Redemption for Syracuse basketball, with a dash of revenge over Notre Dame

Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim
Jan 22, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim talks to his players during a timeout in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports.

Notre Dame posted an 18-4 second half run to take the lead with under six minutes remaining, but Syracuse responded with eight straight points shortly after to take a lead they would not give up and claim an 84-82 road win. The victory is the fourth in a row for the Orange (12-7, 5-3 ACC), moving them into a fourth-place tie in the conference. The comeback also helped SU avenge an 88-87 home loss to the Fighting Irish (11-7, 2-5) less than three weeks earlier.

Those eight straight points came when Syracuse was able to get a series of defensive stops, holding the Irish without a field goal for over five minutes and without a point for over four. Stops were a rarity much of the night, as both teams shot over 45 percent overall. Notre Dame buried 13 triples in the game, including three in their second half rally, but the Orange went 14-of-17 at the free throw stripe and also held a 41-34 rebounding advantage, enabling them to overcome an icy 1-for-11 second half from beyond the arc.

Elijah Hughes started the night hot, running off eight straight SU points for a 12-10 lead before three-and-a-half minutes elapsed. Notre Dame replied with seven straight points, jumpstarting a 13-3 run for a 23-15 lead before the game was seven minutes old. A couple minutes later, three straight Irish possessions made another 7-0 run for a 30-19 lead.

Syracuse roared back, tallying 13 straight points to regain the lead. Quincy Guerrier started the burst with a follow-up dunk and a three-point play. Joe Girard III flipped in a short shot, then connected on a right wing three. Hughes buried a deep left wing three to give the Orange a 32-30 edge with just under eight minutes left in the first half.

The two squads traded scores until the hosts got a pair of baskets to a 42-39 edge. SU had one more run in their back pocket, scoring the last seven points of the half. Bourama Sidibe dropped in a hook shot, then Brycen Goodine hit a jumper just inside the arc. Hughes tacked on another triple with eight seconds left for a 46-42 halftime lead.

Syracuse kept rolling when the second half started, opening the session with an 11-2 run. Buddy Boeheim opened the half with a lay-up and Hughes struck from long range to make the lead nine. Notre Dame got on the board, but Hughes made a pair of jump shots and Marek Dolezaj connected on one for a 57-44 Orange lead.

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The Irish came to life with seven straight points, but SU posted a matching run. Sidibe scored inside twice, then Dolezaj made one foul shot. Dolezaj then got a rebound and pushed the ball upcourt, eventually finding Sidibe with a soft lob and the center stuffed home a two-handed dunk, pushing the Syracuse lead to 64-51.

The Fighting Irish owned the next eight minutes, though, piling up 18 of the next 22 points to grab a 69-68 edge. Buddy Boeheim scored to put the Orange back in front, but a Notre Dame foul shot knotted the score with 4:54 remaining.

SU took it up a notch, shutting down the Irish offense and getting scores from four different players. Boeheim got a lay-up and Guerrier a dunk, then Dolezaj a short jumper. Hughes connected on two foul shots with 43 seconds on the clock for a 78-70 lead.

The Irish found their offense, notching a basket. Guerrier answered with a pair from the line. Notre Dame posted a three, but Hughes got two of the points back at the stripe. After another three, a Syracuse turnover gave the ball back and a Fighting Irish putback drew them within 82-80 with two seconds left.

Notre Dame was forced to foul Girard, who calmly sunk a pair of free throws, giving the Orange enough room to withstand a late lay-up and leave with the win.

Elijah Hughes topped all scorers as he hit four three-pointers and rolled up 26 points for SU. Joe Girard III started hot, hitting three triples and scoring 11 points in the first half, and finished with 15 points and nine boards. Bourama Sidibe hit all six of his attempts from the floor for a dozen points. Buddy Boeheim had ten points while Marek Dolezaj and Quincy Guerrier each chipped in with nine.

John Mooney had another big night for Notre Dame, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Dane Goodwin, T.J. Gibbs, and Nate Laszewski each hit three treys and reached double figures. Goodwin had 15 points while Gibbs posted 13 and Laszewski 11.

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome for their next game, a Saturday matinee against Pittsburgh. The Panthers (13-6, 4-4) won their second straight in ACC play Wednesday night, giving up a late ten-point lead, but getting the winning jump shot with four seconds left for a 74-72 victory over Boston College.

Four different players average between ten and 14 points per outing for Pitt, led by Trey McGowens. The Panthers struggle from beyond the arc as a team, making just over 30 percent of their threes on the season, but Xavier Johnson, who averages over 12 points per game, shoots 39 percent from distance and Ryan Murphy has made just under two treys per game.

Saturday’s contest will get underway at 12:00pm Eastern with the ACC Network handling the television duties.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 646 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.