Late rally propels Notre Dame to win over Syracuse basketball

Dolezaj Niagara
Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj goes up for a layup. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

The second half of Saturday afternoon’s game between Syracuse and Notre Dame at the Carrier Dome turned into a contest of runs. The Fighting Irish (10-4, 1-2 ACC) got the last of those streaks, hanging seven straight points in the final 80 seconds to build a four-point lead and withstand several shot attempts from the Orange (8-6, 1-2 ACC), including a last second three, to escape with an 88-87 victory.

SU took a three-point lead with 1:33 left on the clock, but the Irish got a Prentiss Hubb three-pointer to tie the game, then scored on John Mooney’s second putback attempt on their following possession to take the lead. After getting a defensive stop, Hubb was fouled and made both shots for an 88-84 Notre Dame lead. Syracuse missed a pair of shots before Joe Girard III connected on a triple with 0.4 seconds left, meaning the Fighting Irish simply had to inbound the ball to pull out the victory.

The box score was quite similar for both teams, including identical 15-for-31 marks from three-point range, save for two significant exceptions. Notre Dame scored 21 points off turnovers compared to nine for the Orange and also owned a 24-14 advantage in second chance points.

The Fighting Irish had the first run of the night, needing under four-and-a-half minutes to post a 15-5 run to take a 20-11 lead just after eight minutes were elapsed. The guests actually ran off eight straight points, gave up a pair of SU scores, then tacked on the next seven markers.

Notre Dame maintained their lead for three minutes, but Syracuse rattled off a 16-3 run to take control. Marek Dolezaj popped for a quick jump shot, then fed Elijah Hughes on the right wing for a three-pointer in transition. The Irish matched that three, but the Orange ripped off 11 straight points in the next three minutes of action.

That three got Hughes warmed up and he continued to pile up points, using a fake to hit a three from the right wing, then finishing with a runner on the right side near the baseline that knotted the score. The redshirt junior then drove the paint for a circus shot to give him ten straight for SU. Quincy Guerrier drained two free throws, then Hughes hit once more, swishing a pull-up jumper for a 34-28 lead with five and change on the clock.

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The guests scored nine of the game’s next dozen points to tie the score again, this time with under 90 seconds left in the half. Guerrier banked in a three, though, and boosted Syracuse to a 40-37 halftime lead.

The two teams traded scores until the Irish got consecutive triples for a 46-44 lead under four minutes into the second half. The Orange tied the score twice, but Notre Dame stretched their lead to five.

SU posted their first run of the second half, scoring eight straight points to go in front. Buddy Boeheim hit two treys in three trips and Hughes made a steal and converted it into a lay-up for a 56-53 Orange lead.

The Fighting Irish replied with an 11-0 run, taking a 64-56 lead just shy of the midpoint of the session. Syracuse responded quickly, scoring on their next three trips. Hughes made a pair from the foul line. Boeheim connected on a wide-open three from the right wing and Hughes rattled one home from the left wing, tying the game at 64.

The game was tight for the next few minutes, but Joe Girard III took over for the Orange, scoring ten straight points. Girard’s streak started on a pair of free throws after Prentiss Hubb was assessed a technical for taunting, putting SU in front. The freshman followed that by hitting a stepback fadeaway from near the left baseline to make it 73-70. Girard followed an Irish basket with a swished three, then matched a three with another one of his own, giving Syracuse a 79-75 lead with 3:37 on the clock.

Each side scored on their next three possessions with the Irish shaving a point off the Orange edge, getting within 84-81 with just over 90 seconds to play. The guests took over from there to pull out the win.

Buddy Boeheim hit seven triples on the night, finishing with 23 points to lead SU. Joe Girard III poured in 15 second half points, finishing with four treys as he tallied 20 points overall. Elijah Hughes added 19 points while Marek Dolezaj stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists. Quincy Guerrier added ten points and three blocks in 17 minutes off the bench.

John Mooney dominated the game for Notre Dame, posting a double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds. Both figures were game highs. Prentiss Hubb connected on six three-pointers as he scored 22 points to go along with nine assists. T.J. Gibbs also hit a half dozen triples for the bulk of his 21 points. Juwan Durham had ten rebounds and three blocks for the Irish.

SU welcomes Virginia Tech for a late-night matchup on Tuesday. The Hokies (10-4, 1-2 ACC) had a four-game win streak snapped on Saturday when #19 Virginia handled them, 65-39.

Landers Nolley II led Virginia Tech against the Cavaliers with 18 points, keeping in line with his 17.4 points per game average. The Hokies came into the game connecting on 39.4 percent of their three-point shots, but went a paltry 4-of-25 on Saturday.

Tip-off is set for 9:00pm Eastern and the game will be televised by the ACC Network.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 608 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.