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Syracuse wakes up in the second half to beat Florida State 76-67

 Judah Mintz (Orange, 3) flies to the rack for two of his 14 second-half points.
Judah Mintz (Orange, 3) flies to the rack for two of his 14 second-half points.

At halftime, Syracuse Men’s Basketball trailed Florida State 35-29. The Orange were dominated in the trenches early, grabbing just 14 rebounds to the Seminoles’ 22. After the break, the script flipped, both on the scoreboard and on the boards. SU outscored Florida State 47-32 in the second half, helped by its 25-12 rebounding advantage. That improvement resulted in a 76-67 win for Syracuse.

Syracuse Bigs Returning to the Boards

The Orange’s second half rebounding explosion was propelled by the combination of center Jesse Edwards and forward Chris Bell.

Edwards has been in a rebounding slump since SU’s loss to Miami on Jan. 16. Until Wednesday night, the Dutchman hadn’t grabbed 10 or more boards since that game. In the victory of the Seminoles, Edwards picked up 12 rebounds, 7 of which came after the break.

Bell has had issues rebounding all season. The forward averages just 1.7 per game, but against Florida State, he set a career high with 6 boards. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was happy with Bell adding another element to his game against the Seminoles.

“He went after some,” Boeheim said after the game. “You have to go after the ball to get it and I think he did that tonight. He played really well.”

Judah Playing Brave After the Break

SU freshman Judah Mintz was shut down in the first half, scoring just 2 points without a single field goal. After the half, the guard found another gear. Mintz led all second half scorers with 14 points, largely thanks to three made and-one shots, two of which he capped off with free throws.

Mintz said that his biggest focus at halftime was reminding himself to move on after mistakes.

“If I’m frustrated for a moment,” Mintz said after the game, “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from the next play. I think I did a pretty good job of bouncing back in the second half.”

Joe’s Accuracy From Deep

In a game where many Syracuse players didn’t find their flow until the second half, guard Joe Girard led the Orange on offense from start to finish. The senior scored 26 points and contributed on the boards too, tying a season-high 7 rebounds. Wednesday night’s performance broke Girards five-game drought of passing the 20-point barrier.

With his productive night on offense, Girard reached 1,551 career points. That total puts the Glens Falls native ahead of SU assistant coach Adrian Autry on the program’s all-time scoring list. Girard now sits at number 22 on that list.

 Joe Girard heads off the court after a game-high 26 points against Florida State.
Joe Girard heads off the court after a game-high 26 points against Florida State.

The Big Picture

After Syracuse’s win over Florida State, it holds a 15-10 record, 8-6 in ACC play. The next stretch of games for the Orange provide plenty of opportunity for change though. SU’s next three games are a home clash with No. 22 North Carolina State on Feb. 14, another game in the JMA Dome on Feb. 18 against Duke, a trip to Clemson on Feb. 22, and a road matchup with Pittsburgh on Feb. 25. All four of those games are against teams ranked higher than the ‘Cuse in the very crowded conference standings. SU is tied for 7th in the ACC, but is only 2.5 games back from the top seed.

Syracuse continues its trek to climb the conference standings after a weekend off. SU hosts NC State next Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Our coverage starts at 6:30 with McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff.

Before that game, there’s still plenty of sports to get you through the weekend. On Friday, Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse takes on UAlbany in the JMA Dome at 6 p.m., with McClurg Team Countdown to Faceoff going live at 5:30. The Orange get just one day off, before hosting Holy Cross on Sunday. The matinee starts at 1:00 p.m., preceded by McClurg Team Countdown to Faceoff at 12:30.