Syracuse and Wake Forest are set for a rapid rematch Wednesday when they meet for the second time in five days, this game coming in the second round of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
The eighth-seeded Orange (17-14, 10-10 ACC) need to win the ACC tournament — something they have never done before — in order to reach the NCAA Tournament. The ninth-seeded Demon Deacons (18-13, 10-10) likely are in a similar boat as they seek their first ACC tourney crown since 1995.
The teams certainly are familiar with each other, having faced off Saturday in a 72-63 home triumph for Syracuse. Jesse Edwards stole the show with 27 points, 20 rebounds and five steals in a spectacular Senior Night performance.
“It’s all about keeping momentum, make sure the team stays focused on the next game,” Edwards said. “I know we’re all excited. … (Just) trying to go out there (Wednesday) and play our game the way we played (Saturday).”
Wake Forest obviously will try to come up with a new plan for guarding Edwards, but Syracuse will be equally focused on ACC first-team guard Tyree Appleby (18.8 points, 6.3 assists). He had 21 points and eight assists on Saturday as the Demon Deacons lost for the fourth time in five games.
“I thought we did a poor job of getting 50-50 balls,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “There’s a lot of those we just don’t get in that game like this. It just really hurts you. And so we’ll go back and take the day off — which we need — and we’ll get ready to play Wednesday in the ACC tournament.”
Syracuse, which is 11-2 all-time against Wake Forest, had lost four games in a row prior to Saturday’s victory. Each of those defeats came by at least 17 points.
“Obviously beating a team back-to-back is difficult, especially a team like Wake Forest,” Orange guard Judah Mintz said. “But we’ve seen what they like to do, and obviously they’re gonna try to make adjustments. We’ll do the same.”
–Field Level Media