Orange men dominate the paint to earn win over Wake Forest

SU dominates the paint to earn win over Wake Forest

Syracuse scored 24 points in the paint in the first half
Published: March 3, 2019 | Updated: March 5th, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Syracuse outscored Wake Forest 44-10 in the paint and forced 23 Demon Deacon turnovers on Saturday afternoon en route to a 79-54 victory in Winston-Salem.

These turnovers led to easy baskets for Syracuse (19-10, 10-6) and helped create separation from Wake Forest (11-17, 4-12). It was just an eight-point advantage for the Cuse at halftime. After scoring 24 points in the paint in the first half, the Orange immediately continued exploiting the Demon Deacon’s interior defense. On the first Syracuse possession of the second half, just 11 seconds in, Frank Howard and Elijah Hughes connected on a back-door alley-oop giving the Orange a 40-30 lead. Wake Forest quickly scored five straight, cutting the lead down to five.

Syracuse brought its right hook and connected with the knockout punch. Following two Demon Deacon baskets, the Orange went on a 20-2 run over eight minutes, going up 60-37 and pulling away for good. Of those 20 points, 10 came in the paint and three came from free throws. Wake Forest committed seven turnovers during the run including three possessions in a row. Each one of those three resulted in two points for Syracuse. The Orange converted four more turnovers into seven points.

“I thought our defense overall was much better, more active than it’s been,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “These games are always difficult—a game you’re supposed to win—it’s not that easy. I thought today we played a really solid basketball game.”

To make matters worse for the home team, the SU defense held Wake Forest without a field goal for nearly 14 minutes. By the time Wake Forest saw one go through the bottom of the net, it was too late. A five-point deficit had swelled to 25.

Syracuse spent nearly 37 minutes with the lead thanks in large part to significant advantages in field goal percentage (54 percent-33 percent), fast break points (20-11) and points off turnovers (27-15), in addition to the game-changing disparity in points in the paint.

Tyus Battle led the Orange in scoring with a game-high 21 points, and Hughes finished in double figures with 18. The Demon Deacons had a pair of double-figure scorers as well: Chaundee Brown had 14 points and Isaiah Mucius added 10.

Next up for Syracuse is its final home game of the season against No. 2 Virginia at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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is a contributor to The NewsHouse.