Orange men’s basketball pick up first regular season win against Lehigh
Orange men's basketball pick up first regular season win against Lehigh
After a closely contested start in the opening game Monday night against Lehigh, the Orange were able to break away comfortably before halftime even arrived. Syracuse won by a final score of 90-72, but led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Returning players impressed, like center Jesse Edwards, who scored 14 points in the first half including three thunderous dunks, going 4-4 in shooting. Edwards caught multiple lobs passes in the game from guard Joseph Girard III.
Not only was Girard III facilitating to his teammates, but he also picked up where he left off last year, displaying his sharpshooting ability. Girard III was able to score a lot of points on consistent shooting. On the game, he shot 4-6 from three-point range and finished with 19 points overall.
Girard III was impressive, but so was a particular freshman. This should not come as a surprise, but the freshman who impressed the most was guard Judah Mintz. In the first half alone, Mintz recorded 10 points. While that number might jump off the screen, his poise certainly did.
Mintz was smooth and very comfortable finding his shots. You would have thought he was an upperclassman by the way he handled himself. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim certainly sensed that already, with Mintz already being a starter and playing as many minutes as he did Monday night.
“I thought Judah was really good,” Coach Boeheim said. “He played really well under control, got in the lane and made some really good plays.”
In 26 minutes of play, Mintz finished with 16 points along with three assists. The Orange will be counting on Mintz progressing on the season and being able to be more comfortable as a facilitator.
Coach Boeheim said Mintz has always been a scorer first, so it might take a little bit of time for him to be the true “point guard” when he’s been so used to having that score first mentality.
Another freshman who impressed was guard Quadir Copeland. He finished the game with five points on a perfect 2-2 shooting, but it was his energy that stood out. The Philly native spoke about the passion and energy that he brings to the team especially on the defensive end.
“I just take pride in defensive energy for sure,” Copeland said. “I know I got the most energy and I’m gonna bring the energy every time I’m playing with my guys because even if we’re in a slump, I’m gonna help them regardless with my energy.”
Copeland made sure that he not only brought the energy during the game, but also at practice so he can lead by example.
Coach Boeheim won game number 1,100 of his career, but wanted no part in talking about it.
“This was our first win this year. That’s all I’m concerned about. We’re 1-0. Nothing else matters,” Coach Boeheim said.
As a team overall there was a lot to like from the Orange. However, the competition is only going to increase as the season goes on. Syracuse can’t have defensive breakdowns against teams such as Duke and UNC that you can potentially get away with playing a team like Lehigh.
The Orange will host Colgate next Tuesday at the JMA Wireless Dome at 7 p.m.