WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - For the first time in program history, Wake Forest men's basketball defeated Syracuse, 73-67, in the Demon Deacon's ACC home opener Wednesday evening at the LJVM Coliseum.
The Demon Deacons (8-6, 1-1 ACC) entered Wednesday's game with an 0-5 series record against the Orange (12-3, 1-1 ACC) as they won the first ACC home opener victory in the Danny Manning era.
Bryant Crawford led the Deacs with 19 points, including a season-high 4 baskets from the 3-point line. It was his 13th double-figure game this season and 66th career double digit game.
Terrence Thompson, in his ACC home debut, had season-high 13 points and seven rebounds while Mitchell Wilbekin had a career-high eight assists to go along with 10 points.
The Demon Deacons opened Wednesday's contest 5-of-6 from the field to build up an early five-point lead. The Deacs continued to stay hot, extending that lead to eight on multiple occasions while shooting over 50 percent from the floor. However, the Orange used an 8-0 run as the Deacons went cold to tie the score, 25-all, with just over three minutes remaining in the half. Syracuse extended that run to 10-0 and took its first lead since a 3-2 advantage in the opening minutes. The run was capped at 12-0 as Wilbekin was fouled for a four-point play to break up the run. Tied up at 29 with 26.9 seconds remaining in the first half, Syracuse hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds to go to take a 32-29 lead into halftime.
Wake Forest tied the score 32-all early in the second half after Thompson split a pair of free throws then hit a jumper. Syracuse took advantage of a Deacon scoring drought to gain a four-point lead but buckets from Doral Moore and Crawford once again tied the game and started a back-and-forth battle. The Deacs went on a 6-0 run to take their first lead in over 14 minutes with nine minutes to go in the second half. However, the Orange countered with a 7-0 run to regain the lead. Crawford then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Syracuse's lead to one with just over five minutes to go. A triple from Chaundee Brown gave the Deacons the lead and began a 5-for-5 hot streak for the Deacs. The Deacons sealed the game at the charity stripe, hitting eight free throws in the final minute on their way to the 73-67 victory.
Moore finished with eight points, six of which came in the first half, and a team-leading nine rebounds while Donovan Mitchell recorded six points.
Up next, the Demon Deacons hit the road to face Boston College on Saturday, Jan. 6. Tip is set for 4 pm and the game will air on Regional Sports Networks (FOX Sports Carolinas).
NO PLACE LIKE HOME -The Demon Deacons won their ACC home opener for the first time since 2013-14 and the first time under Danny Manning.
MOVING UP -Bryant Crawford made a season-high four three pointers, giving him 133 for his career. -He now moves past Harvey Hale into 10th in program history for 3-pointers made.
STARTING OVER - After having his streak of 36 straight double-figure scoring games snapped against Tennessee (Dec. 23), Crawford has returned to double figures in the team's last two games. -He scored 17 points against North Carolina (Dec. 30) and finished tonight with 19.
MOORE DUNKS -Doral Moore finished with eight points on Wednesday night, including three dunks. -38 of his 60 field goals this season have been dunks.
SPREADING THE WEALTH -Mitchell Wilbekin dished out a career-high eight assists. His previous career high was five. -Wilbekin also tied his season high with four 3-pointers.
WELCOME TO THE ACC -Playing in his first ACC home game, graduate transfer Terrence Thompson delivered a season-high 13 points.
SEALED AT THE LINE -Freshman Olivier Sarr made a season-high five free throws, including each of his last four in the final seconds to seal the victory for the Deacs.