Syracuse, N.Y. — In the first game of the new year, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team fell to Notre Dame in final moments as John Mooney’s 28 points and 14 rebounds edged the Orange.
Buddy Boeheim got things started in the scoring column for Syracuse with a deep ball, and Joe Girard followed that up with a three of his own to give the Orange an early 6-5 lead.
TJ Gibbs came out red hot for Notre Dame by making his first three 3s (including a four-point play) for 10 points in the first few minutes. The third triple from Gibbs lead to an early timeout from Jim Boeheim.
Syracuse trailed by as many as nine in the first half before an Elijah Hughes fueled run.
The most important stretch for Syracuse occurred when Hughes scored 10 straight points to get Syracuse and the Carrier Dome crowd back in it. First, Hughes hit a three from the wing that brought the crowd to a loud roar.
Gibbs answered on the other end for Notre Dame, but Hughes came right back down and hit another deep ball after a pump fake and one-dribble pull up. Then, on the ensuing Syracuse possession, he knocked in a floater off the glass that found the bottom of the net to tie the game at 28. Hughes capped the run with a finish around the rim off of an assist from Howard Washington that gave SU the first lead of the game since 6-5 in the early going.
Behind 12 points from Hughes and three Buddy Boeheim 3s, Syracuse took a 40-37 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, John Mooney got going for Notre Dame to reclaim the lead. The Irish continued its hot shooting from outside, and Mooney provided challenges down low.
For Syracuse, Buddy Boeheim had a stretch where he went 2-3 from deep, the second giving Syracuse a 54-53 lead. A transition layup by Hughes gave the Orange a 56-53 lead before a Prentiss Hubb three tied the game back up.
The second half was close throughout with both teams trading buckets and leads.
In a tight contest down the stretch, things got heated between Syracuse and Notre Dame. After a defensive possession, Notre Dame’s Prentiss Hubb stepped over Girard. Hubb and Girard got into it and Notre Dame was issued a technical foul.
That awoke the competitor in Girard.
The freshman out of Glens Falls made both technical free throws. He then made a two-point jumper. He made a three after that. Then he made another which gave Syracuse a 76-72 lead.
A Quincy Guerrier tip slam gave Syracuse an 84-81 lead, but Notre Dame fought back. Hubb made a three on the next play. Mooney then followed his own miss for a put-back that gave Notre Dame an 86-84 lead. Hughes missed a layup in the final 30 seconds and Syracuse fouled Hubb, who made both free throws.
Down 4 with seconds left, Girard made a three that Syracuse fans wanted a foul called on, but the clock reached zero and Notre Dame earned the win.
Boeheim led Syracuse in scoring with 23 points on 7-12 shooting from beyond the arc. Hughes had 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Girard had 20 points, Guerrier had 10 and
Marek Dolezaj had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Mooney finished with a double-double for Notre Dame, tallying 28 points and 14 rebounds. Hubb finished with 23 points while Gibbs had 22.
Syracuse returns home on Tuesday to take on Virginia Tech. That game tips at 9 p.m. ET and will air on the ACCN.