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Syracuse men's basketball rings in 2024 against reigning ACC champions No. 14 Duke

Judah Mintz (left) and Quadir Copeland (24, right) celebrate during SU's win over Pitt
Judah Mintz (left) and Quadir Copeland (24, right) celebrate during SU's win over Pitt

Syracuse men’s basketball (10-3,1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended 2023 on a high note with its first ACC win on Saturday. SU begins the new year with a tall task on the road against No. 14 Duke (9-3, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Orange seek to snap a skid of eight straight losses to the Blue Devils.

SU erased an 11-point deficit in its last game to take down Pittsburgh 81-73 thanks in large part to the play from the reserves. ‘Cuse guard Quadir Copeland (22 points) and forwards Maliq Brown (15 points) and Benny Williams (15 points) combined for a season-high 52 points from the bench. The most tallied by Syracuse’s nonstarters since December 10, 2016, against Boston University (55 points).

“[Williams & Brown], That’s my team every day during practice when it’s Orange against Blue”, said Copeland. “So I’m used to playing with those guys every day.”

Syracuse's Quadir Copeland (24, white) goes to the hoop in SU's win over Pitt.
Syracuse's Quadir Copeland (24, white) goes to the hoop in SU's win over Pitt.

Copeland amassed a career-high 22 points with 16 of those in the second half. The sophomore added most of his load from the free throw line shooting 13-of-15, and also added nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

“What I love about Quadir is that no matter what, mistakes or not, he gives you everything, he fights,” said Syracuse head coach Adrian Autry. “I think every coach wants that...[and] I know that that guy can play for me.”

Eight of the nine total players for the Orange scored a basket in the game against the Panthers. It also marked the third straight contest, SU’s reserves have scored 44 or more points.

“We don't rely on five guys. We rely on eight, nine, or 10 guys,” Autry said…I'll keep sounding like a broken record [but] this is how this team is built [and] this is how this team is going to play”

While Syracuse managed to win its first game in its last four tries against Pittsburgh, the Panthers are far from the only team who have had the Orange’s number in recent memory. SU’s next opponent, Duke, has triumphed in every matchup since 2017 against the ‘Cuse. No Atlantic Coast Conference team currently has a longer winning streak against Syracuse.

The Blue Devils come into this contest ranked number 14 in the AP Poll having won their last four games, including one on a neutral site over No. 10 Baylor for their first victory against a top-10 team since 2021. Touted as the preseason conference favorite, Duke returned four starters from last season, most notably featuring All-American forward Kyle Filipowski.

In Jon Scheyer’s second year at the helm for the Blue Devils, his squad finished their non conference slate with a 9-2 record with its lone losses to Arkansas and the now No. 4 ranked Arizona. Duke has found a great deal of its success this season in the turnover realm. The Blue Devils rank fourth nationally in fewest turnovers per game (8.9) and according to KenPom, own the fourth-lowest turnover percentage (13.0%).

This marks the first game ever played at Cameron Indoor Stadium between the two squads without longtime head coaches Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski on the sidelines. The now sophomore head man Jon Scheyer hosts rookie Adrian Autry for the first time and Syracuse for the second time after a 77-55 evisceration at the JMA Wireless Dome on Feb. 18 last year. Duke has won more games at its current home venue than any other team in college basketball (952).

The Orange aim to tame the Cameron Crazies and Blue Devils at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. WAER’s coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Tipoff.