NEW YORK -- Wake Forest's "other" guard had a pretty good Preseason NIT.
Justin Gray scored 21 points for the second straight game and the top-ranked Demon Deacons beat No. 18 Arizona, 63-60, on Friday night in the championship game of the 16-team tournament, a game that had a March feel to it in late-November.
Gray, overshadowed in his own backcourt by sophomore sensation Chris Paul, was selected as the tournament's most valuable player. He could have earned a red badge of courage as well, having received five stitches over his right eye in the first half of the semifinal win over Providence and then he was kicked near the same spot again in the first half against Arizona.
"I don't get wrapped up in MVPs and things like that, I'm happy for our team," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "But he has a courage that's contagious." Paul laughed when he was asked about Gray's injuries.
"He gets hurt all the time. I don't even look any more because I know he's coming back in," Paul said. "He's just Justin."
The loss ended a 15-game winning streak in the Preseason NIT for Arizona (4-2) and it was the first loss in 12 games at Madison Square Garden for Wildcats coach Lute Olson, a run that started in 1973 when he was at Long Beach State.
"It's disappointing, but it isn't because our guys didn't play hard," Olson said. "It wasn't a case of our coming out and not being ready to play. I thought we played with a lot of passion."
Gray was almost all the offense for the Demon Deacons (5-0) during the first 10 minutes of the second half.
When his teammates started to find their stroke, the Demon Deacons went on a 13-2 run to go up, 59-51, with 5:28 left. Arizona rallied to get within 61-60 with 1:26 left on a three-pointer by Hassan Adams.
Gray missed the front end of a one-and-one with 24 seconds left. Arizona had one timeout left but Olson didn't call it. Shakur dribbled the ball at the top of the key and started his move with seven seconds left. His jumper from about 8 feet was short.
Eric Williams made two free throws for Wake Forest with 1.2 seconds left and Arizona's chance to tie ended when Adams' turnaround three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
In the consolation game, Dwight Brewington matched his career high with 23 points and Providence (4-1) beat Michigan, 72-63. Dion Harris had 17 points for Michigan (3-2).
Irish do just enough
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Charleston Southern had one of the worst scoring nights in the 36- year history of the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame wasn't a whole lot better.
After shooting 28.5 percent through the first 27 minutes, Chris Quinn scored 10 of his 17 points and Notre Dame shot 8 of 13 down the stretch to beat the Buccaneers, 54-38.
"Ugly game or not, we still came out with a 'W,' " said Irish guard Chris Thomas, who added 15 points. "It was good to see us hold a team under 40 points."
The 38 points were the second fewest allowed at the Joyce Center, which opened for the 1968-69 season. The low was in a 50-35 Notre Dame win over Rice on Jan. 23, 1984. The Irish (3-0) held the Buccaneers (1-2) to just 27 percent shooting in the second half, and 33 percent for the game.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was more concerned about the lack of production from his big men. Notre Dame's three starting forwards combined for 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting and the Buccaneers outscored the Irish, 20-18, inside and outrebounded the Irish, 34-32.
"If our big guys are getting in the way and they're not in a rhythm, get the heck out of the way of the guards," he said.
Around the nation
* B.J. Elder scored 23 points, No. 3 Georgia Tech (3-0) started the game with a 23-2 run and the Yellow Jackets cruised to a 79-54 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock (1-2). The game was marred by an injury to Georgia Tech freshman Jeremis Smith, who already was emerging as a key player off the bench. He went down with less than two minutes remaining, screaming in pain after dislocating his right knee cap. Smith was taken to a hospital for X-rays to determine if he did any other damage to the knee.
* Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike each had 16 points and nine rebounds, leading No. 8 Kentucky (3-0) to a 77-59 win over Georgia State (1-2). Freshman center Randolph Morris added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats, who recorded their third lopsided win.
* Cameron Bennerman scored 20 points to lead No. 17 North Carolina State (4-0) to a 99-44 win over Campbell (1-2).
* T.J. Sorrentine had 31 points to lead four players in double figures as Vermont (1-1) scored a 90-70 win over Marist (2-2). Sorrentine tallied 18 and Taylor Coppenrath 13 in the first half as the Catamounts opened a 51-30 lead at the break. Miles Orman scored 12 points for Marist.