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Orange duo help SU clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Following a pair of top-10 wins over No. 9 Cornell and No. 4 North Carolina, Syracuse junior attackman Kevin Rice and redshirt sophomore defenseman Brandon Mullins have been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, as announced Tuesday by the conference.
Rice averaged 6.5 points per game last week to lead the Orange to back-to-back victories, and earn his third ACC Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season. Against No. 6 Cornell, Rice tallied seven points on three goals and four assists to reach the 100-point mark for his career. He registered four points in the second half, scoring once and assisting on three Randy Staats goals to help SU outscore Cornell 8-4 after the second half on its way to a 14-9 triumph. It was Rice’s third game with at least seven points this season.
He followed it up with a three-goal, three-assist performance in an 11-10 double-overtime win against No. 4 North Carolina that clinched an ACC Championship berth for the Orange. Rice factored in all three of Syracuse’s fourth-quarter goals against the Tar Heels. He assisted on back-to-back scores by Dylan Donahue and Nicky Galasso that gave the Orange its first lead of the game (9-8) with 7:47 left. Then with 8.4 seconds to play, Rice scored unassisted to tie the game at 10-10 and force overtime.
Mullins anchored an Orange defense that locked down two of the nation’s highest-scoring teams. Against the Big Red, Mullins picked up two ground balls and shut out Cornell leading scorer Matt Donovan, who entered the game averaging 3.7 points per contest. With Mullins blanketing him, Donovan managed to get off just one shot in the Orange’s 14-9 win. The nine Cornell goals tied its lowest offensive output of the season.
In Syracuse’s win over the Heels, Mullins matched up with the ACC’s second-leading scorer Joey Sankey. He limited Sankey to one goal on four shots and helped force him to commit four turnovers. Mullins’ effort against Sankey keyed a Syracuse defense that surrendered only six goals in the game’s final 56 minutes. The redshirt sophomore from Coppell, Texas, finished with two ground balls and one caused turnover in the contest.