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Syracuse men’s basketball: three takeaways from narrow victory over Cornell

Five straight wins in the Dome

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 05 Cornell at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a little too close for comfort, but the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team found a way past Cornell in an 81-70 win on Tuesday night. The Orange wrote another chapter in the history books, having won their 43rd straight game against the Big Red. Let’s get to the takeaways...

Surviving life without Judah Mintz

Everything was going smoothly for Syracuse in the second half until Mintz picked up his third and fourth fouls with 12:00 still remaining in the game and the Orange up by 12. He sat on the bench for the next eight minutes, and over that timespan, SU’s offense shot a sluggish 5-of-15 from the field. Instead of driving to the basket like Mintz, J.J. Starling, Justin Taylor and Kyle Cuffe Jr. all opted to launch unsuccessful three-pointers. The Big Red cut the deficit down to six, and it probably would’ve gotten even closer had Mintz not returned with four minutes to play.

Ringing the Bell on both ends

Chris Bell did it all in this one, finishing with 19 points, three rebounds, and a career-high four blocks. He drained 5-of-10 three-point shots, but his effort on defense stood out the most. Bell looked strong in the paint, swatting away two close-range attempts in each half while also staying active on the glass. His presence down low also took pressure off Naheem McLeod and Maliq Brown, who have received little help in the shot-blocking department so far this year. We’re in for a treat if we can see this versatility from Bell more frequently.

The Benny Williams era is coming to a close

The junior was once considered a perennial starter down low for the Orange. Now, he’s nowhere to be found. Williams sat out of this one, his fourth missed game of the first nine. When asked about it postgame, head coach Adrian Autry said he played the guys he thought could help the team win in a “particularly hard game.” Yikes. Looks like Williams’ time has just about expired in the Salt City.

What were your takeaways from last night’s game?