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Syracuse men’s basketball: second-half surge powers Orange to 80-68 road win over Georgetown

In a thrilling and energetic atmosphere, Syracuse caught fire and never looked back against its former Big East rival.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the 99th ever meeting between two historic programs, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (7-3) held off all comeback efforts to come away with an 80-68 win over the long-time rival Georgetown Hoyas (5-4) in Capitol One Arena, giving the Orange their first road win over the Hoyas since the 2017-2018 season.

After playing in a back-and-forth game for most of the first half, Syracuse outscored Georgetown 55-34 in the second half to come through with the team’s first road win of this season. Judah Mintz scored 25 points to lead the Orange in a hometown return, while the backcourt of J.J. Starling (21 points, 8/14 shooting, 3/3 from three) and Quadir Copeland (14 points, 6/7 shooting) each had career-high scoring performances which powered Syracuse to the finish line over G-Town. Together, the trio combined for 60 of Syracuse’s points.

The Orange held the Hoyas to just 5/26 shooting from three, and Syracuse turned 13 Georgetown turnovers into a 20-2 advantage in fastbreak points. Supreme Cook (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Jayden Epps (17 points and 6 assists, 6/17 shooting) led the way for the Hoyas.

The energy was electric out of the gate, and that translated to some high-scoring offense from both Syracuse and Georgetown to start the game. Both teams went a combined 6/7 from the field after tip-off, with the Orange jumping out to an early 14-13 lead by the first media timeout.

Georgetown turned the ball early on, giving Syracuse some chances to get out on the fastbreak. The backcourt of Mintz and Starling combined for nine points in the game’s first five minutes, while consecutive made jumpers by Bell gave the Orange the early edge.

Epps scored 7 quick points to power the Hoyas on offense as he and Georgetown’s guards looked to attack the rim and challenge Naheem McLeod, who was taken out of the game two minutes in with Maliq Brown in his place defending the rim. Coach Autry went to his bench pretty early — Brown, Kyle Cuffe Jr., Benny Williams and Quadir Copeland all entered in the game’s first 10 minutes. In total, ten different players for Syracuse suited up in the first half.

Georgetown started to cool off on offense and went scoreless for over three minutes. An and-one layup by Mintz put Syracuse up 17-14 around the middle point of the first half, but consecutive turnovers made it tough for Syracuse to extend its lead by more than a basket up to this point in the game. Mintz remained the focal point of the Orange’s offense as he scored 12 of Syracuse’s first 24 points, including this crafty layup in traffic:

Georgetown’s Supreme Cook threw down a monster dunk with around five minutes left in the first half to cut the Orange’s lead down to one (24-23). Turnovers and a nearly-four minute scoring drought plagued the Orange for a bit. A pull-up three-point make along the wing by Justin Taylor helped to mitigate Georgetown’s momentum for a moment, but the Hoyas did re-take a slim lead with minutes left in the half.

Syracuse finally started to dial in, especially with crashing the offense glass. Copeland, Starling and Mounir Hima scored the Orange’s last three baskets in the first half off of grabbing the loose ball and putting it back around the basket. The extra hustle allowed Syracuse to enter halftime with a 35-34 lead over G-Town.

Mintz scored 14 points on 3/7 shooting in the first half to lead all scorers, while Starling chipped in 7 points to power Syracuse. Epps finished with 9 points and 4 assists by halftime while Cook and Ismael Massoud combined for 13 points for the Hoyas. Both teams combined for 15 turnovers in the first half, but Syracuse held an 8-0 over Georgetown in fastbreak points and limited the Hoyas to 3/12 shooting from three in the first half.

Despite being held scoreless in the first few minutes of the second half, Syracuse was able to ramp up its defensive effort and force G-Town into tougher looks. After trailing 38-37, Syracuse went on a 9-0 scoring run to take a 46-38 lead with 15 minutes left to go, which at this point was the Orange’s largest lead in the game.

Copeland and Brown each had their moments in the second half to keep Syracuse ahead, including this fastbreak jam by Brown to extend the Orange’s lead:

Georgetown showed signs of storming back, cutting the Orange’s lead down to five points at one point. In a surprise, Starling and Copeland both kept Syracuse’s offense afloat with timely baskets with Mintz on the bench. Syracuse led 63-56 with around seven and a half minutes left in the game, but a quick 6-0 run saw the Orange take their first double-digit lead of the game (69-58).

Syracuse held on to its double-digit margin the rest of the way, ultimately beating the Hoyas as new eras for the former Big East rivals begin.

This year’s game was certainly different compared to recent years with both Syracuse and Georgetown under new coaching in Adrian Autry and Ed Cooley, respectively, and Jim Boeheim no longer on the sidelines. With that said, the energy was rocking for both crowds even with the 11:30 am tip-off.

Syracuse will travel to South Dakota next weekend to face the Oregon Ducks in the team’s second-to-last non-conference game.