Wake Forest and Syracuse are near the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, although both schools are trending in the wrong direction.
The Demon Deacons and visiting Orange are each hungry for a victory heading into Saturday’s matchup in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Wake Forest (13-7, 5-4 ACC) enters this meeting having dropped four of its past six games, most recently losing 77-72 at Pitt on Wednesday. Hunter Sallis paced the Demon Deacons with 22 points, while Efton Reid III chipped in 14 points and 10 boards.
For Reid, that matched a season high in points and gave him his third double-double of the campaign, much to the delight of Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes.
“He’s a good player,” Forbes said. “We need to continue to get it to him down in there and I think it’ll help us going down the stretch.”
Syracuse (14-7, 5-5) is looking to avoid its third loss in four games after an 80-75 setback at Boston College on Tuesday. JJ Starling and Judah Mintz each scored 18 points and Maliq Brown chipped in 15, but the Orange were outrebounded 37-27 and missed half of their 14 free throws.
“We got fouled and if we would’ve made those foul shots, you stop the clock, you start making a comeback, (then) it’s just a different game,” Syracuse coach Adrian Autry said.
Mintz leads the Orange in scoring (18.5), assists (4.6) and steals (2.1), while Starling (12.7 points) has played better of late. The Syracuse backcourt will be challenged by Wake Forest guards Sallis, Kevin Miller and Cameron Hildreth, who average a combined 49 points per game.
The teams split two meetings last season with the Orange winning 72-63 in the regular-season finale and then the Demon Deacons getting revenge four days later with a 77-74 triumph in the ACC tournament.
— Field Level Media
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