ACC Roundup: No. 2 Orange move to 20-0 by beating Wake
Only two Syracuse teams have won their first 20 games, and C.J. Fair has been a member of both.This current one, he says, is "a hard-fought 20-game winning streak."
Not much came easy during the Orange's latest victory.
No. 2 Syracuse matched the best start in program history Wednesday night, pulling away to beat Wake Forest 67-57 behind a strong second half from freshman Tyler Ennis.
Ennis scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime and Fair finished with 16 points for the Orange (20-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), while Trevor Cooney scored all eight of his in the final 1:45.
Syracuse remained one of three unbeaten teams in Division I with No. 1 Arizona, which beat Stanford 60-57 on Wednesday, and No. 4 Wichita State.
The Orange pulled away late while sidestepping a possible trap with a visit from No. 17 Duke coming up this weekend, and joined the 2011-12 group as the only Orange teams to start 20-0.
"We've got a long stretch ahead of us," Fair said.
In their first visit to Tobacco Road as ACC members, they had to work for it against a Wake Forest team that had been perfect at home and tough on visitors in the top five.
"It was just one of those games you're just trying to struggle through defensively, and we did just a good enough job defensively to be able to get the win," coach Jim Boeheim said. "You have to find a way to win these games, and this team has been able to do that."
Travis McKie scored 12 points for the Demon Deacons (14-7, 4-4), and his free throw with 4:10 left pulled them to 54-49.
But while Wake Forest came up empty on its next two trips down court, Cooney caught fire.
"We needed one of those timely 3s to go in," McKie said. "If we just would've got three more of those 3s to go in, we'd be looking at a different outcome."
The guard buried a fall-away jumper that he called "the toughest shot I had all day." He followed that with two free throws to give Syracuse its first double-figure lead and streaked down court for an open-court dunk after a steal by Fair to put the Orange up 62-50 with 1:19 left.
"I heard C.J. say, 'Shoot it,'" Cooney said. "And no one needs to tell me to shoot it."
By then, they could look ahead to hosting the Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome in one of the season's most widely anticipated matchups.
Devin Thomas scored 12 points for Wake Forest, which had won 13 straight at Joel Coliseum and had won three straight home games against top-five teams — a run that included a rout of then-No. 2 Miami last season.
Just about all of the Demon Deacons' key stats suggested they would be blown out: They shot 34 percent, were outrebounded 55-35, made just three of their 20 3-point attempts and were 18 of 30 from the free throw line.
"They're long and athletic, so their zone is definitely a force to be reckoned with," McKie said. "We had great looks. We just didn't knock it down."
Boston College coasts by Virginia Tech, 76-52
BOSTON (AP) — Boston College took advantage of a rare lengthy midseason break between games and looked like a different team.
Joe Rahon scored 20 points, Ryan Anderson 18 and BC nailed a season high 14 from 3-point range in a 76-52 rout over Virginia Tech Wednesday night.
Playing their first game in eight days, the Eagles came out hot on offense and didn't let up in beating the Hokies for the second time this season.
Eagles coach Steve Donahue simply avoided talking about his team's early season struggles during the break.Patrick Heckmann added 14 points and Olivier Hanlan finished with 11 for the Eagles (6-14, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Jarell Eddie led Virginia Tech (8-12, 1-7) with 23 points and 10 rebounds. It was the Hokies' seventh straight loss.
Wells leads Maryland over Miami 74-71
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Dez Wells hadn't missed a shot all night, and with the game tied and the clock winding down, Maryland's leading scorer had no intention of finally clanging one off the rim.
Wells drilled the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to provide Maryland with a 74-71 victory over Miami on Wednesday night.
Limited to five minutes of playing time and no shots in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, Wells went 7 for 7 from the floor and 6 for 6 at the foul line over the final 20 minutes to finish with 21 points.
The Terrapins blew a 10-point lead over the final 2 minutes before Wells connected from the top of the key to break the deadlock.
"I've taken those shots a million times since the preseason," Wells said. "I just have confidence in my shot. In those type of situations, I was smiling. I feel no pressure."
After Wells' final basket, Maryland fouled Manu Lacomte, who missed both free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining. Lacomte botched the second one intentionally, but Maryland's Jake Layman grabbed the rebound an instant before the final buzzer.
Layman and Evan Smotrycz each tallied 15 points for the Terrapins, who won for only the second time in six games. Maryland (12-9, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 55-54 with 8:37 remaining before Wells scored 10 points during a 15-4 run that made it 69-59 with 2:32 to go.