SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tyus Battle made up for perhaps his worst game of the season as host Syracuse held off Wake Forest 78-70 Sunday afternoon in an ACC basketball game before 24,018 fans at the Carrier Dome.
Battle scored a game-high 34 points on 10-for-18 shooting (3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 11 of 13 from the foul line) as the Orange overcame awful foul shooting down the stretch. In Syracuse’s 73-67 loss at Wake Forest on Jan. 3, Battle scored just 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting (1-for-7 from 3-point range) with five turnovers and no assists.
Leading 65-63, Syracuse (17-8, 6-6 ACC) slowly built its lead to 70-65 despite missing six out of nine free throws. Oshae Brissett finally converted a pair of foul shots to make it 72-65, and the Orange held on despite making just 9 of 17 free throws in the final four minutes. Battle sealed the win with a pair of foul shots and a dunk in the closing seconds.
Brissett scored 15 points with a team-high 10 rebounds, and Frank Howard added 12 points for Syracuse.
Bryant Crawford led Wake Forest with 24 points, while Doral Moore had 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. The Demon Deacons (9-16, 2-11) have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
Battle scored six points in a 9-2 run that gave the Orange a 40-26 lead early in the second half. Wake Forest responded with a 6-0 run, but Battle completed a 4-point play and then made a steal and drove for a thunderous dunk as Syracuse maintained a 46-34 advantage.
After missing 11 of their first 14 3-pointers, the Demon Deacons sank six consecutive treys, including four by Mitchell Wilbekin. On his fourth 3-pointer, Wilbekin was fouled and made the free throw to nudge Wake Forest within six, 61-55. An 8-0 spurt cut Wake Forest’s deficit to 65-63 with about four minutes remaining.
Syracuse outscored Wake Forest 15-8 over the final 6 1/2 minutes of the first half to build a 31-21 lead at the break. Howard and Battle ignited that run with 3-pointers, and Brissett also sank a 3-pointer during that stretch.
The Demon Deacons shot just 28 percent (7-for-25) in the first half and they missed their first nine 3-point attempts before Crawford’s deep trey with 2 seconds left in the half. Crawford (10 points) and Moore (eight) shot a combined 6-for-11 in the first half while their teammates made only 1 of 14 shots.