike (former Wake Forest) star Josh Howard."