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No. 13 seed Wake Forest upsets 5th-seeded Syracuse in 2nd round of ACC tournament

first_imgGREENSBORO, N.C. — Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman stood still on the court. Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover trotted onto it grinning ear to ear. Hillsman’s players walked toward him as he waited for a team manager to hand him a whiteboard. The Demon Deacons leapt off the bench, running to greet their teammates.Six minutes earlier, the game was tied at 46. But with eight minutes left, WFU held a 13-point lead. The Orange had missed six of its last nine shots, prompting Hillsman to call a timeout.“We weren’t scoring,” Hillsman said. “That was the biggest thing. We didn’t score the basketball for a large chunk of the game and when we get into those droughts where we don’t score, that means we can’t press. That’s our game.”And since fifth-seeded SU (21-9, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) wasn’t able to play its game, it fell to 13th-seeded Wake Forest (12-20, 2-14) 85-79 in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum. No. 22 Syracuse’s next game won’t come until the NCAA tournament, which doesn’t start until March 20.The Demon Deacons – who outrebounded the Orange by 10 – relied on a 22-5 second-half run to propel them to the upset win while two of Syracuse’s best three rebounders, Briana Day and Taylor Ford, sat on the bench for large portions of that run before each fouled out.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe run began when Amber Campbell hit a jumper to tie the game at 48 and then Wake Forest scored the next nine points. The crowd of 9,386 grew louder with each basket as the lead grew at the same time.“Our emphasis was to get stops,” Demon Deacons head coach Jen Hoover said. “… We really felt that in the half court, we could force them to one shot and if we would get stops, we would run out and we knew we wouldn’t have to face the press.”WFU beat Syracuse at its strong suit with easy layups in transition with 36 points in the paint and 15 on fast breaks. The Orange prides itself on forcing turnovers, pushing the tempo and pressing after made basket. But since SU’s shots weren’t falling, Wake Forest took advantage.Day grabbed just one rebound in 13 minutes against Dearica Hamby, the ACC’s third-best rebounder and scorer. Ford was Syracuse’s leading rebounder but only played 20 minutes. Each of them had three fouls by halftime, forcing Syracuse to go to its backup centers Bria Day and Amber Witherspoon.“The key to this game was we didn’t have our best players on the floor,” Hillsman said.When either Bria Day or Witherspoon made a productive play, Briana Day and assistant coach Sasha Palmer would stand up and cheer them on from the bench. But those moments were rare, as Hamby and forward Kandice Ball combined for 37 points.When Day committed her fifth and final foul, her jaw dropped in disbelief.On WFU’s next possession, Millesa Calicott nailed a 3 to put the Demon Deacons up by 15, its largest lead of the game. She celebrated by lifting three fingers in the air and jamming them into the side of her head as she spun around and jogged back on defense after yelling with excitement.“They just happened to get their run at the right time,” Alexis Peterson said. “We just wanted to stay composed, stay poised and keep turning them over and keep playing hard.”And Syracuse had its opportunities at the end. The Orange went on a 13-2 run to make it a three-point game with 45 seconds left courtesy of three 3-pointers.Wake Forest’s Ataijah Taylor missed a shot with 24 seconds left and the game depended on the ensuing rebound. Players from both teams sprawled across the court and the ball ricocheted around the paint before ultimately landing in Hamby’s hands. Had SU gotten the board, it would’ve had a chance to send the game to overtime.But that chance never came and fittingly, the game’s most important moment was a rebound that Syracuse couldn’t control.“If you look at the stat line, it’s amazing,” Hillsman said. “It tells a story.” Comments Published on March 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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