Syracuse basketball rallies to overcome a big lead by Notre Dame

Feb 20, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Kadary Richmond (3) shoots over Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Nikola Djogo (13) in the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Just over three minutes into the second half, Notre Dame grabbed a 55-35 lead over Syracuse, their biggest of the game to that point. After that, the Fighting Irish shot 5-for-21 from the field and turned the ball over seven times, tallying 12 points before the clock ran out.

Meanwhile, the Orange shot over 50 percent from the field and turned it over just three times, the last a shot clock violation in the waning seconds. They could afford that last-second turnover, though, as SU (13-6, 7-5 ACC) had rolled up 40 points in under 17 minutes to wipe out that 20-point deficit and claim a 75-67 home win.

Buddy Boeheim by himself outscored the Irish (9-11, 6-8) in that span and his teammate Marek Dolezaj tied their opponents’ effort. Boeheim scored 17 of his career-high 29 points in the final 11 minutes and change, hitting four three-pointers in that span.

Notre Dame never trailed until the final eight minutes of play. Just after the game was five minutes old, they scored seven straight points to jumpstart a 13-2 run to take a 23-11 lead. The Irish added another streak of seven consecutive points shortly after, pushing their lead to 32-15 with a little over eight minutes left in the opening half.

Syracuse drew within 13 points, but a pair of threes made ND’s lead 45-26 with just over two minutes left in the opening half. The Orange shaved a little off that margin before the break, getting triples from Joe Girard III and Robert Braswell around an Irish foul shot to get within 46-32 at halftime.

Buddy Boeheim was the first to strike after the intermission, using a three to bring SU within 11. The Fighting Irish bounced right back, knocking down triples on three of their next four possessions to extend their lead to 55-35 just over three minutes into the second half.

Syracuse responded by scoring 29 of the next 34 points in the game, stretching over nearly ten minutes of game time. The Orange got three buckets to start the avalanche, but Notre Dame struck back with a triple to reinstate a 17-point margin.

SU replied with nine straight markers. Kadary Richmond made a lay-up, then Marek Dolezaj got a leaner to swirl around and through the rim. Richmond banked in a short jumper, then Boeheim hit a trey from up top, clipping the Irish lead to 58-50.

Notre Dame got a lay-up to stretch the lead to double digits once more, but those would be their last points for over six minutes. Syracuse, on the other hand, had almost no issues scoring.

Boeheim drove the left side for a three-point-play, then stuck a three from the left wing. Richmond made a steal that eventually was transformed into a wide-open triple by Quincy Guerrier. Boeheim followed that with a deep three from right of center to put the Orange in front and Dolezaj closed the burst with two foul shots that made it a 64-60 game in favor of the hosts with just under seven minutes to play.

A Fighting Irish triple drew them within one, but Dolezaj and Boeheim responded with the next seven points. Dolezaj followed a pair of free throws with a short shot on the right baseline, then Boeheim drilled a three from the right wing to stretch the SU lead to 71-63.

The Irish would twice get within six, but Dolezaj and Boeheim each added two foul shots to offset those minor threats.

Buddy Boeheim poured in a career-high 29 points for the Orange, 20 of them coming in the second half. The junior guard knocked down six three-pointers on the day. Marek Dolezaj added 18 points while Quincy Guerrier added nine points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

» Related: Which guard complements Kadary Richmond best?

Trey Wertz paced four double digit scorers for Notre Dame, hitting five treys as he finished with 17 points. Dane Goodwin finished with 13 points while Nate Liszewski hung an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double. Juwan Durham added ten points, all in the first seven minutes of play, while Prentiss Hubb chipped in with eight.

SU faces a quick turnaround before their next game at Duke on Monday night. The Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6) have won three straight games, including pulling out a 66-65 victory over #7 Virginia on Saturday night.

Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt tops the Blue Devils in several statistical categories, including points (18.5) and rebounds (6.4) per game, three-pointers made (45) and three-point shooting percentage (46.9 percent).

Monday’s action is set to get underway at 7:00pm Eastern and the game will be televised by ESPN.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.