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Syracuse men’s basketball: Orange men highly represented atop ACC statistics

Steady contributions heading into conference play

LSU v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

We’ve seen a bit of everything from the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team as we approach the midway point of the season. Come from behind wins, blowout losses and everything in between.

Before we ramp up conference play, it’s time to check in on the leading ACC player stats, highlighting which Orangemen stand out in each category.

Points per game: 4th - Judah Mintz (19.8)

The sophomore continues to be a scoring machine for the Orange and already has four 25+ point games. His outside shot has been Mintz’s most notable improvement from years one to two, shooting 37.8% this year compared to 30% last season. Mintz has a knack for drawing fouls and sports a 78% percentage at the free-throw line. He’s currently on pace for 214 made free throws, eerily close to Greg Kohls’ school record of 222 in 1972.

Rebounds per game: T20th- Justin Taylor (5.8)

Speaking of stepping up in his second year, Taylor’s emerged as Syracuse’s primary rebounder. The sophomore has filled in the void that Naheem McLeod was expected to fill and already has more boards this season than a year prior. It’s been a pleasant surprise so far, but seeing how his 6’6 frame holds up in the paint against ACC-level big men will be interesting.

Assists per game: 10th - Judah Mintz (3.7)

In addition to scoring, Mintz also sets up his teammates at a consistent rate. The point guard is only one of two ACC players to rank in the top 10 in points and assists, along with Wake Forest’s Kevin Miller.

3-point percentage: 9th - Chris Bell (37.5%)

Bell has made his living behind the arc this season with team highs of 30 made three-pointers on 80 attempts. His ability to spread the floor gives the Orange an added weapon from deep and can expose a defense trying to double Mintz on the drive. Bell is SU’s third-leading scorer behind Mintz and J.J Starling and has a legitimate chance for back-to-back 40% three-point shooting campaigns.

Steals per game: T3rd - Maliq Brown & Judah Mintz (2.2)

The pair highlights a Syracuse team that thrives on forcing turnovers and is second in the ACC with over nine per game. Brown has the most steals of any bench player in the conference, while Mintz will most likely lead the Orange in this category for the second straight season. The team as a whole averages almost two more steals a contest in Adrian Autry’s man-to-man than Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone.

Blocks per game: 5th - Naheem McLeod (1.8)

Despite limited minutes, the 7’4 Florida State transfer still makes time for what he does best: swatting shots. McLeod started the year scorching hot with 16 rejections over his first five games but now only has 22 after 12 contests. Injuries and inefficiency have been the main culprits in this plateau. However, the big man has shown Orange fans that he can make a difference in the paint at full strength.

Minutes per game: 2nd - J.J. Starling (34.5)

Surprisingly, the Baldwinsville native is second behind Wake’s Hunter Sallis for most minutes in the ACC. While almost always on the court alongside Mintz, Starling can carry the load when his partner-in-crime heads to the bench for a quick breather. The guard also fouls at the lowest rate of any starter, further helping his cause for more playing time. Likewise, the sophomore is starting to round into form with 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his first year back home.

Who are you most pleased with as we enter ACC play?