Syracuse lets last minutes slip away to Notre Dame

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Feb 23, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Nate Laszewski (14) shoots a three point basket in the first half against the Syracuse Orange at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse simply ran out of gas late at Notre Dame on Wednesday night, dropping a 79-69 contest. The Orange (15-13, 9-8 ACC) trailed by a dozen near the midpoint of the second half and clawed back within a deuce, but gave up five points to the Fighting Irish (20-8, 13-4) over the next two possessions. SU got within three points twice after that, but Notre Dame put them away by going 9-of-10 from the line in the final two minutes.

Playing their third game in five days appeared to take a major toll on Syracuse, as it looked like they mostly lost their legs in the second half. The Orange missed all but one of their last ten attempts from beyond the arc and they shot just 26.1 percent from deep in the game.

The hosts had a significant advantage in offensive rebounding, grabbing 11 boards on their end and converting them into 22 second chance points. That work on the offensive end contributed to an overall 41-28 victory on the boards, an impressive margin for an Irish team that entered the game being outrebounded on the season.

The first half was well-played, at least on the offensive end, as neither team led by more than four points. SU thrice held that margin, the last time coming after five straight points from Jimmy Boeheim powered them to a 32-28 lead with under five minutes left until halftime.

Notre Dame answered with seven of the next nine points to go in front, then closed the half with a similar run to hold a 42-38 lead at the break. A Fighting Irish three almost immediately after returning to the floor expanded the lead to seven.

Syracuse responded with their best play of the night, running off nine straight points to take their lone second half lead at 47-45. Nate Laszewski and Cormac Ryan responded by combining for a 13-0 run for the hosts, grabbing the lead for good. SU missed all seven of their shots from the field in that span.

Notre Dame nudged the lead out to 12 with just over 11 minutes remaining, but the Orange fought back into the game, scoring 15 of the next 20 points, capped by four straight from Bourama Sidibe as they pulled within 65-63 with just over four minutes remaining.

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It was not enough, though, as the Irish got a three and another basket, providing enough of a cushion until putting away the game at the stripe.

Jimmy Boeheim had a season high in defeat, posting 27 points to lead all scorers. Buddy Boeheim added 20 points, but struggled from deep, making just 2-of-9 from three-point range. Cole Swider added 11 points, hitting three triples in the game.

Paul Atkinson Jr. was an absolute force for Notre Dame, finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Nate Laszewski hit five threes for the bulk of his 17 points while Cormac Ryan had 16. Blake Wesley chipped in with 13 points while Prentiss Hubb had six points, ten assists, and eight rebounds for the Irish.

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About Jim Stechschulte 805 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 NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.