Tyus Battle’s 24 second half points enabled Syracuse to withstand a barrage of three-pointers from Wake Forest and claim a 78-70 victory at the Carrier Dome. The Demon Deacons (9-16, 2-11 ACC) missed their first nine shots from beyond the arc, but got a three from near the midcourt logo just before halftime to start a streak of 10-of-12 shooting from deep. The Orange (17-8, 6-6), however, made hay from the foul line after the break, getting into the bonus less than seven minutes into the second half and tallying 21 points from the stripe after halftime.
Battle finished with 34 points overall, the most he has ever scored in a regulation game. The sophomore shooting guard’s outburst triggered SU’s second consecutive 78-point game, marking the first time in nearly eight weeks the Orange cracked 70 points in consecutive contests.
In addition to shooting 46 percent from the floor, Syracuse committed only eight turnovers on 71 possessions. The Orange also played excellent defense in the first half, holding the Deacs to 28 percent shooting to go with seven turnovers. Wake roared back after the break, though, making 58.6 percent of their second-half field goal attempts.
Tyus Battle made his intentions known early, scoring the first seven SU points of the day for an early five-point lead. Wake Forest bounced back with a half dozen points to go back on top, but Oshae Brissett put Syracuse in front for good with a pair of foul shots and a jumper from the left side that beat the shot clock. Frank Howard fed a bounce pass to Bourama Sidibe for a reverse lay-in to make it six straight points and a 13-8 SU lead just over nine minutes into the game.
The Demon Deacons stayed within arm’s reach for the next several minutes until the Orange backcourt took turns setting each other up for three-pointers. Battle first passed to Howard, who curled in left wing three. Howard then returned the favor by setting up Battle for a triple from the right side for a 22-13 lead with 5:34 left in the half.
Just over two minutes later, a 7-0 Syracuse run boosted their lead to 13 points. Marek Dolezaj started things with a short jumper in the paint. Howard then tossed an alley-oop to Paschal Chukwu, who finished emphatically with both hands. Brissett then swished a trey from the left side for a 31-18 lead with a little over a minute left in the first half.
Wake then picked an opportune time to hit their first triple of the game. With just a couple seconds on the clock, Bryant Crawford connected from a step inside the giant “S” logo at midcourt. The bomb pulled the Deacs within 31-21 at halftime.
Wake Forest added another three for the first score out of the break to draw within seven, but the Orange rang up a 9-2 burst to push their lead to its greatest at 14 points. Chukwu hammered another dunk and Battle’s floater rattled home to start the span. The Demon Deacons added two foul shots, but Battle curled for a quick-hitting jumper off an inbound pass and added a pair of foul shots on the heels of one from Brissett. The run over, SU held a 40-26 lead just over four minutes into the second session of play.
Syracuse kept Wake under control for five more minutes, then the barrage of three-point bombs began. The Demon Deacons got a trio of treys in just over a minute, slicing the gap to 52-45 just past the midpoint of the half.
Dolezaj got free on the baseline for a slam, but Wake tacked on another three to pull within six. Half a minute later, the gap was five points after another Deacs triple chased two Dolezaj foul shots.
Battle tacked on two more free throws, then Howard swished a three from the left break to push the Orange lead to 61-51. Wake answered with a four-point play.
Battle got another floater to fall and set up Sidibe for a dunk to reinstate the ten-point lead with under seven minutes to play. This time, Wake Forest responded with eight unanswered points to pull within 65-63 with 4:24 to go, the closest they had been since the game was just over seven minutes old.
SU responded by getting to the line. One Howard foul shot and a couple from Battle made it a five-point game. The Deacons got a dunk, but Chukwu converted a no-look rocket from Howard into a lay-up and foul, but missed at the stripe. The basket gave Syracuse a 70-65 lead with 1:44 left.
Howard made a steal on the next Wake possession and was fouled, but missed both chances at the line. Howard atoned for his errant shooting with another steal and, this time, Brissett was fouled and made both to stretch the lead to seven with under a minute to play.
A Demon Deacon triple brought them within four and the guests fouled Chukwu, who only made the first. Wake missed a three and Brissett snared the rebound and was fouled. Brissett’s lone good foul shot made it 74-68 with 35 seconds to go.
A Wake score brought them within four, but Battle was fouled and pushed the lead back out to six. Chukwu emphatically swatted Wake’s literal last shot and Battle won a footrace to the ball and eventually the basket, slamming the ball home for the 78-70 final.
Tyus Battle’s 34 points featured 24 in the second half on 6-for-8 from the field and a perfect 11-of-11 from the line. Oshae Brissett logged his ninth double-double with 15 points and ten rebounds. Frank Howard fell just shy of his own double-double with a dozen points and nine assists, but also had five steals. Paschal Chukwu had 11 boards to go with his seven points.
Bryant Crawford rolled up 24 points for Wake Forest, including burying four three-pointers. Doral Moore was a beast for the guests, posting a 16-point, 16-rebound double-double. Mitchell Wilbekin (13 points, 4-of-5 threes) and Keyshawn Woods (12 points) did all of their damage in the second half.
SU will close this two game homestand on Wednesday when they welcome North Carolina State for a Valentine’s Day date at the Dome. The Wolfpack (16-9, 6-6) will bring a two-game losing streak with them to Syracuse.
The ‘Pack has a balanced offensive attack, as six different players average between 14.1 and 8.7 points per game. Guard Allerik Freeman is the leading scorer, while center Omer Yurtseven (13.8 pts/game) and guard Torin Dorn (13.6 pts/game) provide ample support.
Wednesday night’s tip-off is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern. The ACC Network will televise the game in certain local markets and the telecast will also be available on ESPN3.com.