Tuesday night at the JMA Wireless Dome, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team defeated the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels 86-79 to capture its first win of the season and Adrian Autry’s career. Although Syracuse still has work to do, the victory preserved their faint hopes of making the NCAA Tournament at-large.

Syracuse achieved its second quadrant one victory of the year, improving to 16-9 overall and 7-7 in ACC play. The Orange were led by Judah Mintz and JJ Starling, who scored 25 and 23 points, respectively. Maliq Brown scored 14 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, stole 2 steals, and blocked a shot. Chris Bell scored 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from outside the area.

Adrian Autry started with the same five players as always. For the second consecutive game, Peter Carey was out for Syracuse because he is still in the concussion protocol.

Bell and Brown’s three-pointers gave Syracuse an early 10-7 lead. Both forwards made their initial three-point tries. Bell’s pull-up jumper and Brown’s putback gave Syracuse the early advantage. At the first media break, Syracuse led 13–7 on to Brown’s second three.

After playing man-to-man defence for less than five minutes, Syracuse moved to a 2-3 zone. Mintz got Harrison Ingram’s second foul shortly after Ingram’s first goal against the zone. He was replaced by Jae’lyn Withers, and Quadir Copeland checked in for Bell.

They then started to create division. During a transition, a challenged Copeland layup increased Syracuse’s advantage to double digits, 21-11. In an attempt to respond, North Carolina sent Armando Bacot in the game, but Brown got to him quickly, allowing him to score. Before the second media break, North Carolina went back inside to Bacot and drew a foul on Brown. Starling responded by taking RJ Davis off the bounce for a finish. Syracuse had a 23–13 advantage.

They continued to play back and forth, with both sides exchanging buckets and the margin ranging from three to four possessions. Syracuse took a chance on a steal in a trap attempt at mid-court, but Cormac Ryan made them pay with a corner three on the back side. To cut the margin back to 10, Bell countered with a disputed three, and Copeland ended with an up-and-under.

The first look of Mounir Hima occurred at 8:24, but it was fleeting. Brown checked back in following the brief eight-minute media break, and Syracuse continued to play in the zone. From there, Jalen Washington made a corner three for North Carolina, and Copeland received a call for a second foul. After then, Davis made a three-pointer to bring UNC to within one possession, 29-32. Then, on an unauthorised screen, Brown was given his second foul. Hima had to go to the bench, but he returned with more over five minutes remaining.

When Bacot and Davis both picked their second fouls on the same possession—the second of which put Syracuse in the bonus—North Carolina chose to play along with the foul trouble rather than take advantage of the opportunity. At that moment, Ingram had two first-half fouls, shared by Davis and Bacot. After Mintz hit two free throws to put Syracuse ahead 34–31, Ingram responded by making back-to-back threes against the 2-3 zone to put UNC ahead 37–34.

Following that, Starling, who appeared to enjoy taking shots at Davis, scored twice from midrange, and Taylor finished with a two-pointer in the lane to tie the game at 42 for Syracuse heading into the half.

Only three points were scored by Davis in the opening half. In the first half, Syracuse shot 50% from three-point range and 65% from the floor, but North Carolina had a narrow 12-10 advantage on the glass.

After the interval, Syracuse led 48–42 thanks to consecutive three-pointers from Bell and Starling. Autry initially stymied UNC’s offensive attack by staying in the 2-3 zone on defence. Mintz gave Syracuse a 52-43 lead by making two free throws, scoring from a clever ball fake, and finishing a euro step.

Although Bacot did not start the first half for North Carolina, the Heels attempted to establish him down low as soon as he came in to replace Seth Trimble following the first media timeout. As they did, with 12:43 remaining, Bell committed his third foul while providing weak-side assistance. Syracuse held onto a 56-53 lead as Bacot converted two free throws and scored on the next offensive play.

York then received a no look and a defensive stop. The dome audience erupted as Copeland dime found Bell for a transition layup. However, Davis made a three-pointer to quiet the Syracuse supporters. Then Copeland responded, pulling 64–61 in the middle range. However, Copeland overindulged in his subsequent layup attempt, allowing Davis to score on transition and allowing North Carolina to take a 65-64 lead with another Bacot finish inside. Autry pressed for a timeout at 7:08 of the game.

As the shot time was running out, Starling unleashed his inner Buddy Boeheim against Virginia and banked in a three to give Syracuse the lead again, 67-65. With more than three minutes remaining, Syracuse led 73-67 thanks to a string of six consecutive points from Mintz, who took over.

There would be no calm ending for North Carolina. With less than three minutes remaining, Starling scorched the chords on a three-pointer to give Syracuse a seven-point lead. Ingram responded with a floater in the lane to cut the margin to four. Davis gave a triple of his own in return.

Brown was fed the ball inside towards the end, and Ryan hard- fouled him to end the game. Brown was called for simply a common foul, and he divided the two. Following a turnover by North Carolina, Brown was fouled twice and made both to increase Syracuse’s lead to 79-72.

In the final seconds, Syracuse’s free throw shooting suffered. With 50 seconds remaining, Ryan made a corner three to make it 80-75 after Copeland was fouled and split a pair of baskets. The Heels would only go as near as four points the rest of the way thanks to a tip-in from UNC and a single by Mintz.

Late in the game, Bacot was punished for a flagrant foul, which all but ended any possibility of a North Carolina comeback. Brown and Copeland also made and missed free throws. With a seven-point victory, Syracuse maintained its slender prospects of making the tournament by improving to 12-2 at home this season.




Topics #7 North Carolina #First-Ranked Victory #NCAA Tournament. #Running For The NCAA #Syracuse achieved i