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Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2004 2:04 AM EST
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(4) Wake Forest 81, New Mexico 64

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- It didn't look good for Wake Forest when Justin Gray went down holding his leg about five minutes into the second half. Unfortunately, for New Mexico, Gray got up.

Chris Paul scored 23 points and Gray added 17 as No. 4 Wake Forest pulled away in the second half for an 81-64 victory over New Mexico.

New Mexico had its nine-game winning streak at "The Pit" stopped.

After leaving the game for a few minutes with Wake Forest clinging to a 45-42 lead, Gray returned and scored 11 straight points for the Demon Deacons, including three 3-pointers, to push the lead to 61-51 with 8:07 left.

Gray's outburt helped offset Eric Williams' foul problems. The burly center picked up his fourth foul just three minutes into the second half and was held to a season-low six points.

Gray, who was held to five points in the first half, finished 6-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from the arc.

Paul, who scored 23 points in a win against Texas on Saturday, hit a career-high five 3-pointers in eight attempts. He made 6-of-13 shots, converted all six of his free throws while adding seven rebounds and five assists.

Wake Forest, which came into the game last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in field goal defense at 43 percent, held New Mexico to a season-low 33 percent (20-of-61). The Lobos came into the game shooting 53 percent - fourth in the nation - and averaging 84.0 points.

"I thought we guarded them very, very well," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "New Mexico is a team that averages in the mid-80's, and to hold them to 33 percent shooting, 19 percent from 3, and despite the fact that they missed some shots, to beat them by 13 on the glass I think is a reflection of the good effort by our kids."

The Demon Deacons shot nearly 48 percent (28-of-59) from the floor, tied a season high with 10 3-pointers and held a 47-34 advantage on the boards.

Reserve junior guard Taron Downey, who was a two-year starter at the point before Paul came to Wake, scored 12 points of his 16 points in the first half as the Demon Deacons took a 36-33 lead.

Danny Granger scored 23 points on 5-of-14 shooting for New Mexico, which had its six-game winning streak snapped and trailed at the half for the first time this season.

"We are a good 3-point shooting team but that was not evident tonight," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay said. "We did not execute. We are typically a team that gets around 17 assists per game and to get nine, with just three in one half, I would just say that we shot it too quickly. I think we panicked a little pick because we haven't been behind by that many points."

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