Syracuse looks for its second ACC win when it travels to North Carolina to take on Wake Forest. Here’s a quick look at the game:
DEACONS IMPROVING QUICKLY: Last season, Wake Forest won just 13 games in Danny Manning’s first season as head coach. In his second season, he’s already gotten his team to 10 wins in mid-January with impressive wins against Indiana, and UCLA in the Maui Invitational to go along with a win at LSU in its non-conference schedule. Wake Forest also picked up its first ACC win of the season against NC State over the weekend. “The games that we’ve lost this year, we’ve lost to some pretty good teams,” Manning said following his team’s win over the Wolfpack. “That’s not an excuse. We’ve had opportunities in all those games to win them.” That includes a 93-91 loss against Virginia Tech earlier in the week, when the Deacons had a chance to tie the game with six seconds left to go. Guard Codi Miller-McIntyre attempted a 3 and was fouled, but after hitting the first free throw, missed the second and was forced to intentionally miss the third.
SCOUTING THE DEMON DEACONS: The name Konstantinos Mitoglou should scare Syracuse fans. Last season at the Carrier Dome, Mitoglou went off for 26 points on 4 for 7 shooting from downtown in Wake Forest’s upset bid against the Orange. He’s averaging 12.0 points this season on 38.3 percent shooting from downtown. SU will also need to contain big man Devin Thomas, who leads Wake Forest in points (16.9) and rebounds (10.4). The Deacons have struggled on the defensive end this season, allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent from the field, worst in the ACC. Wake Forest is also 316th in the NCAA at 78.8 points allowed per game, and has allowed two ACC teams (Virginia Tech and Duke) to score more than 90 points.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse won its pairing with Wake Forest last season, with the Orange hanging on, 86-83, behind a career-high 35 points from Rakeem Christmas. Aside from Mitoglou, Miller-McIntrye finished with 24 points and six assists. Syracuse defeated the Deacons 67-57 in its first season in the ACC, and also in the 2001 Preseason NIT, 74-67.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Jan. 16 at noon win Winston-Salem, N.C. TV: ACC Network.