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Wednesday, Jan 25, 2017 at 12:31 am

MBB: Syracuse edges out Wake Forest 81-76

By Ben Roth SYRACUSE, N.Y. — There is a first time for everything, and midway through the second half, trailing by eight points, it looked like Syracuse was about to lose to Wake Forest for the first time ever. However, Syracuse (12-9, 4-4) showed its toughness and battled back for the come-from-behind victory against ACC foe Wake Forest (12-8, 3-5), 83-76. The Orange trailed at halftime and had been 0-7 when down at intermission.

Being in close games is something new for the Orange, as entering tonight it had played in just one game decided by five points or fewer. That game was a loss to Connecticut, 52-50. But SU proved it could perform under pressure.

The team was down 57-52 with nine minutes remaining and went on a 15-4 run to take a 67-61 lead. The Demon Deacons promptly answered with seven straight points to give it a 68-67 lead with 2:30 remaining. After a John Gillon free throw knotted the game at 68, Andrew White III buried his fifth three of the game to make it a 71-68 contest. Syracuse wouldn’t relinquish the lead from there, shooting 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds.

White led the scoring with a season-high 27 points, while Tyler Lydon added 15 points and nine rebounds. Taurean Thompson tallied 16 of his 18 points in the second half.

After two straight losses to ACC opponents, Coach Jim Boeheim was pleased with the way his team gritted things out.

“We haven’t been in close games and when you get in one for the first time, it’s not all that easy,” Boeheim said. “They made really good plays when they had to.”

Tyler Lydon is hopeful the game will propel the team to better things.

“It was a good team win, which is huge,” Lydon said. “I don’t think we’ve had a win like this where we were down and guys came up clutch and the guys kept their heads in and played hard.”

The Orange remain undefeated at the Carrier Dome in ACC play, and will put that undefeated record to the test when it welcomes #6 Florida State to the Dome on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.