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Syracuse men's basketball goes for season sweep of Boston College on Tuesday

Chris Bell (left, white) and Adrian Autry (right, gray pullover) look on during SU’s win over NC State.
Chris Bell (left, white) and Adrian Autry (right, gray pullover) look on during SU’s win over NC State.

Syracuse men’s basketball (14-6, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) goes on the road for the first time in two weeks to take on Boston College (12-8, 3-6 ACC).

SU took down NC State 77-65 inside the dome on Saturday. The Orange went on a 23-4 run going into halftime.

“The game today was won in the first half. I thought that was the best defense we played all year,” Head Coach Adrian Autry said after the win.

Nevertheless, the ‘Cuse allowed the Wolfpack to bring the game down to single digits with two minutes to go. This hasn’t been the first time Syracuse has let big leads slip towards the end of games. Against Niagara, SU led by as many as 19 before the Orange committed back-to-back turnovers, which brought their advantage down to nine. A couple weeks later against Boston College, Syracuse led by 15 early in the second half before the Eagles took a one-point lead with seven minutes to go.

As we look ahead to Tuesday’s contest, there are a couple of important things to consider when analyzing SU’s 69-59 win over BC on January 10.

JJ Starling is a completely different player than he was then. The Notre Dame transfer mustered just two points against Boston College earlier this month. That performance was part of a five-game stretch where Starling failed to score 10 points. However, in his last four outings, the sophomore is averaging 18.7 points and shooting over 50% from the floor. The crescendo of these performances came on Saturday against NC State when Starling had 26 points.

Another important note, Judah Mintz did not start against Boston College due to a violation of team rules. The sophomore still played the second most minutes on the team behind Maliq Brown, but only posted 10 points on 1-7 shooting. Of course, many of Judah’s points came at the free-throw line. The D.C. native shot 7-8 from the stripe in that game and has only upped that in the last two games, shooting over 15 free throws against Florida State and NC State.

“We got one of the best backcourts in the country,” Judah Mintz said about him and Starling following the win over NC State.

Judah Mintz (3, white) shooting free throws in SU’s win over NC State.
Judah Mintz (3, white) shooting free throws in SU’s win over NC State.

Looking at the opponent, two of BC’s top three scorers Quentin Post and Jaeden Zackery didn’t score a single point against SU. Those two average just over 28 points a game, so it’ll be interesting to see if Syracuse can limit them once again.

“I thought that was one of our better defensive games that we had in conference play this year,” Adrian Autry stated after the victory over Boston College. “I thought we did a really good job of battling Post. I think that was the difference in the game.”

Tuesday also marks the final game of the month for the Orange. This also means that the NCAA tournament conversations are only going to intensify with every game. SU’s loss to FSU last Tuesday was a major setback. Syracuse's defeat to Florida State was a Quad-III loss which dropped them outside the top 75 in the NET rankings.

While the Orange’s chances of making the tournament are slimmer than they were before that game, they can get back in the conversation. As of right now, SU has four more opportunities to play a Quad-I opponent.

Playing Boston College on the road qualifies as a Quad-II opponent, so while a win won’t mean as much as beating a Quad-I opponent, a loss would be devastating for Syracuse.

SU tries to bolster its NCAA tournament resume on Tuesday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. You can tune into 88.3 FM at 6:30 p.m. for McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Tipoff.