A quick take on Syracuse’s 61-55 win over Notre Dame in SU’s first game since being named the No. 1 team in the country:
WHAT HAPPENED: Trevor Cooney single-handedly shot the Orange to their 22nd win of the season, scoring nine straight points late in the second half after Notre Dame had pulled to within 43-40 with 8:43 left. His final 3 gave the Orange a 54-44 lead with 4:19 left, and SU would lead by at least five points the rest of the way. It was part of an incredible 33-point night for Cooney, who drained nine 3-pointers, tying a school record held by Gerry McNamara, Andy Rautins and James Southerland. His torrid performance came on an otherwise awful shooting night from rest the team, who shot a combined 10-32 outside of Cooney.
ANALYSIS: Just two days after Syracuse’s epic win over Duke, the Orange played an understandably uninspired game against a team that has been mediocre following the loss of their best player (Jerian Grant). Both the team and crowd lacked energy, and seemed to be going through the motions. This was particularly evident in SU’s two stars from Saturday’s game, CJ Fair and Jerami Grant, who both struggled. But Syracuse is off to the best start in school history and is the No. 1 team in the country because they have four players who can take over a game at any given time. Tonight, it was Cooney, who rescued the Orange with a career-high in points and reignited an otherwise stagnant crowd late in the second half.
HERO: Easy choice here. Cooney was absolutely on fire tonight, surpassing his career-high of 27 points against Cornell earlier in the year. Garrick Sherman led the Irish with 16 points.
ZERO: One game after scoring a career-high 28 points, Fair had a classic let down game. The ACC Preseason Player of the Year finished with a season low 6 points on 2-13 shooting. Grant, the other hero from Saturday night, was also quiet, finishing with 9 points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays home to host Clemson on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. TV: ESPNU.