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Wake Forest hopes to continue strong play at Syracuse

Wake Forest has reached the midway mark of its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. Now the possibilities seem enticing.

The Demon Deacons have a rematch with a Syracuse team that needs to get cranked up down the stretch to have any remote chance of reaching the postseason.

The teams collide Saturday night in Syracuse, N.Y.

"We're only at halftime. I mean that because it's halftime of the league," Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. "We still have 10 games to go. There's a lot left to play for. ... They don't hand out any awards. They don't hand out any banners at halftime. We've got a lot left on the table."

Wake Forest (17-4, 7-3 ACC) has won four straight regular-season conference games for the first time since the 2009-10 season. More impressively, the Demon Deacons have defeated three consecutive ACC foes by at least 15 points for the first time in 17 years.

"I think we have great chemistry," Forbes said. "They're tough. They believe in each other."

Wake Forest topped Syracuse 77-74 in overtime on Jan. 8. That was the third overtime triumph of the season for the Demon Deacons, who are 3-2 in true road games.

This marks the first repeat opponent for the Demon Deacons. Syracuse (9-11, 3-6) lost Tuesday night at Pittsburgh, a team it defeated earlier in the month.

Syracuse has lost its past two games, with a road setback at Duke last Saturday. The Orange scored 59 and 53 points in those pair of losses.

"We're not going to win games that way," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We're not winning games scoring 53 points. That's just not who we are."

Syracuse is 2-6 in January.

"Do you see anything that looks like a tournament team out there?" Boeheim said. "We're concerned about winning a game, period."

Syracuse's depth was reduced in the loss to Pittsburgh with reserve guard Symir Torrence out with an injury. Buddy Boeheim has led the Orange with 18.9 points per game this season.

Wake Forest's Alondes Williams is scoring an ACC-leading 20.4 points per game and Jake LaRavia is at 15.4 points per outing.

Daivien Williamson, who was out because of health and safety protocol and didn't play in the first meeting with Syracuse, is Wake Forest's third-leading scorer at 12.7 points per game.

Wake Forest hasn't played since Monday. Forbes, who has never been to Syracuse, said a few days off between games should be beneficial for the Demon Deacons.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 28, 2022

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