Battle Carries 'Cuse Past Wake Forest
One thing was consistent in what became a tale of two halves for the Orange: Tyus Battle.
Syracuse (17-8, 6-6) held on to scrape by Wake Forest (9-16, 2-11) 78-70. Battle put his fingerprints all over the contest, scoring a game-high 34 points. The sophomore's biggest strength on offense was his ability to score from near and far. In addition to his eleven points off free throws, Battle hit three triples.
While Tyus Battle handled most of the scoring workload, the rest of the team contributed across the stat sheet. Guard Frank Howard contributed on both ends of the court with twelve points, nine assists and three steals. The boards were controlled by the duo of Oshae Brissett and Paschal Chukwu, who pulled down ten and eleven rebounds respectively.
Junior Bryant Crawford led the Demon Deacons with 24 points, but it was center Doral Moore who made the biggest impact for Wake Forest. Moore finished the game with 16 points, including ten of the team's first eleven. The junior also added 16 rebounds. In comparison, the rest of his team totaled 17 boards.
The game kicked off in Syracuse's favor thanks to some unusually poor shooting from Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons, who usually shoot close to 40% from three-point range, started the game 0-9 from downtown. 'Cuse ended the half up 31-21 having played lockdown defense.
The second half was a totally different game. The teams combined for just 52 points in the first half, only to explode for 96 in the second half. The Syracuse defense didn't play much different but Wake Forest started hitting their shots. The spark plug for the Demon Deacons was senior Mitchell Wilbekin, who hit all four of his threes in the second half.
Ultimately, Tyus Battle won the game for the Orange, scoring 24 of his 34 points in the second half. This included an emphatic dunk to effectively end the game and secure the win for Jim Boeheim's squad.
Syracuse now readies itself for a stretch in which they will play four top-25 teams in six games. The road begins with a Valentine's Day matchup against North Carolina State (16-9, 6-6). Looking forward, the Orange play Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, and Clemson to end the regular season.