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Syracuse men’s basketball: Copeland nails game-winning three at the buzzer, Orange defeat Miami 72-69

Quadir has ice in his veins as SU stays unbeaten in the Dome!

NCAA Basketball: Miami (FL) at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In an incredible game that came all the way down to the final buzzer, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (13-5, 4-3) rallied late in the second half to beat the Miami Hurricanes (12-6, 3-4) at home 72-69 thanks to an incredible game-winning three-point shot by Quadir Copeland.

After trailing by as much as eight points, Syracuse’s offense overcame a poor shooting game Saturday afternoon to defeat a Hurricanes team missing starter Norchad Omier due to injury and extend the Orange’s home record to 9-0 this season. Syracuse shot 39.1% from the field, but the likes of Copeland, J.J. Starling, Chris Bell, Judah Mintz and Maliq Brown made timely plays late to steal the win at home.

Starling continued his resurgence by tying a career-high with 22 points for SU, including 6/10 from three. Mintz finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and a career-high 13 assists, while Bell, Copeland and Brown all finished in double-figures for the Orange. Nijel Pack scored a team-high 19 points for Miami, while Matthew Cleveland finished with 16 points.

Miami dashed out to a quick 6-0 lead with Michael Nwoko scoring the first basket inside. Syracuse’s interior defense started off slow as Miami’s guards penetrated inside and forced extra help, but two early turnovers for the Orange gave the Hurricanes some free baskets as well.

Maliq Brown scored the Orange’s first points off an assist from Judah Mintz, while J.J. Starling nailed his first three-point attempt on the next possession. Syracuse entered the first media timeout down 10-5, by which point the Hurricanes made five of their first seven shots. Syracuse began 2/9 from the field but got a slight offensive jolt early from Benny Williams, who finished a layup and then found Chris Bell in the corner for three to tie the game at 10-10.

Syracuse took its first lead (16-14) with around nine and a half minutes left to thanks to a mid-range jumper from Mintz, but Autry was forced to call a quick timeout after the U’s Matthew Cleveland scored on back-to-back possessions around the basket. At this point, Miami was shooting 53% compared to 37% for the Orange, but the Hurricanes 0/6 start from three allowed Syracuse to stay within range.

Starling drilled another three to put Syracuse up 21-20, but Miami responded with an 8-0 run. The Hurricanes continued to attack inside and put pressure on the rim, and the Orange trailed 29-21 with four and a half minutes to go in the first half.

Syracuse did close the half with a 9-2 run spearheaded by a trio of three-point makes from Bell, Starling and Williams. The Orange only trailed 31-30 at halftime despite shooting just 34% (11/32 overall, 6/17 from three) in the first half.

Starling’s nine first-half points led the way for Syracuse, while Bell scored six points. Mintz finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the first half alone. Cleveland’s 10 points for Miami led all scorers as the Hurricanes shot 51% overall but just 1/9 from three.

Just like the start of the game, Syracuse struggled to score its first basket to begin a half — it took until close to the 17-minute marker for Taylor to break the Orange’s cold streak with a backdoor layup. Syracuse started off the half shooting a lot of outside jumpers, few of which were going in, rather than trying to drive more into the paint.

Miami went up by five points, but then Starling completely took over for a stretch and scored seven points in a row — including two mid-range jumpers and a three-point make from the corner to tie the game again at 39-39 with around 11 minutes left.

Syracuse was within striking range for pretty much all of the second half, but Miami’s offense continued to hit timely shots with Pack especially torching Syracuse on the perimeter.

The U went up 55-48 with less than eight minutes to go thanks to that perimeter shooting — the Hurricanes began the second half shooting 5/7 from three after a 1/9 clip in the first half — and Autry was forced to call another timeout.

The final five minutes were an up-and-down rollercoaster. Miami continued to make its baskets down the stretch, but another round of threes from Bell and Starling meant the game was tied yet again, and a putback dunk by Brown gave the Orange a 64-62 lead with three minutes to go.

The game was evened up one last time at 69-69 with 18.6 seconds to go. Syracuse had the final possession, and after a timeout by Autry, Mintz dished off a desperation pass to Copeland, who had only made five threes so far this season.

Number six was clean as could be.

SU is back in the Dome on Tuesday, hosting FSU at 7pm.