Facing a 16-point deficit at halftime, the Syracuse Orange came all the way back to stay undefeated under Adrain Autry.
Syracuse Orange sophomore Chris Bell was vital in the comeback, leading the team with 25 points on 6 made threes. Judah Mintz added 23 with 11 points coming from the free throw line. Mintz, who picked up a flagrant foul in the first half, turned it around in the second half, and dished out 8 assists in the win.
Takeaway #1: Cardiac ‘Cuse
Down 16 at the half, Syracuse trailed by as much as 24 points with 16:10 in the second half. But then the Orange started going on a run – and it didn’t ever seem to end. Syracuse would embark on a 20-4 run, cutting the Colgate lead to just 8 points.
The Raiders would stop the run and eventually extend the lead back up to a dozen. But Syracuse kept chipping at the lead until a Bell three-pointer tied it up at 70. JJ Starling would make a pair of free throws, giving the Orange the lead, and never looking back to close out the improbable comeback.
“I really didn’t want to lose to Colgate for the third year in a row,” said Bell, who was the catalyst of the second-half run.
“I’m proud of these guys. They could have folded, but they didn’t,” said Autry.
So how did Syracuse complete the comeback?
Takeaway #2: Adrian “Press” Autry?
Ahh, so you’ve made it to takeaway #2! The Orange went to a full-court press for practically the entire second half, and boy did it work wonders.
Syracuse forced a whopping 19 Colgate turnovers, with the press speeding up a Raiders team that wanted to slow things down with such a large lead. Eventually, momentum agreed with the Orange and the Raiders weren’t able to get back in the driver’s seat.
“He (Autry) realized that press got us going. It sped the team up and that’s what we wanted. It created tough shots for them, it created turnovers for them, and got us into the game,” said Starling. “He has ultimate trust in us. He knows that we’re going to make the right plays and he gave us the ultimate freedom tonight.”
Jim Boeheim was never afraid to use the press. Just ask Virginia. But Autry seemed to cling to it longer, and it was very effective. Different wrinkles in his philosophy might pay off.
Takeaway #3: Colgate is no joke (as usual)
The Raiders led the country in 3P% last season and were second the year before. In 2020-21 the Raiders were all the way down at third in the nation in 3P%. Clearly, Matt Langel has found an identity and his players have consistently responded.
Tuesday night was no different. The Raiders opened up hitting 6 of their first 9 shots and going 4-for-4 on threes for a quick 16-9 lead. They finished the night going 9-of-24, ultimately slowed down by the Orange defense, but showed what they were capable of doing at the beginning of the game.
The Raiders also grabbed 10 offensive boards to Syracuse’s 8, and at one point were completely outhustling SU. Colgate won’t just sit behind the three-point line. They will get after the ball and Braeden Smith is one of the most talented point guards in mid-major basketball, finishing the game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. There are plenty of high-level pieces on this team.
The Raiders will have a few more games to prove themselves to the college basketball world. Games against Arizona and Illinois will show if the Syracuse game was a fluke or if Colgate is legitimate again.
Next game for the Syracuse Orange: vs. Tennessee (Nov. 20 – 2:30 p.m.)
Next game for the Colgate Raiders: vs. Yale (Nov. 17 – 6 p.m.)