In a game that was pivotal for both the Syracuse Orange and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, only one team showed up. It was the worst first half at home I have seen during Danny Manning's tenure at Wake Forest, and as a result the Deacs found themselves down 47-27 at halftime. The second half was slightly better, but that's only because it was being compared to the first half. Ultimately, Wake Forest lost 83-55.
If you wanted to see an example of awful basketball, then I highly encourage you to watch Wake Forest's first half against Syracuse. They began the game by giving Trevor Cooney, a shooting specialist, several wide open threes and he buried them. It was almost immediately a 6-0 game, and the Orange never looked back. Wake was lost far too easily on defense, and several times actually went underneath screens set for Cooney. Cooney got off to a fire start, and at one point was leading Wake Forest 19-11.
Offensively, if it's even possible, might have been somewhat worse. The passes were primarily horizontal and lackadaisical against the length of the zone defense. That led to far too many turnovers and transition opportunities for Syracuse. They failed to grab offensive rebounds despite Syracuse being in a zone, and could not shoot the ball at all. Wake Forest shot 33.3% from the field in the first half, and only shot 32.6% for the entire game.
Wake Forest did do a nice job of getting to the foul line. In fact, they shot a whopping 42 free throw attempts. Unfortunately, free throws aren't actually free. Wake Forest made just 25 of them and failed to capitalize on Syracuse's foul trouble.
Syracuse's zone also caused Wake Forest to settle for far too many jump shots, and they couldn't hit the ocean from a boat. Wake Forest went just 2-20 from beyond the arc. 18 turnovers. 18 missed threes. 17 missed free throws. 8 fewer rebounds than your opponent. It's extremely difficult to win when any of those things happen, and it's essentially impossible to win when all of them happen.
There's not really much else to say.
Syracuse was led by PhD candidate Trevor Cooney, who finished with 25 points. Michael Gbinije had 15, and Tyler Roberson was excellent by contributing 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Wake Forest had six players score in double-figures against Virginia Tech, but only had one player (Doral Moore) score in double-figures this afternoon. Devin Thomas had 9 points and 13 rebounds, but went just 5-11 from the foul line. He played very hard, but didn't get many touches.
It was just one game, but it was brutal to watch. Wake Forest now has a brutal schedule upcoming. They travel to North Carolina, then to Miami, then are at home against Virginia, and then at Notre Dame. I hate to say it, but 1-8 in ACC play is probably the most likely scenario.