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Syracuse men’s basketball escapes past Colgate 79-75 after major second half comeback

Chris Bell (4, white) celebrates during SU's win over Colgate.
Chris Bell (4, white) celebrates during SU's win over Colgate.

After 20 minutes of hoops in the JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse men’s basketball (3-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) went down big to Colgate (1-1, 0-0 Patriot League). The Orange had a 16-point deficit, and it looked all but over for Adrian Autry’s squad.

SU struggled to put points on the board, especially from beyond the arc shooting just under 24% from deep. Meanwhile, the Raiders offense was a well-oiled machine. Colgate connected on more than half of its three-pointers and went on a 16-5 run to close out the first period. It appeared certain the Orange would suffer their third straight loss to the Raiders.

However, Syracuse did a complete 180 in the second half. SU put up an offensive clinic in the final 20 minutes with a season-high 49 points, and that all started with Judah Mintz and Chris Bell. Mintz supplied 17 second-half points to lead the charge for the Orange, while Bell recorded 15 of his own including four three-pointers. Behind the sophomore duo, the Colgate lead was eviscerated with under two minutes to go in the final half.

“He was phenomenal today.” head coach Adrian Autry said when asked about Bell’s performance after the game. “He played with energy and I thought his defense was pretty solid. He’s a great shooter, we know that.”

On the other side, Matt Langel’s squad failed to keep up with Syracuse’s momentum. After opening the final period with a quick 8-0 run, the Raiders got outscored 49-21 to end the game. Colgate made just one three-pointer in nine tries, a drastic dropoff from the 12 connected on in the opening 20.

When it was all said and done, the second-half surge was just enough to propel the Orange over the Raiders. Syracuse claimed the victory 79-75 and earned its first win against Colgate in four years. With the victory, the SU remained undefeated and improved to 3-0 on the season. Bell led the Orange with 25 points, 18 of those coming from three-point range. Mintz was just behind Bell with 23 points, eight assists, and three steals.

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

Autry praised his squad in the postgame press conference, stating that “our guys dug down deep and really fought… they could have folded, but they didn’t.”

Next up, the Orange travel to Hawaii for tournament play. Syracuse begins the Maui Invitational Monday afternoon against Tennessee (3-0, 0-0 Southeastern Conference).

When asked how tonight's win against Colgate prepared SU for Maui, coach Autry said “we understand that we can get better, and when we really pull together, we have the chance to compete with anyone we play against this year.”

Tennessee and Syracuse battle to stay undefeated at 2:30 p.m. WAER’s coverage starts at 2 p.m. with McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Tipoff.