Syracuse dominates LSU in second half to break open tight game and cruise past Tigers in ACC-SEC Challenge game, 80-57

Jalen Reed
LSU sophomore Jalen Reed's double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds, was a bright spot for the Tigers in a physical loss to Syracuse in last season's SEC/ACC Challenge. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics
Syracuse head coach Adrian Autry’s press conference following the Orange’s 80-57 win vs. LSU in the ACC/SEC Challenge at the JMA Dome.

Nothing went as LSU coach Matt McMahon planned or hoped it would in his first-ever trip to the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse, the occasion being the inaugural of the ACC-SEC Challenge with his Tigers taking on the Orange.

After a strong defensive effort for LSU in the first half where it found itself down by only five points at halftime in an extremely physical game, 33-28, the Tigers were winning the battle inside the paint and on the boards.

That all changed in the second half.

And as a heavy snow continued to fall outside of the dome, LSU’s ice-cold first-half shooting from 3-point range failed to thaw in the second half.

LSU, which shot 1-for-12 from beyond the arc in the first half, finished the game 2-for-23. Meanwhile the Tigers’ defense simply had no answer for Syracuse’s guard Judah Mintz driving and ability to draw fouls all game and guard Chris Bell, especially from 3-point land, in the second half.

Mintz scored a career-high 33 points while Bell added 20 points, with six 3-pointers, and Syracuse (5-2) utterly dominated the second half in beating LSU 80-57.

Jordan Wright led LSU with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Jalen Reed had a double-double, adding 14 points and 11 boards for the Tigers.

Will Baker, averaging a team-leading 16.3 points, was held to three points on 1-of-5 shooting.

Syracuse opened the second half with an 8-0 run with Mintz scoring all eight points. In fact, Mintz scored Syracuse’s opening 12 points of the second half to make it 45-34. Mintz’s game was all about penetrating LSU’s defense with drives to the basket and the Tigers simply could not stop him defensively without fouling him. Meanwhile, Bell began a 19-3 run with three 3-pointers, and he capped it with another 3-pointer to put the Orange up 66-42.

Mintz was 9 of 16 from the field and 13 of 15 at the free-throw line for Syracuse. Bell was 6 of 10 from long range to finish five points shy of matching his career-high of 25 points. Justin Taylor also had six points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Orange.

Mintz, who came into the game averaging 17 points per game as Syracuse’s leading scoring, scored 17 in the first 20 minutes alone, including a fast-break dunk with 34.3 seconds left in the half. Mintz’ teammates combined to score 16 points in the first half. The Orange made 14 of 15 free throws in the first half compared to LSU’s five attempts. LSU also turned the ball over 10 times in the first half.

“It was a physical 20 minutes and a five-point deficit at the break,” McMahon said.

“And then in the second half, again, their physicality right out of the gate on that 8-0 run seemed to be the difference in the game. We really struggled with Mintz. And then that run to start the second half, we were not able to overcome that.

“We really didn’t have an answer for Mintz all night. Tried to change the ball screen coverage on them. We tried to go to the zone there (a 1-3-1 matchup, early in the second half). And credit to him, he just found the right place in the zone and got Bell going from behind the arc, and we weren’t able to get any kind of offense generated there. And, you know, obviously, we had a really difficult night shooting the basketball. But when you look at out 19 turnovers that led to 26 points, you’re never gonna win on the road playing that way from a ball security standpoint,” McMahon said.

LSU (4-3) lost its 13th straight game on the road LSU last road win was in February 2022.

It was only the second meeting ever between the LSU and Syracuse teams. They first played in 1985 in what was then called the Carrier Dome. The Orange won that first meeting, 76-64

LSU hosts Southeastern on Friday at 7 PM in the PMAC.

Team Stats

BOX SCORELSU TigersSyracuse Orange
Field Goal %39.339.7
Three Point %9.152.4
Free Throw %70.082.6
Offensive Rebounds1317
Defensive Rebounds2326
Total Turnovers1915
Technical Fouls00
Flagrant Fouls00
Largest Lead326
Box Score – LSU at Syracuse 11-28-2023
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Todd Horne

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