A quick take on Syracuse’s 84-66 loss against Notre Dame on the road on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Syracuse had cut Notre Dame’s lead to four with 9:48 left, the Irish went on an 10-0 run to take a 26-14 lead. It was the VJ Beachem show during that spurt, as he threw down two thunderous dunks, followed by a pair of 3-pointers, to essentially give Notre Dame control of the game with 7:51 left in the first half.
ANALYSIS: Though Syracuse has wins over quality opponents (Miami, Pitt), the window for an NCAA bid appears to be closing quickly. Because the Orange didn’t have any success in non-conference play against high-majors, it has put more pressure on SU to win games against the ACC elite. That opportunity presented itself on Saturday against No. 15 Notre Dame, but much like Monday’s game against North Carolina, the Orange simply don’t have enough right now to keep up with the top of the conference. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, which typically stymies a potent Notre Dame attack, was flat, as the Irish had no problems finding easy and open looks, finishing at nearly 50 percent from the field.
HERO: Beachem scored 17 first half points en route to 30 points to lead the Irish. Tyler Lydon was SU’s lone bright spot, with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
ZERO: The game of point guard musical chairs continued for Syracuse. John Gillon started again, but for the second time in two games, Frank Howard got more of an opportunity to show he could run the offense. No matter, as both struggled, combining for 4 points and 5 assists.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to play Wake Forest on 1/24 at 8:00 p.m.