SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Judah Mintz scored 20 points and Syracuse knocked off No. 23 North Carolina State 75-72 on Tuesday night.
“I think I’m getting better as the season goes on,” Mintz said. “Just knowing when to force it up and when to get my teammates involved. I know I can score, my teammates know I can score, but just making plays for others, it’s going to make us better.”
With the score tied at 70 with two minutes to go, Jesse Edwards finished strong at the rim, plus the foul, to give the Orange a three-point lead. Syracuse would then use a mixture of defensive pressure and clutch free-throw shooting to hold on for the victory.
Edwards finished with 18 points for Syracuse (16-10, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), which also got 11 from Chris Bell, 10 from Malik Brown and 14 from Joseph Girard III.
Mintz shot 50% from 3 and made all five of his free throws. He also had a team-best nine assists.
“He made some great plays, he had six assists at halftime, but he was looking to get to the basket too,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s gotten better from day one. It’s a learning experience. It takes time. He’s good as any freshman around.”
D.J. Burns Jr. and Jarkel Joiner each scored 15 points for the Wolfpack (20-7, 10-6 ACC), who were coming off a 92-62 victory at Boston College on Saturday.
NC State’s backcourt of Terquavion Smith and Joiner entered Tuesday’s game as the highest-scoring duo in the ACC. Together they were averaging 34.7 points per game. Smith, who scored his 1,000th-career point against Boston College, finished Tuesday’s game with 14 points.
“We fought, man,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “It was a great ACC game on the road. Back-and-forth. Two teams just fighting in February. I felt good about our guys. We got down, we made a hell of a comeback. I thought my guys played good enough to win the game. We just came up short.”
Syracuse’s advantage came at the charity stripe. They were 16-for-17, while the Wolfpack shot just 3-for-5. NC State was called for 19 fouls, while only 11 were called against the Orange.
“I’m one of those guys, that believe that the game should be won on the floor by the players,” Keatts said. “It was tough for me because at the end of the game I thought we had five calls that went completely against us, not to take away from Syracuse.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Edwards, Syracuse’s 6-foot-11 center, was perfect from 3 after making his first career triple with the shot clock winding down early in the second half. It was his first attempt in four seasons with the Orange.
“I just thought I saw one second on the clock,” Edwards said. “I just threw it up, and then the crowd went crazy for that. You never know when a prayer’s going to go in, but it felt great.”
NC State: The Wolfpack entered Tuesday’s game as winners of five of their last six. Their only loss during that stretch was to No. 8 Virginia on Feb. 7. NC State, which was picked to finish 10th in the conference preseason poll, currently holds the No. 5 spot, just two games in the win column behind ACC leaders Virginia and Pittsburgh.
Syracuse: The Wolfpack are the first ranked opponent in five tries the Orange have beaten this season.
NC State: Hosting North Carolina on Sunday
Syracuse: Hosting Duke on Saturday.
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