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Syracuse men's basketball travels down to Miami on two-game win streak

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@Cuse_MBB on Twitter
Chris Bell celebrates after three of his season-high 17 points.

2023 is looking good for Syracuse men’s basketball. The Orange have now won four of the last five ACC matchups. This includes a 78-73 Syracuse victory over Notre Dame on Saturday night, the second season win over the Fighting Irish.

SU was down 40-36 at the half on Saturday against ND, but completely elevated its performance in the second frame.

The Orange went from shooting nearly 46 percent from the floor in the first, to just over 60 percent in the second. For three point shooting, Syracuse increased its success rate from nearly 38 percent to 50 percent between halves.

Four different Orange players made it into double digits, but it was the freshman front that paved the way. While senior Jesse Edwards tallied 13 points, rookie Chris Bell led the team with a career high 17 points.

“Through adversity we fight. We don’t just give up,” Bell said. “That’s what we did real good in the second half.”

Freshmen Maliq Brown followed with a season high 15 points, and Judah Mintz with 14.

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Judah Mintz (3) drives to the cup against Notre Dame.

This is all promising for head coach Jim Boeheim’s recruiting class this year, but senior Joe Girard III went 1-5 from beyond the arc and 2-9 from the field, hitting only seven points for the night. This was the guard’s first single-digit game since Illinois back in November with zero points to his name.

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Joe Girard (left) gets advice from Jim Boeheim after taking a blow to the face.

“Joe rushed things. He tried to do things, I don’t know what,” Boeheim said. “He hasn’t played like that. He was just trying to do too much too fast and not let things come to him.”

Regardless of where the contribution came from on Saturday night, Syracuse is now on a two-game winning streak and 5-2 in conference play. This record is shared with 13th ranked Virginia, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and 16th ranked Miami. SU stands fifth in the ACC table.

Of course, what’s next for Syracuse is No. 16 Miami, a team the Orange have yet to play this year.

Last March, SU fell to Miami 75-72 in its final regular season contest of 2022. The Orange were up that game 72-65 with just over one minute left in play, but the Hurricanes scored the final 10 points to come away with a win. That Miami squad finished fourth in the ACC.

This season, Miami shoots the best field goal percentage in the conference, with nearly 49 percent. It also has the third-best scoring offense in the ACC, averaging about 78 points per game.

The player to look out for from the ‘Canes is Norchad Omier. The forward leads the conference with a 62 percent field goal percentage. The Nicaraguan will also be quite the match for Jesse Edwards. Omier averages about ten rebounds per game, while Edwards averages 11.

While the Orange have some strong momentum going, the Hurricanes are coming off of their second loss in three games. On Jan. 4, Miami fell to Georgia Tech 76-70, marking its first loss since late November. Then on Saturday night, Miami trailed NC State 83-81 in an overtime thriller. This was Miami’s just third loss of the season.

Nonetheless, Syracuse has an extreme test Monday against another top-25 team. Earlier in December, Miami took down Virginia 66-64 when UVA was ranked sixth in the nation – the same Cavaliers squad the Orange lost 73-66 to in early January.

SU has a chance to secure its third win in a row and fifth victory in six games. Miami looks to bounce back from a Saturday night loss and get back in the win column. Monday’s game begins at 7:00 and WAER’s coverage begins with McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff at 6:30.