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Syracuse Explodes in the Second Half, Beats Indiana (Pa.) 86-68 in Opening Exhibition

Duquesne transfer Mounir Hima and starting center Jesse Edwards high-five in the second-half of Syracuse’s 86-68 win over Indiana (Pa.). The pair went a combined 7-8 from the field on Tuesday night.

It’s easy to overlook an opponent when a team like Indiana (Pa.) is sitting on the visitors bench. Syracuse competes in the ACC, while the Crimson Hawks play in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, a Division II conference. However, IUP held its own against SU in an exhibition game at the JMA Wireless Dome Tuesday night. The Crimson Hawks took a 33-32 lead into halftime, courtesy of a half-court shot off the hand of point guard Dave Morris. IUP’s second-half lead was as big as six but then, the Orange stormed back. Down 54-47 with 13:02 remaining, SU went on a huge run.

Sophomore Benny Williams sank a go-ahead three-pointer with 10:29 left to give SU its first lead of the half. A jump shot from Quadir Copeland just over a minute later capped off a 13-0 run for the Orange and forced the Crimson Hawks to call a timeout.

This season, Williams should have a much more prominent role in the Syracuse rotation. The forward was an afterthought last season, only averaging 1.9 points per game in 10.8 minutes per game. However, onTuesday night, he established himself as a tremendous threat on both sides of the floor with 15 points and 12 rebounds in the contest.

“For the first time out, there were a lot of positive things,” head coach Jim Boeheim said about his starting forward. There’s plenty of good to takeaway from this in regards to 6’8’ 180-pounder, but the Orange aren’t going to get too excited until the games count.

Despite the big run, the job wasn’t done yet. From there, freshman point guard Judah Mintz took over.

Mintz finished with 14 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. The four-star recruit from Oak Hill Academy shined the brightest out of a freshman class ranked 19th in the country by 247Sports.

But things looked much darker for the Orange before halftime. SU was sloppy with the ball, resulting in 10 turnovers, and the zone defense looked vulnerable.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, this was a good start but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Boeheim said after the game. The ‘Cuse has the next two weeks to iron out the kinks before the regular season begins.

Starting shooting guard Joe Girard III tries to get past an IUP defender in Su’s 86-68 win. The senior from Glen Falls was tied for the third-most points per game on the team a season ago.

In his first game as the official starting shooting guard, senior Joe Girard III scored a team-high 17 points. The Glen Falls native let it fly from the beyond the arch too, going 3-8 from three-point range.

Syracuse remains undefeated in exhibition play since 2009 with a 24-0 record.

The next time the Orange hit the court at the JMA Wireless Dome is next Tuesday against Southern New Hampshire in another exhibition game at 7. McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff beings at 6:45. The 2021-22 regular season also opens up at home on November 7th, when Syracuse takes on Lehigh.