A quick take on Syracuse’s 79-69 loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday evening on the road:
WHAT HAPPENED: In a game that featured little defense, and on the part of SU, not much boxing out, Syracuse pulled to within 72-69 on a Cole Swider jumper with 1:20 to go. But in a play that was a microcosm of the evening, Paul Atkinson Jr. grabbed an offensive rebound off a Dane Goodwin miss and was fouled. He hit two free throws and Jimmy Boeheim’s missed layup on SU’s ensuing possession was Syracuse’s last gasp. Syracuse was outrebounded 40-28, with 11 ND rebounds on the offensive end.
ANALYSIS: If there was a game where Jesse Edwards’ presence was missed, this was it. Atkinson dominated SU inside, scoring 20 points and adding 17 rebounds, 8 on the offensive glass. And he gave the Orange big men fits trying to defend him. Frank Anselem and Jimmy Boeheim each had four fouls, while Bourama Sidibe had 3. As for Syracuse’s quest to avoid a losing season for the first time under Jim Boeheim, that also took a hit, as the Orange only have three remaining chances to get that elusive singular win to guarantee a 16-15 finish.
HERO: The Boeheim brothers combined for 47 points, with Jimmy having one of the best games of his SU career with 27 pts and 7 rebs. Buddy, though, continued his struggles shooting the ball from the outside on the road, going 2-9 from distance.
ZERO: Syracuse got little from Joe Girard, as he finished with 2 points on 1-7 shooting and 0-4 from 3.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to host No. 7 Duke on Saturday at the Carrier Dome at 6 p.m. TV: ESPN.