First things first. The Orange got a huge win, beating Wake Forest 73-64. They will return to the Barclays Center floor against UNC tomorrow night. Things really could not have started better for the Orange. They opened the game on a torrid run, and seemed to bury the Demon Deacons less than ten minutes into the game. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. After opening the game with a 20-4 lead, the Orange staggered the remaining ten minutes or so of the first half, only taking a 30-24 lead into the locker room.
Tyus Battle got hot early and, unsurprisingly served as the catalyst for most good things the Orange did on offense all night. He finished the game with 18 points on five-for-nine from the floor. The Orange were able to get all five starters into the game early but things regressed to the mean shortly thereafter, in terms of the overall offensive output.
However, when the Orange were in need of a spark to start the second half, an unlikely hero stepped up. Marek Dolezaj drove to the rim on consecutive possessions coming away with five points. He finished the game with 20 points. Yes. 20.
Dolezaj got the offense into a groove that carried them for the rest of the game. The Orange shot 77% from the floor in the first ten minutes of the second half. Wake Forest became increasingly frustrated as the Orange continued to stymie their offense and get open looks at the other end.
The important thing is the result of this game. The Orange went into this ACC Tournament unsure of their spot on the NCAA Tournament bubble. One thing was sure though. To have any chance whatsoever of having their named called on Selection Sunday, Syracuse needed to beat Wake Forest. It is survive and advance season. And, for at least one more day, the Orange survive and advanced in the ACC Tournament. Oh, by the way, Tuesday marked the first ACC Tournament win in Syracuse history.