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Notre Dame Basketball Drops Tight ACC Opener To Syracuse

Notre Dame couldn't keep the momentum from its Wednesday upset of Michigan State going in Saturday's 62-61 loss to Syracuse in the ACC opener for both teams

Notre Dame came into Saturday’s ACC opener looking to ride the momentum of Wednesday’s upset of No. 20 Michigan State. The Irish faced a Syracuse team that limped into the matchup on a three-game losing streak, but the Orange road the backs of Jesse Edwards and Joseph Girard III to a 62-61 win.

The Syracuse (4-4, 1-0 ACC) duo combined for 42 of their team’s points, with the 6-11 Edwards scored a game-high 22 points on 10 for 15 shooting while pulling down 14 rebounds. Edwards scored 10 of Syracuse’s first 15 points within the first seven-plus minutes of the game. His nearly unstoppable effort helped the Orange outscore the Irish 34-18 in the paint.

Girard entered the game in the midst of an extended scoring slump. He had totaled just nine points in his previous three games and hit just two of 25 shots in the process. He finished with 20 points on 9 for 18 shooting, despite connecting on just two of his 10 three-point shots.

Dane Goodwin led the Fighting Irish (6-2, 0-1) with 16 points, 13 in the first half. Ven-Allen Lubin was the only other Irish player in double figures in the game with 10 points.

Notre Dame hit 8 of 18 three-pointers in the first half but was just 3 of 15 in the second half.

Cormac Ryan, who had his best game of the season with 23 points against Michigan State, kept his hot hand going in the first half. He scored nine points thanks to three 3-pointers. Ryan finished with 14 points, but attempted (and made) his only long range shot in the second half.

Niagara transfer Marcus Hammond made his long-awaited Irish debut in the first half. The grad transfer had missed Notre Dame’s first seven games with an MCL injury to his right knee. He wore a large brace on the knee. He hit a 3 from the right wing with 8:18 on the clock in the first half for his first points at Notre Dame. It gave the Irish a 27-23 lead.

Syracuse took its biggest lead of the game at 60-55 with a Girard layup with 2:28 to play, but Ryan’s fourth three of the game with 1:18 remaining pulled the Irish back to within 60-58.

The Irish got a defensive stop and took its first lead since the early moments of the second half when Hammond hit a jumper from the free throw line and then hit the plus-one free throw after being fouled to make it 61-60 Irish with 29.5 seconds remaining.

Syracuse guard Judah Mintz hit the eventual game-winner on a layup with 14.2 seconds remaining. The Orange had fouls to give and fouled three times on Notre Dame inbounds before the last Irish inbound with 7.1 seconds remaining. Goodwin got the final shot off from the right corner just before the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim as the final horn sounded.

The game was close throughout. It featured 12 ties and 12 lead changes. 

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