Syracuse sophomore guard Howard Washington did not participate in warmups, per Matt Park. Despite being told by a team spokesman that he was available, Washington did not play in the game.
Just after tip-off, TJ Gibbs picked up where he left off for Notre Dame by hitting two straight 3s to start the game. Elijah Hughes answered with 8 quick points for Syracuse on a pair of 3s and a mid-range jumper. Still, Notre Dame took a 14-12 lead at the first media timeout behind 7 points from John Mooney.
The Irish held onto that lead for much of the first half, as Mooney got it going inside. Bourama Sidibe picked up a pair of early fouls and was forced to take a seat in favor of Quincy Guerrier. He came back into the game when Marek Dolezaj picked up his second foul and was able to score on a few buckets inside.
Guerrier found a bit of rhythm mid-way through the first and Joe Girard caught fire through a stretch. The Orange utilized a 27-12 run (H/T: Mike Couzens) to take the lead and create some separation against the Irish.
Still, that run wasn’t without some struggle as Buddy Boeheim picked up three first half fouls. His third with just over three minutes remaining in the first half required Jim Boeheim to insert his seldom-used freshman guard Brycen Goodine.
Goodine answered the bell as he went on to secure two offensive rebounds, the second resulting in a Bourama Sidibe basket inside. The freshman guard delivered on a deep ball too, which was eventually ruled a two.
Hughes would connect on a triple just before the half, giving Syracuse a 46-42 lead at the break.
Out of the half, Buddy wasted no time in getting back to scoring column. He scored and the 2-3 zone forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, resulting in a corner three from Hughes in transition. Hughes ripped off seven straight on the aforementioned three and two mid-range jumpers to bolster the Syracuse lead.
Sidibe continued his solid play by scoring inside. A transition flush by Sidibe — eliciting an animated reaction from the Syracuse bench — tied the junior big man’s season-high 12 points; The Sidibe jam gave Syracuse a 64-51 lead.
Notre Dame clawed back though, as Dane Goodwin connected on a deep ball with 10:45 remaining to make it 66-60. An eventual Prentiss Hubb bomb with the shot-clock nearing zero found the bottom of the net with 8:23 remaining inspired an Irish run, as Mooney connected on floater. He assisted on a backdoor pass to Goodwin to give Notre Dame a 69-68 edge, the first Irish lead of the second half.
Syracuse was able to reclaim the lead on a pair of Buddy buckets though. After a Syracuse defensive stop, Notre Dame inexplicably left Guerrier wide open for a two-handed slam at the rim that gave the Orange a 74-70 lead.
Still, Notre Dame made 3s down the stretch, and even cut the Syracuse lead to four with 23 seconds left on a Rex Pflueger triple. Syracuse turned it over on the inbounds, and Mooney scored quickly off of a miss to make it a two-point game.
Syracuse inbounded quickly and Girard was fouled almost immediately. He fittingly went to the line and made a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game with nine seconds left.
Notre Dame scored late, but Syracuse inbounded the ball and time ran out and Girard put the ball in Gibbs’ hands and Syracuse left South Bend with the win.
Hughes led the way in scoring for Syracuse with 26 points on 4-9 shooting from deep. He added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Girard had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Sidibe finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds while Dolezaj had 9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Syracuse returns home to square off against Pittsburgh on Saturday. That game tips at noon and will air on the ACCN.