Syracuse Men’s Basketball snapped a two-game losing streak against Wake Forest. The Orange beat the Demon Deacons 79-54 in a key ACC matchup. Syracuse is now 19-10 on the season and 10-6 in conference play with two games left in the season.
Early in the first half, the two teams went back-and-forth with multiple lead changes. A three-pointer from Tyus Battle opened up the offense for Syracuse and started a short 5-0 run that gave his team a nine-point lead. Despite the momentum shifting toward the Orange, the Wake Forest still kept the game close, never letting the lead extend to double digits early. The first lead, over ten points, came after a jump shot in the paint coming off a fastbreak play from Battle. The last points of the half came off a shot from behind-the-arc from Torry Johnson. That shot cut a lead that was as large as 14 down to eight going into the locker room.
To start the second half, Wake Forest still kept pace with Syracuse. Two made free throws from Frank Howard sparked a 14-0 that gave the Orange their largest lead of the day up until that point with a 23-point lead. What started the scoring run for Syracuse was what ended the scoring drought for Wake Forest, a free throw. The different point-scorers for the Orange was too much for the Demon Deacons to handle. A three-point play from substitute, Robert Braswell, gave Syracuse their largest lead of the entire afternoon at 27. Toward the final minutes in regulation, threes from Chaundee Brown and Michael Wynn to cut the point difference back down to 25.
The Orange outscored the Demon Deacons 41-24 in the second half. That big offensive push was mainly the result of more free throw opportunities and makes. In the first half, Syracuse only got to the line three times. Even though they made two of the three shots, there were not enough attempts to make a difference. In contrast, the Orange attempted 15 free throws and made 11 of them. They finished the game shooting over 72 %of their free throws which is a dramatic improvement after a 63% and 56 % performance against both Duke and North Carolina, respectively.
In addition to better team free throw shooting, Tyus Battle had a big game for the Orange, scoring a game-leading 21 points. Battle finished with the highest field goal percentage and the highest three-point percentage along with Frank Howard.
On the defensive end of the floor, Syracuse was lead by Paschal Chukwu, who had three blocks on the game. He was also a difference maker when it came to rebounds, grabbing four rebounds.
The Orange are headed back to the Carrier Dome to play No.2 Virginia. Last time these two teams faced off, Syracuse lost by 15 and Virginia was the number one team in the country. This is the last home game of the season for the Orange who look to pull off the upset and bolster their NCAA tournament resumé.