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Syracuse men’s basketball: Edwards-Mintz duo power Orange to bounce-back road win over Boston College

A win against the Eagles means all is (mostly) well. Right?

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team entered its Saturday afternoon road matchup against the Boston College Eagles cold as ice, as the program hoped to break a three-game losing streak that saw demoralizing defeats to North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.

Against the Eagles, the Orange (14-10, 7-6) returned to form especially on the offensive end, with Jesse Edwards, Judah Mintz, and Joe Girard combined for 60 of Syrcuse’s 77 points en route to a 77-68 victory against the Eagles (11-13, 5-8).

Entering the game as losers of four of its last five games, Syracuse looked to its primary creators early to get going. As predicted, it was a mostly-close game where Syracuse ultimately held on despite the Eagles catching fire late from behind the line, making enough stops to surge ahead in the final minutes of the second half.

It was a battle of the bigs to start the game between Edwards and BC’s Quinten Post, with each attacking in post-up isolation opportunities. Prince Aligbe of the Eagles also headlined BC’s early offensive scheme, with Aligbe and Post combining for 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the first half.

Edwards gave the Orange its first baskets, hitting back-to-back tough shots to kick-start Syracuse’s offense as the trio of Edwards, Mintz, and Girard combined for 24 of the team’s first 26 points, with Edwards starting off hot with 12 points on 6/7 shooting with six minutes left to go before halftime.

This tough Girard shot from three got the Orange up early, which Syracuse was able to keep throughout most of the first half.

Offensively, both teams produced most of their first-half offense through post-ups, floaters, and mid-range shots. Neither the Orange (1/7 from three after 12 minutes) nor the Eagles (2/12 from three after 12 minutes) could strike gold from three. Both Syracuse and BC also turned the ball over a combined eight times after 10 minutes, limiting both teams to one-possession trips offensively. The Eagles were getting great looks from the perimeter, but the execution wasn’t as flawless as the set-up.

The Orange didn’t lead by more than five points (26-21) as the Eagles continued to hang around. A late 8-1 first-half run gave BC a 29-27 lead with under three minutes to go until the end of the half, but Syracuse led 35-32 over Boston College at halftime, taking advantage of the Eagles’ dismal 5/20 shooting from three as Edwards (13 points on 6/8 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks) and Mintz (7 points on 3/6 shooting, 2 assists, and 2 steals) kept the Orange afloat.

Symir Torrence’s defense came up big in place of Girard due to his early struggles from the field (JG3 was 1/7 in 16 first-half minutes). Torrence and Brown each made big-level effort plays in the first half defensively and on the offensive glass to keep the Orange ahead of the Eagles. For the Eagles, it made up its last of outside shooting with superb passing on offense, earning 11 assists on its first 14 baskets as BC’s ball movement looked much better compared to its first matchup this season against ‘Cuse.

The Orange’s offense came to a halt to begin the second half, with a 7-0 BC run giving the Eagles the lead once again as Syracuse settled too much for contested jumpers and tough interior shots through traffic coming out of halftime. Coach Boeheim inserted Torrence and Justin Taylor back into the lineup for some more spark, with each giving ‘Cuse instant offense as the Orange fired back with a 10-0 run to take a 49-41 lead over the Eagles, its then-largest of the game.

With that said, Boston College wouldn’t go away. The Eagles tied the game at 55-55 with under 10 minutes left to go and then surge ahead to a three-point lead with eight and a half minutes left to go. BC’s outside shot finally came alive after struggling all game, especially as the Eagles’ shot selection looked great due to 18 assists on its 24 made baskets. This lob pass from Mintz to a slam by Edwards stopped the bleeding for a moment, as the Orange then retook a seven-point lead (66-59) with a 9-0 run powering Syracuse back ahead in a back-and-forth contest.

Despite the Eagles’ efforts, Syracuse’s offense continued to roar long enough to hold off BC’s late-game heroics. ‘Cuse defeated Boston College by nine on the road, breaking the Orange’s three-game losing streak and giving the team its first ACC road victory since January 21.

Despite shooting just 4/14 from three, Syracuse shot over 50% from the field in a game that saw both Edwards (27 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks on 12/15 shooting) and Mintz (15 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals) give the Orange enough production in its win over the Eagles. Taylor chipped in 9 points on 3/3 shooting from three while Torrence played solid defense for 17 minutes to make up for tough shooting performances from Girard (18 points on 4/13 shooting and 1/6 from three) and Chris Bell (11 minutes, 0/3 from the field).

Up next for the Orange is another road matchup, this time against the Florida State Seminoles (8-16, 6-7) who have quietly looked more competitive in conference play after its disastrous beginning to this season.


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