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 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, 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 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]