Wake goes cold in 67-57 loss to No. 2 Orange
Wake Forest has been tough to beat at home lately — especially for highly ranked teams.
But Syracuse's tough zone defense wouldn't let the Demon Deacons get hot enough to pull another upset.
The second-ranked Orange beat Wake Forest 67-57 on Wednesday night by frustrating the Demon Deacons' shooters.
Wake Forest was just 3 of 20 from 3-point range and shot 34 percent overall.
"They're long and athletic, so their zone is definitely a force to be reckoned with," senior forward Travis McKie said. "We had great looks. We just didn't knock it down."
McKie and Coron Williams were a combined 3 of 14 from beyond the arc.
"We needed one of those timely 3s to go in," McKie said. "If we just would've got three more of those 3s to go in, we'd be looking at a different outcome."
McKie and Devin Thomas both scored 12 points for Wake Forest (14-7, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which had won 13 straight at Joel Coliseum and had won three straight home games against top-five teams — a run that included a rout of then-No. 2 Miami last season.
Freshman Tyler Ennis scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime and C.J. Fair finished with 16 points for the Orange (20-0, 7-0). Trevor Cooney scored all eight of his in the final 1:45.
Syracuse remained one of three unbeaten teams in Division I with No. 1 Arizona, which beat Stanford 60-57 on Wednesday, and No. 4 Wichita State.
The Orange pulled away late while sidestepping a possible trap with a visit from No. 17 Duke coming up this weekend, and joined the 2011-12 group as the only Orange teams to start 20-0.
"We've got a long stretch ahead of us," Fair said.
In their first visit to Tobacco Road as ACC members, they had to work for it against a Wake Forest team that had been perfect at home and tough on visitors in the top five.
"It was just one of those games you're just trying to struggle through defensively, and we did just a good enough job defensively to be able to get the win," coach Jim Boeheim said. "You have to find a way to win these games, and this team has been able to do that."
McKie's free throw with 4:10 left pulled the Demon Deacons to 54-49.
But while Wake Forest came up empty on its next two trips down court, Cooney caught fire.
The guard buried a fall-away jumper that he called "the toughest shot I had all day." He followed that with two free throws to give Syracuse its first double-figure lead and streaked down court for an open-court dunk after a steal by Fair to put the Orange up 62-50 with 1:19 left.
"I heard C.J. say, 'Shoot it,'" Cooney said. "And no one needs to tell me to shoot it."
By then, they could look ahead to hosting the Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome in one of the season's most widely anticipated matchups.
Joel Coliseum was buzzing when Wake Forest turned an eight-point deficit into a one-possession game in the span of a few seconds midway through the second half.
Williams swished a 3-pointer before Madison Jones swiped the ball from Cooney and hit a quick layup to make it 40-37 with 12½ minutes left.
Ennis, who was 0 for 6 from the field in the first half, followed by reeling off eight points — all on drives down or across the lane — in about 4 minutes to give the Orange a bit of breathing room.
His finger roll helped Syracuse match its largest lead to that point, 48-40, with about 8½ minutes left.
Jerami Grant finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Orange.
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