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Syracuse 79, Wake Forest 54: Orange dominate Demon Deacons in blowout win

There was very little stress in this one for the Orange.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange ended their two-game losing streak with a much-needed road win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a final score of 79-54. It was 40 minutes of dominant play for the Orange, as it added win number 19 to the season and 10 in the ACC.

The Demon Deacons got the scoring started with a three ball from Sharone Wright Jr, but Syracuse was able to answer with a few buckets inside. The Orange were able to use its size to their advantage early, which included a successful lob pass from Elijah Hughes to Paschal Chukwu. Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett had it going early, as they helped Syracuse take a 13-9 lead into the under 16-minute timeout.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Wake Forest
Paschal Chukwu played big today.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse offense continued to look more active early in the first half, as Hughes led the attack by driving to the paint instead of settling for contested threes. The Orange have struggled to attack the lane this season, but the known marksman Hughes changed the narrative by finding easy looks inside off the bounce.

Brissett also brought the energy early, as he was able to find open spots in Wake Forest’s defense to help Syracuse take a 26-17 lead with 9:33 remaining. The Demon Deacons tried to stem the Orange’s run with the three-ball, but Battle did what he does best: score the ball. Syracuse’s leading scorer was able to weave through Wake Forest’s defense to 13 first half points, as the Demon Deacons couldn’t handle the talented junior scorer (Battle finished with 21 points on the day).

Syracuse opened up a 34-20 lead with 5:09 remaining, but second chance opportunities helped Wake Forest end the half on a 10-4 run, giving the Orange a 38-30 lead at the break.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest opened the second half on a 5-2 run, cutting the lead to just five, but Battle brought his first half dominance into the second half. The 6-foot-6 guard answered the Demon Deacons’ run with two straight jumpers, giving Syracuse a 46-35 lead, prompting coach Danny Manning to call a timeout.

Wake’s timeout couldn’t stop the success Syracuse was having on offense, as Frank Howard was able to find Hughes on two lob occasions for a pair of thunderous dunks. The Demon Deacons’ defense was playing high in the half court, which allowed Hughes to utilize the backdoor cuts, leading to multiple successful alley-oops (Hughes finished with 18 points).

Syracuse took a 56-37 lead into the under 12-minute timeout, as their defense started to lock in and smother the perimeter players on Wake Forest. The Orange kept the pounding on, as their active hands allowed them to get out in transition and find easy looks, giving them a 69-42 lead with 5:20 remaining—easy looks are something they’ve missed this season.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Orange sealed the deal by controlling the pace of play, helping them beat the Demon Deacons 79-54. Next up is the final home game of the season, as the No. 2 ranked Virginia Cavaliers come into the Carrier Dome Monday night. That game tips at 7 p.m. ET and will on ESPN.