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Proactive Solution: Syracuse 84, Notre Dame 71

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Syracuse had to face a tough challenge tonight.  They really had to squeeze this one out.  Their shots popped at times and at other times their defense seemed pore-ous.  In front of a crowd full of whiteheads, blackheads and all other kinds, they avoided their second blemish on the year, defeating Notre Dame 84-71 to cap a perfect three-game road trip.

Wes Johnson totaled 22 points and eight rebounds, helping No. 5 Syracuse escape the Joyce Center with an 84-71 victory over Notre Dame in a Big East showdown.

Andy Rautins scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half and Arinze Onuaku chipped in 13 points and seven boards in Syracuse's fifth straight win.

"They are really good," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said of Syracuse. "There are so many weapons they come at you with...They played like men for 40 [minutes] and we probably played like men for 32, and that's not going to get it done."

The name of the game for the Orange and Andy Rautins?  Poise.  With ten minutes left in the game and Notre Dame turning it into a game, Rautins rallied the troops and set the tone.

So Rautins, SU’s unofficial team captain, gathered his teammates after officials sorted out just which Irish player would be awarded the free throws. He gathered his teammates and delivered a pointed message.

"Andy huddled us up and said, ‘Just keep our composure, keep our poise,’" SU forward Kris Joseph said. "We knew we had to just keep playing good basketball."

"I just said, ‘We gotta make a stand right now, before the crowd gets into it,’" Rautins explained.

Of course, that poise included some rather wild elbows from Sir Rautins.  He says it wasn't an intentional move, and I tend to believe him as that would be out of character.  Kudos to the Notre Dame crowd for their golf-clap-worthy "USA!" chant every time Andy touched the ball, but I don't think that did anything. 

And besides, any elbow that Andy threw was offset by Luke Harangody's Truffle Shuffle into Arinze Onuaku while he was dunking as well as some other nippy moves by both squads.  It was, simply, another tough Big East match-up.

The Irish brought the fightin' behind Luke Harangody, who scored 31, and Tim Abromaitas, who scored 21 and hit five 3-pointers.  It just wasn't enough to stop the Orange, who always found a way to extend their lead again.

More to discuss tomorrow.  Three-game Big East road trip, three more wins.  With Kansas State topping Texas tonight, the Orange are now in line to move up to No. 4 in the nation.  Things are pleasant. 

(And if that title and first paragraph doesn't make sense, clearly you didn't watch the game...or join us on Twitter tonight)