Instant Juice: Syracuse 49, Notre Dame 51

Notre Dame
Frank Howard drives the basketball against Notre Dame. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

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.

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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.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.