Syracuse men’s basketball rallies to roll Wake Forest, 94-72

Orange men's basketball rallies to beat Wake Forest, 94-72

Buddy Boeheim scored 30 points, and SU outscored the Demon Deacons 55-30 in Saturday night's second half.
Published: January 30, 2022
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Symir Torrence (left) scored two points and dished two assists at the Dome on Saturday night.

Syracuse men’s basketball avenged their Jan. 8 loss in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and dominated Wake Forest 94-72 on Saturday night.

The matchup between the Orange (10-11, 4-6 ACC) and the Demon Deacons was a tale of two halves for both teams. The tempo favored the Demon Deacons throughout a tight first half, WFU was aggressive early and made tough shots against SU’s zone.

Wake Forest went into halftime with a 42-39 lead. The second half was a different story.

The Orange started the second frame on a 12-2 run and never looked back. Of those 12 points, Buddy Boeheim scored eight of them within the first four minutes. Buddy ended the game with 30 points on 12-21 shooting to go along with five rebounds and seven assists. With tonight’s performance, he’s now in the top 20 for all-time points in program history.

“I gotta give credit to these guys,” Buddy said about his teammates. “Finding me in transition, getting to my spots, just playing better, taking my time more on my shots, not rushing it. It just felt good coming out of my hands.”

Along with Syracuse’s top scorer, Cole Swider played arguably his best game in an Orange uniform so far. He scored 18 points on 8-11 shooting.

Swider seemed comfortable getting to the block and took advantage of smaller defenders throughout the game. He even made a gesture toward one of his defenders letting him know they’re too small.

“I thought I had pretty good matchups on me, and I was just trying to take advantage of them,” Swider said.

Swider knocked down both of his three-point attempts, which is something he has struggled (34% from 3) doing throughout the season. Swider put his shooting slump in perspective.

“Everyone goes through them,” Swider said. “Steph Curry’s going through a shooting slump right now. It happens to the best shooters in the world. So, I’m not immune to it. Hopefully, I can get on a little roll here.”

Fellow juniors Joe Girard III and Jesse Edwards joined Buddy and Swider as the only other double-digit scorers for the Orange. They each scored 13 and 12 points respectively.

Despite having a big lead throughout the second half, Jim Boeheim played his starters heavy minutes.

“The unit was so cohesive and played together so well, there was no way we were going to break that up,” Jim said.

As good as the Orange were offensively, they were just as locked in on the defensive side of the ball. Their defensive ability has been a major criticism of theirs, especially now, considering their 10-11 record. But the Orange showed that if they apply themselves enough, they can control the tempo of the game.

“It was just a really good offensive and defensive performance, and we haven’t had that,” Jim said. “We haven’t been able to put that together this year and it was a good thing to see.”

The Orange forced the Demon Deacons into 17 turnovers. Of those 17 turnovers, Syracuse forced Alondes Williams into six of them.

Williams, who leads the ACC in points and assists per game had an uncharacteristically rough night scoring just eight points on 3-10 shooting. Not known as a knockdown shooter (33% from three), the Syracuse zone seemed to frustrate him when driving into the lane.

In a losing effort, senior guard Daivien Williamson led the Demon Deacons with 27 points. He was aggressive early but committed his second foul at the 11:35 mark of the first half, which slowed down WFU’s momentum.

On Feb. 2, the Orange will go down to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack. A key player Syracuse will have to watch film on is sophomore guard Dereon Seabron, a top-five scorer (19.0PPG) in the ACC. He’s also second in the conference in rebounds per game despite his 6’7” 180-pound frame.