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Syracuse 94, Wake Forest 72: Orange bury Demon Deacons in second half

Syracuse blitzed past Wake Forest with Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo in attendance with a big second half effort. Bust out the tzatziki and chicken souvlaki.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team ended a two-game losing streak, blowing past Wake Forest by a final score of 94-72 with a 55-point second half effort.

On a night where there were seemingly as many Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks jerseys as there were Carmelo Anthony Syracuse jerseys, Buddy Boeheim poured in 30 points to lead the Orange in front of an announced crowd of 23,194, which included the NBA MVP.

Following spraining a knee ligament at Duke last Saturday, Symir Torrence returned after missing just one game at Pittsburgh. John Bol Ajak was unavailable due to a covid-related issue.

Jesse Edwards scored the first four points for Syracuse — a pair of free throws and a bucket inside. Swider hit a corner three to follow from a Jimmy Boeheim feed to jump out to a 7-3 lead. But Wake Forest had little trouble getting the ball inside as Daivien Williamson scored the first of many buckets down low. He and Alondes Williams ripped off an 11-0 run while Edwards picked up an early foul as Wake led 16-9 early.

Symir Torrence, Benny Williams and Frank Anselem all checked at the 13:53 mark for Syracuse. Williams had an aggressive drive on his first catch and the Syracuse crowd approved. He and Torrence both drew fouls on strong drives but Wake still led 19-12 at the second media timeout.

On his first shot, Torrence finished a floater off the glass to make the score 19-14. Every time Williams did something positive, the Syracuse crowd responded accordingly with cheers. The freshman forward forced a tie up with the possession arrow in Syracuse’s favor, earning a steal. He grabbed a pair of rebounds. The crowd cheered each time.

After banking in his first shot, Girard found a bit of rhythm to get Syracuse back to within two at the under eight media timeout after a baseline jumper. Edwards was forced to sit with his second foul at 8:19 as his understudy Anselem replaced him.

With the 2-3 zone providing little resistance, Dallas Walton scored inside for Wake and a Jake Laravia triple had the Demon Deacons back up seven, but Buddy Boeheim got going on a made a shot in the lane. Then, back to back Anselem slams — with a Laravia layup sandwiched in between — had Syracuse back to within three with 3:17 to go in the half.

Then the younger Boeheim began heating up, tying the game on a corner triple after Girard pushed the ball ahead. Yet Wake continued to score as Walton scored inside and split a pair of free throws.

With the half winding down, Girard went two-for-one and buried a three just eight seconds into the shot-clock with 36 ticks left in the half. But once again it was Williamson for the Demon Deacons — he responded with a wide open triple from the top of the key. Girard quickly went the other way and was fouled just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

He made both free throws and Wake went into the break with a 42-39 lead. Williamson scored 17 first half points as Wake shot 16-30 (53.3%) from the floor and 7-15 (56.7%) from three. Buddy scored 11 as Syracuse finished the half 13-26 (50%) from the floor and 5-10 (50%) from deep.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Out of the intermission, Syracuse quickly reclaimed the lead on a Swider jumper.

Then Buddy Boeheim happened. He made a corner three to put Syracuse up one. He backed down his defender in the lane, rose above him and banked a shot that nestled in off the back rim. Then he made another three to give Syracuse a six point lead, forcing Steve Forbes to call timeout at 16:47 mark.

Syracuse never looked back from there. The Orange began looking inside to Edwards and he rewarded his teammates with finishes at the rim. The younger Boeheim added another pair of jumpers inside and Edwards scored again to make it 63-50. All the while, Wake looked out of sorts on offense as Syracuse forced eight early second half turnovers, notably as Buddy got his hand in the passing lane leading to steals and transition points.

Then it was Cole Swider’s turn. The Villanova transfer ripped off nine straight points with a second-chance bucket, a mid-range jumper, emphatic dunk in transition and a made triple to give Syracuse a 74-55 lead that all but put Wake away.

Edwards picked up his fourth foul with 7:44 to play and Anselem came in for spot minutes, but commanding a 20 point lead, the Demon Deacons failed to make a run at Syracuse down the stretch.

The Orange took the air out of the ball late and inserted the walk-ons with just over one minute left. Paddy Casey scored on a crafty layup in the closing minute and Arthur Cordes buried a three as the game clock expired as Syracuse picked up its fourth win in ACC play.

Final Stats

Buddy Boeheim led all scorers with 30 points on 12-21 shooting and 6-11 from three to go with 7 assists, 5 rebound and 3 steals. Cole Swider finished with 18 points on 8-11 shooting. Joe Girard score 13 points while Jesse Edwards finished with a dozen.

Syracuse shot 36-63 (57.1%) for the game and 10-19 (52.6%) from three. Wake Forest finished 27-56 (48.2%) from the floor and 11-27 (40.7%) from three. Syracuse had a 19-8 points off turnovers edge and a 42-32 points in the paint advantage.

Next Up

Syracuse travels to Raleigh on Wednesday to take on the NC State Wolfpack. That game tips at 9 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN2.