Judah Mintz scored on a baseline layup with 13 seconds left to give Syracuse a 62-61 win at Notre Dame, snapping the Orange's three game losing streak. With the win, Syracuse improved to 4-4 (1-0), while the Irish dropped to 6-2 (0-1). The win comes just days after Notre Dame blew out #20 Michigan State, putting the Irish as a team that would potentially jump into the rankings with the win. Mintz had other plans.
Syracuse had taken a five point lead with 2:32 left, but did not score from that point on until Mintz's layup. A Cormac Ryan three and Marcus Hammond old fashioned three point play gave Notre Dame the one point lead with 29 seconds remaining. Jim Boeheim called timeout to set up the final play that resulted in Mintz's game winning bucket.
"It was a good play at the end," Boeheim said. "They're not coming off of Jesse to help and Judah got to the basket. It was a good play."
The Syracuse defense, which had been very good most of the afternoon, forced Notre Dame into a tough contested jumper from the corner that missed off the front of the rim to secure the victory.
Joe Girard, who had been in a 2-25 shooting slump coming in, bounced back in a big way with 20 points on 9-18 shooting to go along with five rebounds and two steals. He was active defensively, got Syracuse into its offense at times, and hit key shots to give the Orange the offensive spark it needed.
"We needed Joe to bounce back and that was the difference in the game, I think," Boeheim said. "He was aggressive. We ran some stuff for him but he was aggressive and made some plays."
The key to the Syracuse offense for large stretches was feeding center Jesse Edwards. He finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds as Notre Dame had no answer for him all afternoon. Sixteen of his points came in the first half when he helped Syracuse keep the score tied at 35 headed to intermission.
"Obviously Jesse's playing at a high level right now," Boeheim said. "We have to get better at getting him the ball in some situations."
Mintz finished with nine points, two assists, two rebounds and three steals. Justin Taylor came off the bench to score five points, grab four rebounds and dish two assists. John Bol Ajak played 18 minutes off the bench and led all players with four assists.
Syracuse held Notre Dame to 38% shooting and 33% from beyond the arc. The Irish started the game 6-9 from deep but was just 5-24 the rest of the way. Notre Dame's best player, Nate Laszewski, had just two points on 1-6 shooting in 34 minutes. Central New York native JJ Starling, who was recruited heavily by the Orange, had seven points but was just 3-9 (1-6 from beyond the arc) shooting.
"Good win," Boeheim said. "We've got to get better but it's a good win."
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