Notre Dame Beats Syracuse To Earn First ACC Victory
In what was the most intense and exciting game of the season for Notre Dame (10-4), the Fighting Irish earned its first ACC victory of the season with an 88-87 come-from-behind victory over Syracuse (8-6).
The game was supposed to be a matchup of two teams that struggle to score and shoot the ball, but that is not how things played out.
Led by senior guard TJ Gibbs, the Irish started off hot, jumping out to a 13-6 lead that was field by 10 points from Gibbs. The senior knocked down three triples in the first five minutes, including one deep shot in which he was fouled, making it a four-point play.
Notre Dame made five shots from deep in the first nine minutes, which allowed to the Irish to take a 23-14 lead, but Syracuse charged back. Leading scorer Eljiah Hughes was held without a point in the first 11 minutes, but Hughes knocked down a triple to punctuate a 9-2 run, making it a 25-23 game.
Gibbs answered with a three of his own on Notre Dame’s next possession, but Hughes answered back, knocking down another deep shot, and after a miss shot and then a turnover from Irish sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb, Hughes gave the Orange the lead with back-to-back baskets.
Hughes extended the lead to six (34-28), but Notre Dame battled back and tied it up at 37-37 on a triple from sophomore forward Nate Laszewski late in the first half. Syracuse freshman Quincy Guerrier put Syracuse up 40-37 with a three-pointer with just :31 seconds left in the half.
This is how the rest of the game went.
As good as the first half was, the second half was even better, as the two teams traded baskets and leads for the entire second half.
Notre Dame made just one of its first six shots of the second half, but Syracuse could not pull away, and back-to-back three-pointers from senior John Mooney and Hubb put the Irish up 46-44. The lead was extended to 53-48, but back-to-back three-pointers from Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim tied the game again at 54-54.
Notre Dame again pushed the lead to eight at 64-56, but once again the Orange battled back as Boeheim and Hughes hit back-to-back triples to tie the game up.
Syracuse quickly took the lead before Mooney hit a layup to put the Irish back on top, but Hubb was called for taunting after the make. Syracuse freshman guard Joe Girard III made both technical tree throws, hit a jumper and then knocked down a triple to put the Orange up 76-72.
Girard was the player Hubb was called for taunting, and that series events seemed to give Syracuse all the momentum, but Hubb ended the 7-2 Syracuse run with a three-pointer of his own to cut the lead to one.
Syracuse remained on top until Hubb knocked down a deep three with just 1:20 left in the game to tie it at 84-84. On Notre Dame’s next possession, Mooney missed a put back of a Dane Goodwin miss, but the senior forward got his own rebound and put it back to give the Irish an 86-84 lead with just 0:36 left in the game.
Hughes missed a layup and Laszewski came away with the rebound. Hubb knocked down a pair of free throws to Ice the game as the Irish earned a much-needed road victory.
Both teams went 15-31 from deep, Notre Dame controlled the action on the boards in the second half. After being outscored 18-10 in the paint in the first half, Notre Dame outscored the Orange 16-8 down low in the second half, which helped open up perimeter shots.
A big difference in the game was Notre Dame’s ability to force 11 turnovers and then turn those Syracuse mistakes into 21 points. The 21-9 differential in points off turnovers was a significant part of the Irish victory.
Mooney and Hubb were huge for the Irish in the second half. The sophomore guard scored 22 points, but 17 came in the second half while dishing out five assists. Mooney finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds, but 19 of his points came in the second half.
Gibbs scored 21 points, making 6-of-8 three-point attempts.
Notre Dame heads to NC State for a Wednesday ACC contest.