A quick take on Syracuse’s disappointing 73-67 road loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: With the game tied at 61 with 2:27 left, several costly gaffes from Tyus Battle, Syracuse’s most reliable player to date, sent the Orange to its third loss of the season and first in ACC play. Battle was saddled with four fouls midway through the second half, and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim elected to sit his star guard. When he returned, Battle was markedly cold, missing an open 3-pointer with 2:04 left that led to a run out from Terrance Thompson for a layup. That would prove to be the go-ahead basket, as Battle stepped out of bounds on SU’s ensuing possession, and another missed 3-pointer from Battle with 16 seconds left and the Orange down 71-67 was Syracuse’s last gasp.
ANALYSIS: For Syracuse to win most games this season, it will need at least two of its big three of Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett to play to their ability. On Wednesday, Syracuse only got such a performance from Howard, who nailed five 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 23 points. Battle and Brissett? The two combined for 11 for 26 shooting from the field and 2-11 shooting from downtown. The margin for SU to make the NCAA Tournament was already razor-thin to begin with, and a loss to a Demon Deacons team that already dropped games to the likes of Georgia Southern, Drake and Liberty isn’t going to help.
HERO: After Wake’s best player, Keyshawn Woods, banged knees with Howard in the first half, Bryant Crawford stepped in to fill the offensive void. He finished with 19 points, including four triples. Terrence Thompson chipped in 13.
ZERO: Syracuse has won 12 games this season by displaying a knack for the offensive glass, but it was Wake Forest who held a 12-6 advantage in that category, and overall was +9 on rebounds. Syracuse’s zone also didn’t generate the turnovers that it normally does, with the Deacons giving up the ball just 12 times while shooting 9-19 from beyond the arc.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to play Notre Dame on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. TV: ESPN2.
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