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Syracuse 65 - Notre Dame 60: Five Big Takeaways

The Orange won last night. Let's talk about it.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange traveled to South Bend and came away with a 65-60 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Tuesday. Here are five big takeaways:

1. For a second consecutive game, B.J. Johnson contributes in a big way.

One game after scoring 11 points in a loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday, B.J. Johnson scored a game-high 19 points Tuesday. His 19 points not only tied a season-high, but also marked just the fourth time he's scored in double figures this season. Johnson scored five of his points in the game's final 43 seconds, which included completing a three-point play after being fouled on a dunk with 31 seconds left -- a sequence that all but sealed Syracuse's fate. The forward has struggled this season, but a stretch of good games to end the season could make a world of difference for his confidence entering next season.

2. Cooney comes through in the clutch.

Despite a stiff back, Trevor Cooney scored nine points in the game's final 5:31 to help hold off the Irish. It's been an up-and-down year for the guard, who came into Tuesday in a serious shooting slump. But last night's performance -- he had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal -- helps make up for some of that. It wasn't quite 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting, but SU will surely take it.

3. The Orange finish without Rak.

Rakeem Christmas fouled out at the 5:18 mark last night, with Syracuse leading 49-41. For a team that isn't deep to begin with, it almost felt like a death sentence, even despite the 8-point advantage. But thanks to Cooney's timely buckets and some crucial free throw shooting, the Orange managed to hold on. On the road against the No. 8 team in the nation, that's impressive, and perhaps a sign of growth.

4. Notre Dame an elite scoring team? Not last night.

Notre Dame entered Tuesday averaging 79.8 points per game, good for 10th-best in the country and second in the ACC. But the Orange held the Irish to just 60 points and 34.7 percent shooting. Part of that was simply a result of Notre Dame missing shots, but Syracuse's 2-3 zone also had something to do with the Irish's struggles. Especially noteworthy: Jerian Grant was limited to only 13 points on 2-of-9 shooting.

5. Syracuse's best win of the season?

Last Wednesday's victory over Louisville was nothing to sneeze at, but last night's win was almost undoubtedly Syracuse's best of the 2014-15 season. Beating a top-10 team on the road under any circumstances, let alone for a team coming off of a home loss to Pittsburgh and already facing a self-imposed ban. It would've been easy for the Orange to mail it on Tuesday, but they didn't. SU's season will come to an end on March 7, and that's still a tough pill to swallow. But Jim Boeheim's group has fought hard in every single game this season, including those that have come after the ban was announced. At the very least, that's something to be proud of.