Orange trio leads team past Wake Forest 78-70

Syracuse men's basketball beats Wake Forest 78-70

Battle led all scorers with 34 points.
Published: February 11, 2018

Syracuse Orange defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 78-70 in ACC play at the Carrier Dome on Sunday afternoon.

This was the second meeting of these teams this season and it was off to a slow start as both struggled to get the ball in the basket. It was a low scoring first half full of missed shots and rebounds on both ends. Wake Forest (9-16, 2-11 ACC) and Syracuse (17-8, 6-6 ACC) both had 18 rebounds at the half with a score of 31-21.

With a short roster, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said despite practicing the last two days, Matthew Moyer didn’t play in Sunday’s game due to soreness in his ankle.

“He looked fine in practice the last two days, he helped us against Louisville… I don’t know what happened,” Boeheim said. “He said he was [feeling] about 60%, which I’ll take that. That would help us.”

Bourama Sidibe saw 17 minutes in today’s game. With the height of both Sidibe and Paschal Chukwu, they were able to get up against the board and grab a total of 14 rebounds combined which Boeheim was proud of.

“He [Sidibe] gave us 17 really good minutes,” Boeheim said. “If we can get that out of Paschal [Chukwu] and him… that helps our team.”

Paschal Chukwu can't stop the opposing team's player as they jump for the basket.

While the Orange came up big with 27 defensive rebounds, they only were able to score seven second chance points.

Wake Forest came out guns blazing in the second half with senior guard Mitchell Wilbekin shooting 4-5 from beyond the arc. The Demon Deacons struggled from the 3-point line in the first half shooting 1-10 but managed to end the game 10-23 giving them a bit of an edge over the Orange.

“Wake Forest are a very, very good offensive basketball team,” Boeheim said.

Even though Syracuse was able to drive to the basket and draw fouls, they struggled from the foul line.

“We won the game because we got to the foul line 39 times. We’re driving the ball, making them commit fouls,” Boeheim said. “We had to keep offensively being aggressive, going to the basket,” Boeheim said.

Chukwu was only 1-4 from the free throw line and Frank Howard shot 4-10. That is something that sophomore Tyus Battle noted.

“We struggled. It wasn’t great,” Battle said. “It happens.”

Battle kept the crowd going in Sunday’s game as he had his second 30-point performance this season. Last time Syracuse played Wake Forest he was only able to come up with 13 points. In Sunday’s game he more than doubled that with 34 total points, 24 of which were in the second half.

Junior Frank Howard led the team with nine assists which makes for his most in an ACC game this season.

“All night, you know, we did a great job moving,” Howard said. “We understood the game plan. It’s just a mentality.”

Howard said while he’s happy with their ball movement there’s one thing the Orange still need.

“We need to stay consistent, stay focused and keep pushing,” Howard said.

Despite the Demon Deacons cutting their lead to within two at one point in the second half, they weren’t able to pull away. Bryant Crawford led Wake Forest in scoring with 24 points. Doral Moore had a double-double for Wake Forest grabbing 16 rebounds and 16 points in 34 minutes.

For the Orange, freshman Oshae Brissett recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds and 15 points.

Chukwu ended the game with a massive block and Battle drove to the basket and came up with a dunk to finish the game off in fashion.

“It’s a good win, happy to get it,” Boeheim said.

Syracuse take on NC State on Wednesday, February 14 at the Carrier Dome at 9 p.m.