Syracuse Orange vs. Niagara Purple Eagles Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 21st 2023

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Syracuse can extend its winning streak to four games when Niagara comes to town for a nonconference matchup Thursday. Syracuse (8-3, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has been off since Sunday, when the Orange bench provided a major boost in an 83-63 victory over Oregon. The Orange had four reserves score at least eight points in the win. Sophomore Quadir Copeland led the way with a career-high 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Sophomore center Maliq Brown (13), sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. (eight) and junior forward Benny Williams (eight) were the other top scorers off the bench. The Orange shot 56.6 percent from the field (30 of 53) and held the Ducks to 36.1 percent shooting (22 of 61). “I thought we played our best game of the year at both ends,” Syracuse coach Adrian Autry said. “I was really impressed with our bench. I’ve been preaching this since we started in July: We can go nine or 10 deep, sometimes 11 depending on the game and the situation.” Sophomore guards Judah Mintz (19.9) and J.J. Starling (12.5) are Syracuse’s leading scorers. This will be the second stop on a five-game road trip for Niagara (3-7, 0-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), which lost 74-69 to Binghamton on Tuesday. Freshman Ahmad Henderson, Niagara’s leading scorer, tossed in a team-high 23 points in the loss, but sophomore center Harlan Obioha was held to two points.

Obioha was named the MAAC Player of the Week on Monday after he had 20 points and 15 rebounds during Saturday’s 89-81 victory over NJIT. Niagara made 10 of its 25 3-point attempts in the loss to Binghamton, but shot 37.3 percent from the field overall. Niagara coach Greg Paulus has stressed the importance of getting the ball inside for his team to be at its best on offense. “Just getting that ball below the foul line gives you an opportunity to play inside out,” Paulus said. “On 3s you shoot a higher percentage and you shoot a higher percentage closer to the basket as well.” Paulus is best known as a former point guard at Duke, but he also played quarterback for Syracuse in 2009.

–Field Level Media

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