Syracuse, New York – It required a comeback in the second half, but the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (12-6, 5-2) survived a three-point lead from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-9, 1-6) to win 78-73 inside the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday night. . Notre Dame hit 15 triples on the night to Syracuse’s eight, but the Orange managed to edge out the Irish by a 36-20 point advantage in the paint.
Chris Bell led the Orange in scoring with 17 points on 5-8 three-point shooting. Jesse Edwards finished with his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds while Malik Brown and Judah Mintz scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Syracuse got off to an auspicious start on offense as Benny Williams, Chris Bell and Joe Gerrard all connected on three-point attempts early on. The defense struggled, as Notre Dame came bent on a perimeter shot against the 2-3 zone and didn’t encounter much resistance.
Ireland’s Dane Goodwin found himself open and smashed a pair of threes to make it 16-13, forcing Jim Boeheim to burn a timeout. On the other side, Malik Brown made a substitution for Williams and he was immediately involved in an offensive rebound and fell behind. He forced a steal and scored on an inside feed by Edwards to bring Syracuse back to within two at 23-21.
From there, Gerrard threw the ball and Judah Mintz scored a three-pointer on the 26 after three more Notre Dame points in less than eight minutes on the media. Later, a Jeb Gerrard touchdown pass to Edwards gave Syracuse a 30-29 lead. Tre Wirtz made three catches from the right wing, but Bell responded with a triple to make it 34-33.
Notre Dame had little trouble slicing Syracuse for an open look. The Irish worked the ball around the perimeter as Nate Lazowicki hit a 3-pointer to put Syracuse down 37-33 with 2:12 left in the first half.
Bill and Watertz continued their dance, exchanging threesomes at each end. After a pair of empty possessions by each side, Notre Dame led 40-36 at the half. The Irish were 9-18 from three in the first half while Syracuse was 5-13. The Orange scored a point in a 16-6 paint advantage.
From the break, Edwards found Williams on the inside for his fourth assist of the game after being doubled down along the baseline. Williams scored, but was soon replaced by Brown on the next dead ball.
Soon after, an excited JJ Starling dunk on Bell raised his seat, sparking an Irish run.
Notre Dame continued their solid three-point shooting through the half, opening up a lead as large as 12. During that time, Gerrard took a hit to his eye that caused him to miss much of the second half, resulting in Taylor going down to guards. After that the top of zone 2-3.
Trailing by double digits, Syracuse went to its press in less than 12 minutes. While the full press didn’t create turnovers, it did cause Notre Dame to change the pace of play, turning the momentum back in the Orange’s favor. The freshman at Syracuse provided him with an escape from there.
Taylor kicked things off with a staple after it went out of bounds. On the next play, Brown found a low which ended up inside and was fouled. Complete the three-point play.
Notre Dame’s Marcus Hammond knocked out a transition to make it 61-52, but Bell responded with a triple that put Syracuse back into sixth. Then Taylor ripped three, tipping the game to one possession at 63-60 with 8:40 left. The dome was as high as it was at night.
Notre Dame was able to return the lead to two possessions before Gerrard hit it again with five minutes left in the game. After a pair of dunks from the Browns, Bell restored the lead for Syracuse at 69-68 with a three from the wing with just over three minutes left. Hammond answered with a triple for Notre Dame to bring it back to right back but Mintz came back with a neck pull to tie the game at 71.
The Orange created a breakaway down the stretch from the free throw line as three of four shooting from Mintz plus a pair from Edwards gave the Orange a 76-71 lead with 20 seconds left. Laszewski scored with 1.8 seconds left in mostly nothing, and Syracuse earned its fifth major league win.
Syracuse heads to No. 16 Miami for the Hurricanes on Monday. Hints for this game are at 7 p.m. and broadcast on ACCN.