Syracuse passes a survival test, topping Richmond

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Nov 21, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Judah Mintz (3) goes up for a dunk in the first half against the Richmond Spiders at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse took a big early lead, but had to rally late to pull out a 74-71 victory in overtime against Richmond in the Empire Classic in Brooklyn, New York. The Orange (3-1) jumped out to a 12-point lead in the game’s opening minutes, but the Spiders (2-3) led by as many as five in the second half before a late SU rally forced extra play.

Joe Girard III had a big first half for Syracuse, connecting on 9-of-13 shots, including three times from beyond the arc, for 21 points. He finished with a career-high 31 points, leading four Orange men in double figures. Judah Mintz had 18 points and Chris Bell added 11. Jesse Edwards posted a solid all-around effort with ten points, eight rebounds, and six blocks.

Richmond had four players reach double figures, led by Isaiah Bigelow’s 17 points. Jason Nelson had 14 points while Tyler Burton rang up a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double.

Girard was dialed in early, pacing the Orange as they ran off a dozen straight points for a 14-2 lead. Girard found Bell in the left corner for a three, then added a crafty leaner in the paint and a triple of his own before the game was four minutes old. Coming out of the media time out, Mintz made a tough lay-up, then made a steal and fed Girard for a lay-up.

Richmond, however, came storming back, running off a 16-6 run to draw within 20-18 and eventually tied the game at 25 a side. Girard found his groove again late in the half, tacking on five points in a 7-0 burst that helped SU to a 34-29 halftime advantage.

The Spiders got two threes out of the gate in the second half to grab their first lead of the night and set up what would be a tense second half with Richmond generally holding a small advantage.

» Related: As Judah Mintz goes, so does Syracuse

Richmond took their biggest lead of the game with just under six minutes to play, but Syracuse rose to the challenge on the defensive end, not allowing a field goal the rest of regulation, including notching three straight shot clock violations at one point. The Orange tallied six straight points to go up by one, but the Spiders got a free throw with just under a minute on the clock to knot the game.

Each team had the lead in overtime, but SU strung together six straight points with under two minutes left to grab control. Richmond missed six shots, including five treys, on a single possession before hitting a three at the horn, but it was not enough.

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About Jim Stechschulte 861 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.