Syracuse's 20-0 record might look perfect, but win No. 20 wasn't pretty. The 2nd-ranked Orange suffered through one of its worst shooting performances of the season but still managed to hold off Wake Forest 67-57 at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday night. Syracuse made just 36 percent of its field-goal attempts, making 21 out of 58 shots from the field. The Orange barely avoided its worst shooting night of the season thanks to making its last two shots. Syracuse's previous low was 35 percent (21-for-60) in a win over North Carolina. "It was a very struggling game on the offensive end of the court,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "You have to find a way to win these games and this team has been able to do that.'' The win improved Syracuse's record to 20-0, which ties the school record for the best start to a season. The 2011-12 Orange also won its first 20 games. Syracuse, which is 7-0 and in sole possession of first place in the ACC, will try to break the record on Saturday when its hosts No. 17 Duke at the Carrier Dome. Boeheim said Syracuse wasn't guilty of looking past Wake Forest to Saturday's much-anticipated matchup with the Blue Devils in front of what is expected to be a record-setting crowd at the Carrier Dome. "No, I don't think that had any effect on the game,'' Boeheim said. "We weren't shooting good.'' Syracuse survived its poor offensive showing against Wake Forest with a defensive effort that forced the Demon Deacons into 34 percent shooting. Wake Forest made just 18 of its 53 field goal attempts. The Deacons went 3-for-20 from 3-point range. "For the most part, we did a good job on their shooters,'' Boeheim said. "When they got an open look, they just didn't make it. The same as us.'' Tyler Ennis scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to lead Syracuse. The freshman guard missed all six of his shots in the first half, but went 6-for-8 from the field in the second half. "He took the game over,'' Boeheim said. C.J. Fair scored 16 points for the Orange. Jerami Grant posted his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. "We got good shots. I know I did,'' said Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney, who missed his first seven shots and all five of his 3-point attempts on the night. "I made the toughest shot I had.'' But Cooney said the Orange emphasized its defense, which propelled it to the win. "Our focus is defense,'' Cooney said. "It's not offense. We know the offense will come. You can shoot poorly and still find a way to win. We've done that a couple times.'' Syracuse ended Wake Forest's 13-game home winning streak, which was the third-longest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Demon Deacons fell to 14-7 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. Travis McKie and Devin Thomas both scored 12 points for Wake Forest, but the two combined to go 6-for-18 from the field. Syracuse led 26-23 at halftime after a hideous shooting display. The Orange made just eight out of 31 field-goal attempts in the half, including a 2-for-10 performance from 3-point range. Syracuse also gave away a ton of points at the foul line, hitting only eight of its 14 attempts. Still, Syracuse led by three points at half because Wake Forest was just as bad.
Syracuse grinds its way past Wake Forest as Orange improves to 20-0
Syracuse.com | Jan 30