Syracuse Capitalizes on Wake Forest Foul Trouble
By James Groh
Wake Forest (9-16, 2-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) came to the Dome on Sunday with the second-worst record in the ACC at 2-10. That record didn’t improve as Syracuse (17-8, 6-6) beat the Demon Deacons 78-70.
There was an ebb and flow to the game. At times Syracuse seemed to be in control and dominate, but Wake Forest would respond with a scoring streak of its own.
“That’s just the way the game goes,” Syracuse guard Tyus Battle said. You have to keep on playing. It’s a game of runs.”
At one point Wake Forest hit six three-pointers in a row. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said he’s never seen anything like that in his 42 years of coaching the Orange.
“I don’t know if anyone has ever come in here and made six three’s in a row,” Boeheim said. “That’s pretty good shooting.”
The Demon Deacons remained within arms distance of the Orange but never closed the gap completely.
One of the reasons Wake Forest couldn’t complete the comeback was because of foul trouble.
“We won the game because we got to the foul line 39 times.”
While the Orange missed 13 of its free throws, the sheer number of shots was the reason that culminated in Syracuse’s eight point victory.
Both Battle and Oshae Brissett said that the entire team needs to work on its free throw shooting because it won’t get this many opportunities often.
Battle led all players with 34 points. It’s the second-most he has scored this season after a 37-point game against Florida State that ended in double overtime. Brissett was a main contributor on both ends of the court. He ended the game with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds.
This season Boeheim has been very reluctant to go deep into his limited bench. Syracuse is currently in the bottom of Division I basketball in terms of bench minutes. For the most part this did not change today. However, the Syracuse coach elected to play Braedon Bayer for a few minutes. Bayer matched his total play time of the season in the first half when he played for a four minute stretch.
“He can shoot. If somebody is going to leave him open he can make shots,” Boeheim said. “I want to get him in there just so he has been in the game.”
Bourama Sidibe also played 17 minutes. It marks the third time in a row that he has played more than 10 minutes. Sidibe has been plagued with injuries which have limited his play time.
Part of the reason Boeheim looked to his bench for support was because Matthew Moyer elected to not play. He has had an ankle injury that kept him at only about “60 percent” according to Boeheim. The Syracuse coach said Moyer practiced well the past two days but Moyer and his father discussed the issue and decided it would be best to rest.
“I’m not going to play someone who doesn’t want to play.”
Syracuse’s next matchup is against NC State on Wednesday.