Saturday afternoon, Syracuse made more threes than they had made in 53 games, hitting a dozen triples as they picked up a road win in their ACC opener, defeating Notre Dame, 72-62. Elijah Hughes did a lot of damage for the Orange (10-4, 1-0 ACC), connecting on six three-pointers.
SU’s long bombs helped offset a free throw deficiency. The Fighting Irish (10-5, 0-2) took 17 foul shots in the game while Syracuse attempted only five, making four, and did not even send a player to the charity stripe until 4:13 remained in the contest.
The Orange defense played a strong role in stifling the hosts after halftime. The Irish could only muster 24 points in the second half, in large part because SU limited them to 24.1 percent shooting from the field. Notre Dame made just 4-of-16 three-pointers in the second half after connecting on 7-of-17 tries before the break. Syracuse also forced seven second half turnovers and turned them into eight points.
After a tight first five minutes, the Fighting Irish opened up a double-digit lead by ripping off eight straight points in just over 90 seconds. The burst gave the hosts an 18-8 advantage with less then six-and-a-half minutes off the clock.
A couple minutes later, the Orange rolled off seven straight points to trigger a 12-3 run. Jalen Carey had a hand in all seven points. The freshman point guard first pushed for a transition lay-up, then fed Elijah Hiughes for a three. A couple minutes later, Carey connected on a pull-up jumper to bring SU within 20-17.
After a Notre Dame triple, Marek Dolezaj lobbed to Hughes for a back door lay-up and Oshae Brissett hit a three from the right wing. The trey pulled Syracuse within 23-22 with under eight minutes left in the opening half.
The Irish nudged the lead out to a half dozen, but Tyus Battle came to life, propelling the Orange on a 9-1 run to take the lead. Battle followed his own miss to get things going, then Hughes his a three against the shot clock. Following a free throw from the hosts, Battle connected on a stepback jumper and went the distance with a defensive board for a lay-up and a 31-29 SU lead.
The two teams traded the lead a couple times before the Irish took a 38-37 lead at half on a late three-point shot.
Syracuse came roaring out of the locker room, rolling up the first nine points of the second half to take a lead they would not give up. Frank Howard hit a long two and Hughes used a rhythm dribble for a long straightaway three-pointer. Brissett broke free on the right baseline for a two-handed jam, then lobbed to Paschal Chukwu for a reverse lay-up and a 46-38 lead before the second session was four minutes old.
The Orange then spent the remainder of the half fending off charges by the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame immediately cut the lead to two, but SU stretched it out to 53-47 after the under-12 media timeout on a three and a stepback jumper by Battle.
The Irish got within a basket again, but a swished triple by Hughes and a Battle floater made it 58-51 with under eight to play.
Less than two minutes later, the lead was down to a deuce again. And, again, Syracuse responded, this time with seven straight points. Howard kicked out from a drive to an open Hughes for a left wing trey. Brissett added a pair from the line and Battle worked himself free for a jump shot and a 67-58 Orange lead with under 2:30 to play.
Notre Dame got a free throw, but Howard rattled home a long three from the top of the key to deliver the finishing blow with just under a minute on the clock.
Elijah Hughes posted career highs in three-pointers, points and rebounds, as his half dozen threes powered his 22-point, 10-rebound double-double. Oshae Brissett also did some damage from deep, hitting a trio of treys as he had a double-double of 19 points and 11 boards. Tyus Battle added 17 points and Frank Howard chipped in with eight.
T.J. Gibbs matched Hughes’ threes, but not his overall production, leading Notre Dame with 18 points. John Mooney had 14 points and as many rebounds for the Irish. D.J. Harvey added 11 points and Nate Laszewski added nine.
SU will have their home ACC debut on Wednesday night when Clemson visits the Carrier Dome. The Tigers (10-4, 0-1) opened ACC play Saturday night by getting blown out in the second half of an 87-68 loss at #1 Duke.
Five different Tigers average at least nine points per game, paced by guard Marcquise Reed, who tops the squad with 19.6 points per game. Guard Shelton Mitchell averages 13.6 points per outing and forward Elijah Thomas posts 13.6 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game.
The Orange defeated Clemson at home in the regular season finale last year, 55-52, as Battle and Brissett each scored 17 points. Reed scored 21 points when the two teams met last year and Thomas posted 18.
Clemson and Syracuse will face off at 8:00pm Eastern and the game will be televised in certain regional markets. The telecast will also be available online at ESPN3.com and through the ESPN app.