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Orange stun No. 7 UNC behind Mintz’s 25 points

orange-stun-no.-7-unc-behind-mintz’s-25-points
Orange stun No. 7 UNC behind Mintz’s 25 points

Syracuse picks up important win as it upsets North Carolina (2:21)

Syracuse gets a much-needed win at home over top-10 ranked North Carolina. (2:21)

  • ESPN News Services

Feb 13, 2024, 09:55 PM ET

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Judah Mintz scored 25 points, including 16 in the second half, and JJ Starling had 13 of his 23 points in the second half as Syracuse stunned No. 7 North Carolina 86-79 on Tuesday night.

The raucous home crowd rushed the court to celebrate the program’s first win over a Top 10 team since a 95-91 overtime win over Duke in 2019. Syracuse entered Tuesday’s game having lost 16 straight vs. AP Top 10 teams, with an average margin of defeat of just under 16 points, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Orange shot 63% from the field and 47% from 3. The loss was North Carolina’s third in five games.

“This game, obviously, was the best game we’ve played all year,” said Syracuse first-year coach Adrian Autry. “Judah and JJ really stepped up big, but everybody who stepped on the court had a hand in the victory.”

North Carolina (19-6, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) missed its first 10 shots of the second half and fell behind 52-43 but rallied and took a 65-64 lead on a layup by RJ Davis with 7:16 to go. But the Orange (16-9, 7-7), which suffered a 103-67 loss at Chapel Hill last month, was not to be denied.

“We showed that we got heart,” Mintz said. “I think we’ve been showing that all year.”

“We wouldn’t have won if we didn’t think we could win it,” he added. “We’re a confident group no matter how the odds are stacked against us. It’s great to get the win for the program.”

Starling hit a desperation 3-point bank shot to reclaim the Orange lead at 67-65 with under seven minutes to go. Mintz hit a layup, jumper and two foul shots to give the Orange a 73-67 margin, and Starling hit another 3 to give Syracuse a 76-69 lead following a Harrison Ingram jumper with under three to go.

“This is big-time for sure,” said Starling, who hails from nearby Baldwinsville. “We needed it. … One game against them showed that it wasn’t us. This showed what we’re capable of.”

Maliq Brown had 14 points and six rebounds for Syracuse in Tuesday’s game, while Chris Bell chipped in with 13.

Davis led North Carolina with 19 points. Cormac Ryan had 18, and Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram had 14 apiece.

“We didn’t play well enough to win, we’ve just got to get better. They shot 63% from field. Very few teams in the country you can beat especially on the road when they shoot that well,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said. “You have to compliment Syracuse. They stepped up and made big plays and big shots.

“At the end of the day you just have to step up and make plays, we just didn’t, we didn’t make enough. We’ll go back and look at the tape and work hard, get better and move forward to the next game.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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