Wake Forest, Syracuse out to avoid bottom-six ACC finish


Wake Forest and Syracuse are stumbling to the finish line, leaving both Atlantic Coast Conference teams hungry for a win in Saturday’s regular-season finale in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Demon Deacons (18-12, 10-9 ACC) have lost three of their past four games, while the Orange (16-14, 9-10) have dropped four consecutive contests.

Wake Forest fell to Boston College in the final seconds of a 71-69 game Tuesday despite solid outings from seniors Tyree Appleby (23 points, six assists, three steals) and Daivien Williamson (20 points).

Appleby made four 3-pointers, giving him 16 in 38 attempts (42 percent) over his past four contests. Williamson knocked down three 3-pointers in his second-highest scoring game of the season.

“I felt like we only had two guys really show up to play tonight — the seniors, Daivien and Ty,” coach Steve Forbes lamented. “That’s very disappointing that we couldn’t have a better effort from the rest of the team on a big night for us, when we need to win to get to play on Wednesday in the ACC tournament.”

Like the Demon Deacons, the Orange are hoping to begin play in the ACC tournament Wednesday. The bottom six seeds must play in the opening round Tuesday.

There is also a chance that Wake Forest and Syracuse could play each other in the first round of the event. The Demon Deacons have won only twice in 12 all-time meetings with the Orange.

Syracuse has lost its past four games by 22, 18, 17 and 20 points, respectively, capped by a 96-76 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. The Orange allowed a Yellow Jackets-record 18 3-pointers and gave up at least 90 points for the third straight game.

“We have not been able to stop anybody four games in a row,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “And that’s on me. It’s my defense. We’re not able to stop anybody with it. That’s where we are.”

Syracuse will celebrate Boeheim’s 2003 national championship team Saturday, including retiring the jerseys of former standouts Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick.

–Field Level Media

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