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Chris Bell explodes for career-high 25 points in comeback effort vs. Colgate: ‘He’s a sniper’

Syracuse got its best career performance from sophomore Chris Bell.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sophomore forward Chris Bell erupted for a career-high 25 points against Colgate on Tuesday night. The Syracuse Orange needed every point in its 24-point comeback victory.

Bell finished his night with 6-14 shooting from three point land and 9-19 overall. He eclipsed his previous career-high 17 points against Notre Dame last January. His six threes were also a career best.

“I really didn’t want to lose to Colgate for a third year in a row,” Bell declared post-game.

Bell’s performance keyed a historic Syracuse comeback. The Orange erased the 24-point deficit late in the second half in large part to Judah Mintz’s 23 points and Bell’s 25.

“Chris Bell was phenomenal today. This was his best game in a [Syracuse] uniform,” Adrian Autry said.

“I told Chris I love him to death,” Mintz said. “I want to hug him. I want to give him a big forehead kiss.”

The sophomore sharpshooter got his night started early by knocking down a three from the right wing on the first possession of the game. He scored inside on a drive as part of his ten first half points.

“If I see one go in it’s over for the rest of the night,” Bell said.

Bell knocked down another key triple to cut Colgate’s lead from 20 to 17 with 14 minutes left that ignited a run. A corner three from him with 11 minutes left trimmed the lead to ten. He was not surprised by how open he was on certain instances.

“No I think that’s how Colgate plays. I think they kind of dare you to take threes and shoot the ball. They kind of play with your mind a little bit,” Bell revealed.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The big play came late when Syracuse trailed 70-67 with over a minute left. After an out of bounds underneath, the inbounds pass made its way up top to Bell. He was hardly met by Colgate’s Keegan Records, who sagged off the shooter.

Bell had ideas.

“I was like, ‘I’m just gonna take it,’” Bell said of the dribble into the three. “It happened to go in.”

Tie game, 70 all.

“He’s a sniper,” Mintz emphasized.

Bell’s impact was most obvious from long range, but he’s attacking more off the dribble this season as a sophomore. He’s getting to the rim more frequently and able to finish around the basket. He connected on a floater in the second half, too — further evidence he’s added to his offensive arsenal.

“I’m just proud of him. He showed what he can do. He’s had a couple games where he might run off a couple threes but for him to be consistent for a whole game is big for us. Without Chris we don’t get the win today,” Mintz said.

Autry says he’s seen Bell make strides during the last three weeks. He’s developed in practice. Bells says he spends time watching Klay Thompson and his shooting stroke, which is still Bell’s best attribute as a player.

“I thought he played with energy,” Autry said. “Even though he didn’t get no rebounds, I thought his defense was pretty solid. He shot the ball. He made his shots. He’s a great shooter. We know that.”