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Syracuse men's basketball improves to 2-0 with 89-77 victory over Canisius

JJ Starling (2, white) drives to the hoop in SU's win over Canisius.
JJ Starling (2, white) drives to the hoop in SU's win over Canisius.

Four players tallied double-digit points for Syracuse men's basketball (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in an 89-77 win against Canisius (0-1, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Conference). Just two days after a victory over New Hampshire, Wednesday’s result bumped SU to 2-0.

In a contest that the Golden Griffins kept within reach for a while, a 12-0 run from the Orange capped off by a Quadir Copeland layup with 9:06 remaining made it 68-48. That burst midway through the second half was enough to ensure the ‘Cuse its second win of the campaign.

Sophomore Judah Mintz notched a career-high 26 points and led all Syracuse scorers for the second consecutive contest. Despite a quiet first half, the guard exploded for 19 points in the final 20 minutes.

“I thought he got his rhythm. I think he understood what he had to do to get himself going,” head coach Adrian Autry said about Mintz. “We came in and we wanted to keep putting pressure on the defense. We got into the bonus pretty early and once they put us in the bonus, I think it just opened it up for our guys.”

Judah Mintz (3, white) drives the lane in SU's win over Canisius.
Judah Mintz (3, white) drives the lane in SU's win over Canisius.

While the Golden Griffins found success from beyond the arc, that was not the case at the charity stripe. Canisius was just 5-for-17 on free throws and was outscored by Syracuse 12-1 at the line in the second half.

Offensively for the Orange, Notre Dame transfer J.J. Starling chipped in 17 points while fellow sophomores Justin Taylor and Chris Bell recorded 13 and 12, respectively.

“Honestly we knew it started on the defensive end,” said J.J. Starling. “We came out pretty strong but they were able to hit threes. Once we cut those off, we were able to get a lead so it just started on the defensive end. Our offense was good.”

Speaking of defense, Florida State transfer Naheem McLeod collected nine rebounds, tying the most in his collegiate career. The 7-foot-4 center also had five of SU’s seven blocked shots.

Wednesday’s meeting between the Orange and Golden Griffins marked the first encounter between the programs in 11 years. The win for the ‘Cuse was its 21st straight against Canisius.

Syracuse next welcomes Colgate (1-0, 0-0 Patriot League) to the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday. The Orange fell to the Raiders in each of the last two seasons. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. and WAER’s coverage gets underway at 6:30 p.m. with McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Tipoff.