Two players who had previously logged a combined 35 minutes on the floor for Syracuse since the calendar turned to 2020 combined for the winning basket at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night. Jesse Edwards tipped a missed shot to Brycen Goodine, who banked the ball in with 1.7 seconds remaining for a 75-73 Orange win over Wake Forest.
SU (14-9, 7-5 ACC) lost two frontcourt players to fouls with under nine minutes to go, bringing Edwards into the game, and Marek Dolezaj was then disqualified with 5:42 left, adding Goodine to the fray. Dolezaj’s last foul was a technical, giving the Demon Deacons (10-13, 3-10) two free throws and the ball in a tie game. Wake took a four-point lead, but Syracuse outscored their guests by a 10-4 margin over the remainder of the contest to pull out the win.
The victory snapped a two-game slide for the Orange and kept their NCAA Tournament hopes on life support. The loss was the eighth in the last ten outings for the Demon Deacons.
SU had an early 14-0 run that gave them a 12-point lead and ran off eight straight points to start the second half for a 16-point advantage, but they gave everything back in less than a dozen minutes. Much of that lead dissolved due to poor rebounding throughout the second half and missed free throws late. Wake owned a 25-10 edge on the glass after halftime and Syracuse made their first 17 foul shots, then went 4-for-10 over a nearly eight-minute span before righting the ship in the final minutes.
Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes needed just over three minutes to ring up every point in the 14 straight the Orange hung early in the first half. Boeheim swished two threes from the left wing to start the streak, then Hughes connected on a floater in the paint. Boeheim added another three, then Hughes ripped the twine on a straightaway triple to give SU a 16-4 lead before the game was eight minutes old.
Wake Forest would chip away at the margin over the rest of the half, twice getting within seven points before Syracuse took a 38-30 halftime lead.
The Orange scored on their first four possessions of the second half, needing less than two minutes to double their lead. Hughes made a pair of foul shots, then Boeheim added a pull-up from slightly closer in. Hughes made a fadeaway from the same spot, then Marek Dolezaj made a slick pass to set up a reverse lay-up by Bourama Sidibe for a 46-30 lead less then 100 seconds after the game resumed.
The Demon Deacons came right back, running off nine straight points in under two minutes. SU kept the guests at arms’ length for a couple minutes, but Wake then hung seven more points to draw within 54-51.
Syracuse matched that run, though, as Joe Girard III connected on a pull-up jump shot, then Quincy Guerrier coasted through a wide-open defense for a lay-in. Boeheim buried another trey, this one pushing the Orange lead to 61-51 with just under 11 minutes to play.
The Deacs responded with nine of the next ten points to draw within 62-60. On the next Wake Forest possession, both Guerrier and Sidibe fouled out within nine seconds, the latter coming with 8:40 left.
With just under seven minutes to go, Dolezaj was whistled for a flagrant foul for a hook and hold, his fourth of the game. The two free throws and a lay-up on the ensuing Wake possession gave the guests a 65-63 lead.
After Hughes got a drive to settle in the basket to knot the score, Dolezaj was called out of bounds with the ball on the following defensive possession. Dolezaj pointed to the replay on the scoreboard and was whistled for the technical, ending his evening with 5:42 on the clock.
Again, the Demon Deacons made two foul shots and scored on the ensuing possession, this time taking a 69-65 lead and making their overall run 18-4. That field goal, however, would be the last one for the guests for over five minutes as SU chipped away at their lead.
Hughes made two free throws to halve the lead, then Jesse Edwards made the latter of a pair to halve it again, drawing Syracuse within 69-68. Hughes added another from the line to knot the game with 2:26 to play.
Wake got a foul shot to go in front, but Edwards got a steal and Boeheim dropped in a fast break lay-up for a 71-70 Orange edge. SU got a pair of stops, the second coming on a Boeheim steal. He passed to Hughes, who was fouled and made both charity shots for a 73-70 lead with 32.3 seconds on the clock.
The Demon Deacons barely needed ten seconds to drill a three to tie the game. Hughes brought the ball up for Syracuse and missed a three, but Edwards deflected the rebound to Brycen Goodine, whose lay-up gave the Orange a 75-73 lead.
Wake got a shot from beyond halfcourt, but it thumped off the glass and fell to the ground, preserving the SU victory.
Buddy Boeheim made five threes in the game for Syracuse, finishing with 23 points and four steals, both game highs. Elijah Hughes tallied 20 points, 13 in the second half, and team bests of eight rebounds and four blocks. Quincy Guerrier scored ten of his 13 points in the first half while Marek Dolezaj and Joe Girard III each chipped in with seven points.
Seven different Demon Deacons scored at least seven points in the game, led by Olivier Sarr, who had 15 points and nine boards. Chaundee Brown was right behind, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Childress, Torry Johnson, and Andrien White each had nine points.
The Orange will close this three-game homestand on Tuesday when North Carolina State comes to town. The Wolfpack (15-8, 6-6) snapped a three-game losing skid on Wednesday when they won at Miami, 83-72. C.J. Bryce, who leads the team with 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, had 22 points and 11 boards in the win over the Hurricanes.
Markell Johnson backs Bryce with 13.2 points and a team-leading 6.6 assists per game and is coming off a 19-point, 12-assist game against Miami. While N.C. State shoots under 32 percent from long range on the season as a team, six different players have made at least 18 three-pointers, led by Braxton Beverly’s 38 makes in 100 attempts.
Tuesday’s action will get underway at 7:00pm Eastern at the Carrier Dome and the game will be televised by ESPN2.