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Syracuse 80, LSU 57: Orange take down Tigers behind Judah Mintz’s career night

Syracuse was able to win its first showing in the ACC/SEC Challenge to remain undefeated at home.

LSU v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After returning home last week from the Maui Invitational the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team resumed action, hosting LSU in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge. Behind a career-high 33 points from sophomore phenom Judah Mintz, the Orange (5-2) bested the Tigers (4-3) by a final score of 80-57 during the first Central New York lake effect snowstorm of the season.

Adrian Autry went with the same starting lineup for the seventh straight game, giving the nod to Judah Mintz, JJ Starling, Chris Bell, Justin Taylor and Naheem McLeod.

Taylor got things started for Syracuse with a transition triple to sit down the JMA Dome faithful. Mintz joined in on the three point making right after. McLeod had a hot start as he scored on a bucket inside, grabbed a pair of rebounds and had an alert block as Syracuse led 8-6 at the first media timeout.

With Mintz and McLeod playing strong through the early action, Autry stuck with his starters for the first seven minutes of gameplay. The first substitutions off the bench were Kyle Cuffe, Maliq Brown and Benny Williams at 12:54 mark. Syracuse kept pace with LSU on the boards early as both teams traded buckets. The Orange led 16-14 at the second media timeout.

From there LSU began to create separation on the glass and went on a 5-0 run. The Tigers also started to carve out an advantage in the paint. Syracuse then reinserted McLeod and went to the 2-3 zone. Williams had an emphatic rejection on Jordan Wright’s baseline floater that looked like goaltending, but it wasn’t called as LSU led Syracuse 21-19 with seven minutes left in the first half.

From there Syracuse would go on an 8-2 run, all on free throws. Six of those free throws came from Mintz while two came from Starling. The Orange were 12-12 from the line at that point. Syracuse would mix defenses the rest of the half, going back to the man-to-man after having some success in the 2-3 zone.

In the closing minutes of the first, a Mintz wrap around pass for a Brown dunk gave the Orange a 31-25 lead. On the next play, Brown was whistled for a foul as LSU’s Jalen Reed scored and completed a three point play. The Tigers tried to go two-for-one after its use it or lose it timeout, but it backfired.

Mintz scored on a nasty transition dunk and finished with an and-one. Taylor missed a three on the last offensive possession as Syracuse led 33-28 at the half. LSU led the rebounding battle 26-20 and 22-10 in the paint, but the Orange won the points off turnovers 11-6 and went 14-15 from the line. Mintz led all scorers with 17 points at the break.

Out of the break, Mintz scored on two consecutive and-ones. He split the free throws but gave the Orange the first double-digit lead of the game.

LSU went to a zone (1-3-1?) and it had mixed results. Mintz was able to connect on a corner triple and he continued his strong play by getting into transition and drawing fouls. Starling struggled to make shots around the rim, though and LSU was able to stay within striking distance as Trae Hannibal and Tyrell Ward converted at the rim. The Orange led 43-34 when Autry called his first timeout of the second half.

Quadir Copeland was inserted as the first sub of the second half. He immediately scored on a drive and a euro step around a defender, but gave up an uncontested three to Wright on the next play. Then Bell found nylon on three straight threes to give Syracuse a 56-40 lead with 12:34 to play as LSU called timeout.

A Copeland behind the back pass to Brown highlighted the stage of the game where it went from non-competitive to the Orange just having fun. After another defensive stop, an extra pass from Bell found Taylor for a corner three as the Orange broke the game open with a 23 point lead. LSU scored and Bell responded with his fifth three of the night to give Syracuse its largest lead of the game at 24.

Playing with a large lead, Syracuse took its foot off the gas and turned the ball over for a few transition buckets the other way. Ward, Derek Fountain and Wright all had layups to make it 66-48. Autry called timeout with 7:53 to play.

The pace slowed down from there as LSU struggled to get much of anything going offensively. Williams connected on a three late in the game, Mintz added to his point total and Peter Carey made a late appearance as Syracuse won going away to stay unbeaten at home.

Final stats

Mintz led all scorers with 33 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Bell had 20 points on 6-10 shooting from outside. Brown finished with 7 points and 10 rebounds.

Syracuse shot 25-63 from the floor and 11-21 from deep. LSU shot 24-61 from the floor and 2-22 from three. The Orange were a season-best 19-23 from the charity stripe. Syracuse out-rebounded LSU 43-36. The Orange won the points off turnovers battle 26-14 but was out-scored in the paint 44-28.

Next up

Syracuse heads to Charlottesville to play Virginia this Saturday. The first conference game of the season tips off at noon from John Paul Jones Arena and will air on ESPN2.