A quick take on Syracuse’s ugly 51-49 loss versus Notre Dame, on a frigidly cold January Saturday afternoon outside of the Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: A late turnover by Tyus Battle led to a follow up basket by Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger with 0:03 left to give Notre Dame the victory, and end ND’s five game losing streak (dating back to 2007) at the Dome. Syracuse (12-4, 1-2) led 28-19 at halftime, but the Irish (13-3, 3-0) scored the first seven points of the second half to get back in the game, and the final 20 minutes was back-and-forth with both teams struggling on offense.
ANALYSIS: In a game that both teams could not shoot straight, each squad was still under 40 points with less than 7:00 left in the game, Syracuse’s rebounding woes, especially on the offensive glass, hurt the ‘Cuse who struggled to get points inside and out the entire second half.
HERO: Notre Dame guard T. J. Gibbs picked up the offensive slack for an Irish team that was missing two starters and a combined 37 points a game. Gibbs was ND’s leading scorer with 18 points, while Pflueger added 12 points including the game-winning basket.
ZERO: While neither team was effective putting the ball in the basket, for only the third time this season SU was out-rebounded by its opponent, and it was glaring on the offensive boards with ND having a 21-8 advantage. That accounted for several Irish follow-up baskets in their second half comeback, and overall Notre Dame had a 41-27 rebounding margin.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse seeks its first road win in ACC play this season taking on No. 8 ranked Virginia Tuesday night, Jan. 9 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. This is the first of two regular season meetings against the Cavaliers. UVA (14-1, 3-0) was masterful defensively in knocking off North Carolina 61-49 at home Saturday. Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET / TV: ACC Network.