Syracuse basketball’s freshman class shines in 86-68 exhibition win over Indiana PA

Syracuse basketball freshman shines in exhibition win over Indiana PA

Orange guard Judah Mintz swished 14 points and led the team in steals with two.
Published: October 26, 2022
Freshman guard, Judah Mintz, during the men's basketball scrimmage, at the Orange Tip Off fan event. Photo by Ryan Brady. 10/14/22
Syracuse freshman guard Judah Mintz dribbling the ball during the men's basketball scrimmage at the Orange Tip-off event on October 14, 2022.

Tuesday night’s exhibition matchup against Indiana PA was an early glimpse at what might just be a very special season for the Orange.

After going down 33-32 at the end of the first half, Syracuse regrouped and came back to win the game 86-68. The win was the result of a great team performance, but what really stood out was the play of Syracuse’s freshmen. The recruits proved why they were ranked eighth in the nation and second in the ACC by, with stellar performances by Judah Mintz, Quadir Copeland and Justin Taylor.

“The young guys stepped up pretty good,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said. “They did well tonight.”

After the opening tip off was won by Syracuse, Mintz attempted to get the scoring started with a tough layup through traffic. The missed shot was snatched up by Orange center Jesse Edwards, who sent the ball into the basket for the first points of the game.

The Dutch senior had an exceptional night, finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds. His 6’11” frame was a problem for the Crimson Hawks all game, and it will certainly continue to pose a challenge for other defenses during the regular season.

Just a few moments after Edwards’ shot, senior guard Joseph Girard III knocked down a three to add on to Syracuse’s early lead. Girard looked like his old sharpshooting self throughout the game, racking up 17 points and three shots from beyond the arc in the night.

“I just want to win. That’s my main goal,” Girard said. “Once we went to the Sweet 16 my sophomore year, I’ve been itching to get back ever since. Hopefully everything will fall into place.”

The Orange freshmen followed the veterans and decided to get in on the action. Seven minutes into the half, Taylor buried a three-pointer, tallying his first points of the night. Soon after, Taylor flashed his defensive skills as he swatted Ethan Porterfield’s layup out of play.

The Crimson Hawks’ offense began to kick into high gear as they got deeper into the first half, aided by some sloppy passes by Syracuse. The Orange tallied 10 turnovers in the half, which doubled Indiana PA’s total. As the clock ticked down to the final seconds, Dave Morris launched a shot from half-court that found its way into the net, giving the Crimson Hawks a 33-32 lead at the half.

Once Syracuse inbounded the ball to start the second half, it was clear that this period would not be as close as the first. To the delight of the crowd, Mintz finally hit his stride as he sank a contested jumper three minutes into the half. The mid-range look proved to be Mintz’ bread and butter, as he sank shot after shot from just inside the arc. Mintz tallied 14 points and two steals in the night, a great performance for the promising freshman.

“Judah’s a very competitive kid,” Boeheim said. “He took over the game in the second half and made some big plays.”

The Orange continued to add on more points to their lead, and with less than two minutes to play, Mintz, Williams and Edwards were all subbed off to a standing ovation from the crowd. After giving the ball away 10 times in the first half, the Orange limited their second half turnovers to just three, a sign of great coaching and smart ball movement.

Syracuse’s 86-68 exhibition win may not be as important as the regular season matchups, but it has given the Orange a confidence boost and a chance to clean up any mistakes before the real games get underway.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. This was a good start, but we still have some things we need to focus on,” Boeheim said.

The Orange will look to win their second and final exhibition game against Southern New Hampshire Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the JMA Wireless Dome.