Syracuse, NY—The last five games Syracuse have taken their game on a another level. The Orangemen are playing hard for sixty-minutes and not blowing late leads in games now.
Chris Bell poured in 17 points, Judah Mintz scored seven of his 14 points in the final three minutes and Cuse (12-6, 5-2 ACC) overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to down Notre Dame (9-9, 1-6) 78-73 Saturday night in the Carrier Dome.
Mintz, who finished with eight assists, made 4 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds of the contest.
“We were running full court press and trying to speed up the game because if we didn’t, it would have slowed down the game with us down by double digits” Coach Jim Boeheim said, when asked what was his thought process and reasoning for going to the full court press in the second half”
Coming into tonight’s game the Fighting Irish were coming off an overtime victory over Georgia Tech a few nights ago and it was their first victory in the Irish last four matchups. They were clearly coming into this game more hungry for a win, they not were (1-5) in conference play and (9-8), just above .500 overall.
The fighting Irish are in the bottom three of the conference only above Georgia Tech and Louisville, Syracuse on the other hand was in the middle of the pack and with a 11-6 record overall and 4-2 in the conference and was looking to build off their most recent victory over Virginia Tech.
When the game begun, it seemed both teams were playing evenly matched, Notre Dame had short leads all throughout the first half, the game was even tied several times.
The funny thing was the Orangemen were lucky that by the end of the first half they were only trailing 40-36, because Notre Dame was shooting the lights out from downtown (50%)—they could have been down by double digits, but Orange’s rebounding, abusing the Fighting Irish in the paint, and second chance points, is what kept them in the game in the first half.
In the second half, the Irish extended its lead in the second half. A deep 3-pointer from Trey Wertz put them up 12 points, 56-44. Mintz answered with a three-point-play, Marcus Hammond drained a shot damn near outside the dome to give the Irish a 59-47 advantage with 12:18 remaining.
Marcus Hammond and Wertz each hit four of the Fighting Irish’s season-high 15 3-pointers.
Hammond scored 18 points, Dane Goodwin poured in 15 with six assists and Nate Laszewski had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish. Wertz finished with 12 points.
Maliq Brown scored 15 points and Jesse Edwards chipped in 13 points, 15 boards, four assists, and four blocks for the Orangemen.
The Fighting Irish had four players scoring in double digits, the Orangemen figured how to slow Notre Dame down. The next few possessions they switched to full court pressure, speeding up the pace on the Fighting Irish and it worked. Notre Dame was not comfortable with moving at that pace even when they had good looks they came up short. During this time, Syracuse went on a 13-4 run, with Chris Bell leading the charge with 14 points, cutting the lead to 63-60, midway through the second half.
Hammond hit a 3-pointer with 2:37 left in the contest that gave the Fighting Irish a two-point lead, but Mintz answered with a jumper 24 seconds later and made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Orangemen a 72-71 lead with 1:46 left. The Irish followed with a shot-clock violation — its second consecutive turnover — and then missed four straight field-goal attempts before Laszewski made a layup with 7 seconds left to make it 76-73. Syracuse was able to hold on to the win.
Notre Dame will host two games inside Purcell this coming week starting with a special “Irish Wear Green” game against Florida State on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m – and yes the Irish will be donning green jerseys. There will also be a special green shirt giveaway for students as well. Notre Dame then caps off the week with Boston College on Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.
Syracuse heads to the sunshine state for a Monday-night matchup against Miami. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will air live on the ACC Network.