Hunter Sallis (23) celebrates a three-point shot to stretch Wake Forest’s early lead. Sallis finished the contest with 24 points.
Hunter Sallis (23) celebrates a three-point shot to stretch Wake Forest’s early lead. Sallis finished the contest with 24 points.
Evan Harris

Demon Deacons triumph against the Orange

Sallis, Miller lead Demon Deacons with offensive onslaught


After a pair of away losses at North Carolina and Pitt, Wake Forest Men’s Basketball needed a remedy — one they found Saturday night against the Syracuse Orange, winning 99-70.

The Orange came into the matchup as a unique defensive test, with star sophomore guard Judah Mintz (13pts, 6ast) being one of the most proficient free-throw shooters in the country. Mintz arrived as fifth in the country in free throw attempts (185 FTA), trailing the likes of former National Player of the Year Zach Edey (231 FTA).

“He’s a hard player to guard because of his ability to get fouled,” Head Coach Steve Forbes said. “We had to change some of our defensive coverage against him in order to monitor that.”

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Wake Forest started out the night hot on the offensive end and strong on the other. 3-pointers from Hunter Sallis (24pts, 7-9 FG) and Parker Friedrichsen (6pts, 2-3 3PT) showcased quick ball movement around the perimeter for Coach Forbes’ squad.

Meanwhile, the Orange struggled to score outside of Mintz. The sophomore guard had seven of his team’s first 11 points throughout the first 10 minutes of the half. Tensions continued to arise when Syracuse forward Benny Williams (7pts, 8reb) threw a ball — leading to a technical foul.

The middle-eight proved crucial to maintaining the Demon Deacons’ momentum. After a Kevin “Boopie” Miller (21pts, 10-14 FG) steal, Damari Monsanto (6pts, 2-5 3PT) caught the Orange off-guard on a fast break — finding Sallis on an electric alley-oop. 

“I thought we got out into transition well,” forward Andrew Carr (16pts, 3reb) said. “Being able to get the ball moving allowed for us to open their defense more.”

The momentum carried past halftime. After going into the break with a 14-point lead, the Demon Deacons stretched their lead to 17 at the under-16 media timeout — and a Cameron Hildreth (13pts, 12reb) and-one sent Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum into applause.

By the middle of the second-half, the Demon Deacons led by as much as 25 points, stifling the Orange on the offensive end. 



The Demon Deacons continued their onslaught from 3-point land in the second half, as well. Shots from the likes of Hildreth , Carr and Friedrichsen hit from downtown — providing a key point of scoring as the Orange’s perimeter defense floundered.

Hildreth’s performance marked a turning point in the midst of a slump since his injury. Despite the struggles, Hildreth picked up the second double-double of his career.

“I think it’s a testament to his toughness and his love of playing,” Forbes said of Hildreth’s performance. “He does so many good things, and we need him on the court because he’s such a strong defender.”

When the Orange did fortify outside, Miller took advantage. The redshirt sophomore found himself feasting in the lane, cutting his way to a series of layups with contact.

“It was great to see Boopie [Miller] get back going offensively,” Forbes said. 

Throughout the latter part of the second half, the Demon Deacons found themself in a unique position — being up as much as 33 points. Sallis continued his reign from 3-point land, and Efton Reid (8pts, 8reb) continued to command the paint all in the name of metrics.

Meanwhile, the Orange continued to struggle — having players like Quadir Copeland (11pts, 2reb) and Maliq Brown (2pts, 8reb) each foul out. 

The final minutes provided a sense of elongated pain for the Orange. On the other end, transfer guard Abramo Canka (3pts) earned his first basket in a Wake Forest uniform. The Orange finally fell to the hosts, 99-70.

The Demon Deacons take on Georgia Tech this Tuesday, February 6th, at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

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