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Updated: Monday, December 13, 2004 11:58 PM EST
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(5) Wake Forest 67, Temple 64

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Mardy Collins and Temple nearly stole a victory from No. 5 Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons overcame 25 points and seven steals from Collins to post a 67-64 road win over the Owls.

Eric Williams scored 17 points and Justin Gray 15 for Wake Forest (7-1), which held just a 65-64 lead after a short jumper in the paint from Temple forward Wayne Marshall with 36 seconds left.

Taron Downey nailed two free throws to give the Demon Deacons a three-point edge with 11.3 seconds left. Following a Temple timeout, Collins dribbled the ball upcourt and passed to Dustin Salisbery, who front-rimmed a game-tying 3-point attempt near the top of the arc with about two seconds left. Gray grabbed the rebound and the clock expired.

Wake Forest has won four in a row over Temple to take an 11-10 lead in the all-time series.

"I feel like I want to hurry up and get out of Dodge," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "I thought Temple really played well. The game was certainly played at their tempo."

The Demon Deacons also received valuable contributions off the bench from junior forward Trent Strickland and sophomore guard Chris Paul, who each scored nine points. Paul, a preseason All-American selection, had a string of 38 consecutive starts snapped as he and Williams were benched as a result of being late for the team bus.

"I think they were like, I would say, a minute (and) 30 (seconds) late for the bus," Prosser said. "We don't have a lot of rules, but one of them is, if you can't be on time, be early."

The game was expected to be a showdown between Paul and Collins before numerous NBA representatives.

"A guy like Mardy, who played against an All-American player today, he outclassed and outplayed (Paul)," Temple coach John Chaney said. "There's no question about it."

"I didn't really look towards that challenge (against Paul)," Collins said. "I wanted to come out and give my best effort and try to get a win. I never get into personal battles."

Temple (3-5) suffered it second straight narrow defeat to a ranked club. The Owls lost at No. 18 Alabama on Saturday, 75-71.

Marshall scored 11 points and Antywane Robinson added 10 for Temple, which was outrebounded, 31-21.

The Owls shot 45 percent (23-of-51), while allowing the Demon Deacons to connect on 52 percent (22-of-42).

Wake Forest got much more production from its bench than Temple did. The Demon Deacons' reserves contributed 37 points while the Owls' produced just 10.

Collins scored 15 points in the first half, which ended with Temple ahead, 30-29.

"They're a step ahead of us in terms of being a top-10 team," Chaney said. "We're not in their class yet. Hopefully, we'll be in their class if we can stay healthy."

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