Instant Juice: Syracuse 86, Wake Forest 83 (OT)

Chris McCullough was on crutches after tearing his ACL
Chris McCullough was on crutches after tearing his ACL

A quick take on Syracuse’s 86-83 overtime win over Wake Forest on Tuesday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: A Michael Gbinije 3-pointer with 2:06 to go in overtime gave the Orange a four point lead, and Syracuse was just good enough from the free throw line down the stretch to hang on against a feisty Wake Forest team. Rakeem Christmas hit six straight free throws in the final 43 seconds to add to a career-high 35 points. Trevor Cooney went 1-2 from the line with two seconds left giving the Deacons one more chance to force a second overtime, but a desperation heave from Wake Forest rattled halfway in before popping out, allowing SU to escape.

» Related: How does Syracuse compare to ACC opponents

ANALYSIS: Syracuse may be 4-0 in ACC play, but they could easily be 1-3 after winning three ACC games by a combined six points. Then again, any win in conference is a good one, and SU is one of only two undefeated teams left in ACC play. Credit goes to the Orange, who overcame an early nine point second-half deficit and nearly won the game in regulation on a point-blank miss from Michael Gbinije as time expired. Gbinije would redeem himself in overtime, burying the 3-pointer that gave SU a 79-75 lead.

HERO: Christmas was unstoppable inside en route to a career-high in points. He also chipped in nine rebounds. Trevor Cooney’s hot shooting from downtown continued, as he finished with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. As for Wake Forest, Konstantinos Mitoglou hit his first nine shots of the game, finishing with 26 points.

ZERO: Ron Patterson played down the stretch in place of an ineffective Kaleb Joseph, but didn’t particularly help the Orange’s cause. He was 1-6 from the field, and committed a key turnover in overtime while also missing a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left and SU up three that could’ve cemented the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse next plays at Clemson on Jan. 17 at 4 p.m.

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About Wes Cheng 2673 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.