I can’t stress enough how awesome sophomore forward Chris Bell was as Syracuse basketball came back from being down 24 points in the second half to stun Colgate on the Hill this past Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-7,188-pound Bell, a former four-star, top-80 national prospect in the 2022 class, undeniably saved the Orange in its non-conference contest against the Raiders. Frankly, if not for Bell’s production, the ‘Cuse likely would have found itself losing by even more than two-dozen points to Colgate, thus making an improbable second-half comeback by Syracuse basketball nearly impossible.
Chris Bell, who added strength and weight in the off-season as he eyes a more consistent sophomore campaign, tallied a career-high 25 points versus the Raiders, with the Orange (3-0) ultimately prevailing, 79-75.
In the ‘Cuse victory, Bell connected on 9-of-19 from the field and 6-of-14 from beyond the arc. He hit multiple clutch 3-pointers in big-time moments, helping fuel the Orange’s monumental comeback.
Syracuse basketball sophomore forward Chris Bell was the main reason why the Orange beat Colgate.
What’s more, in this game and others in the young part of the 2023-24 season, I’ve been encouraged by Bell’s willingness and assertiveness to not just settle for perimeter jumpers, but rather, drive to the rim and score in the paint.
In his post-game press conference following the Syracuse basketball triumph over the Raiders, first-year head coach Adrian Autry called Bell’s performance “phenomenal” and his “best game” so far in a ‘Cuse uniform.
After the game, sophomore point guard Judah Mintz, who himself has been tremendous so far in 2023-24, described his teammate Chris Bell as a “sniper.”
“I’m just proud of him,” Mintz said of Bell. “He showed what he can do. He’s had a couple games where he might run off a couple threes but for him to be consistent for a whole game is big for us. Without Chris we don’t get the win today.”
Against Colgate, Bell didn’t have a rebound, although to be fair, virtually the entire Syracuse basketball roster struggled on the glass versus the Raiders. Autry noted that Chris Bell played with a lot of energy, calling his defense “pretty solid.”
As a freshman in 2022-23, when the Orange went 17-15 overall, Bell averaged 20.1 minutes, 6.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest, while connecting on 40.2 percent from the field, 34.5 percent from beyond the arc, and 80.0 percent from the free-throw line.
Through three games in 2023-24, Chris Bell is second on the ‘Cuse roster in points per game, behind Mintz. Bell, this stanza, is averaging 26.0 minutes, 14.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per affair, while hitting on 42.1 percent from the field, 36.0 percent from 3-point land, and 50.0 percent (1-of-2) from the charity stripe.
With Syracuse basketball set to play some daunting foes in the near future, including at this coming week’s Allstate Maui Invitational in Honolulu, it seems clear that Chris Bell will prove a key contributor for the Orange, and if he can continue to produce as he did versus Colgate, that will be huge for the ‘Cuse moving forward.