CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Coach Bob Huggins emphasizes defense, but there wasn't much Cincinnati could do against Eric Williams.
Using his size advantage to post up at will inside, Williams scored a career-high 29 points to lead No. 3 Wake Forest to a wire-to-wire 74-70 victory over 18th-ranked Cincinnati.
Wake Forest (16-2) improved to 5-1 against ranked teams this season.
"Playing a tough schedule will get you ready for playing here," said Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, who is used to coaching against Cincinnati as a former coach of Xavier.
This game matched the fourth highest-scoring team in the nation against a team with the fourth-best field goal percentage defense.
Cincinnati succeeded in holding the Demon Deacons to 11 points below their season average of 85 points, but could not contain the 6-9 Williams, who was two inches taller than anyone on the Bearcats' front line and made 13-of-18 shots.
"The guards got me the ball down low and I got good position inside," Williams said. "Chris Paul is the best guard in the country and he made some great passes."
Wake Forest complemented Williams inside with nine 3-pointers. Chris Paul drilled 5-of-7 shots from the arc and finished with 21 points.
"It's tough to collapse inside when you go up against a team with guards that can shoot," Huggins said. "They have guys that can shoot from the perimeter and you have to stay on them. They also have the guy inside who really hurt us."
Meanwhile, Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati's leading scorer, made just 1-of-8 shots and finished with five points.
Eric Hicks led the Bearcats (15-3) with 18 points, but only two of them came in the second half.
Coming off a stunning 91-83 overtime loss at Florida State on Tuesday, the Demon Deacons scored the first eight points of this game.
The Bearcats came after Wake Forest with a physical man-to-man defense that limited opponents to under 36 percent shooting. But Williams took advantage inside, scoring on a pair of dunks and a short jumper as the Demon Deacons raced to a 19-7 lead.
Cincinnati responded with an 18-7 run as Hicks converted a three-point play and a 3-pointer and Nick Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers, pulling the Bearcats within 26-25.
Paul then hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Wake Forest, which held a 39-38 lead at halftime.
Eric Williams scored the first two baskets of the second half and then keyed a 15-6 run with six points as the Demon Deacons increased their lead to 58-47 with 12:37 left.
Armein Kirkland hit a pair of 3-pointers as Cincinnati pulled within 67-64 with 4:05 remaining. After Paul hit his fifth 3-pointer, Hicks connected on a short jumper and James White converted a pair of free throws as Cincinnati closed within 70-68 with 47 seconds left.
The Bearcats had a chance to tie the game, but Maxiell missed a turnaround baseline jumper with 12 seconds left.
Jamaal Levy and Taron Downey each hit a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win for the Demon Deacons. Downey had missed a free throw with four seconds left in regulation against Florida State, ending Wake Forest's NCAA record of 50 consecutive free throws and sending the game into overtime.