Syracuse Men's Basketball Faces Southern New Hampshire in Final Tune-Up Game
Syracuse men’s basketball has one more opportunity to tune up its mistakes before the regular season. SU takes on Southern New Hampshire in its second and final exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Orange host the Penmen for the second time in program history, with the first coming before the 2017-18 campaign.
Southern New Hampshire comes into the 2022-23 season in search of a better outcome than the last. SNHU trudged through a rocky 13-11 season, ending with a first-round exit in the Northeast-10 tournament. The Penmen struggled in conference play going 9-9 and have not had a winning record against NE10 opponents in four straight seasons.
The Division II squad will have to look to new faces this season to put the ball in the bucket. SNHU only returns one of its four top scorers from a season ago. Matt Brecht, the lone returner of the leading contributors, averaged 14.9 points per game. Most of the sharpshooter's points came from behind the arc with a team-leading 76 made threes. The junior shot 38.6 percent from three-point-range, a top-20 mark in the NE10.
Syracuse has not lost an exhibition since the 2009-10 season when the Orange fell to their neighbor Lemoyne College 82-79. SU fell in danger of ending its 24-game exhibition win streak last Tuesday against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. It required a second-half comeback, but the Orange defeated the Crimson Hawks 86-68. With 12 minutes remaining, Syracuse trailed by five points to Division II IUP. The deficit shriveled up quickly when SU scored 14-straight points to take a 63-54 lead.
A key contributor to the second half tear against IUP was freshman Judah Mintz. The guard added a spark with ten points and two threes in the second frame.The Maryland native has instincts as a shot-maker but is also trying to improve as a facilitator.
“I think it’s just picking and choosing when to take my shot and when to make plays for others,” Mintz said. “I think it will come as the season goes on, making decisions, making better shots, and shot selection, I know it will come.”
“Judah started out and really struggled, he's a very competitive kid, he really just took over the game in the second half and made some big plays,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.
The guard leads a freshman group of six, all of which appeared in the win over IUP. While the newcomers contributed 33 of SU’s 86 points, most of the scoring was done by the returners. Senior Joe Girard led the way with 17 points followed by Jesse Edwards with 16, and Benny Williams with 15.
Both the rookies and the veterans will be back in action against Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday for one last tune-up game. The Orange host the Penmen at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the JMA Wireless Dome.
Coverage on WAER starts at 6:45 p.m. with McClurg Team Countdown to Tip-off.