Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team trailed by as many as 20 on Saturday, but a 23-2 second half run allowed SU to secure the victory over Notre Dame. Syracuse kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a quadrant two win. The Orange were led by Buddy Boeheim, who scored a career-high 29 points.
Jim Boeheim made no changes to his staring lineup for the fifteenth straight game, electing to go with Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj.
The Syracuse offense started off sluggish. The younger Boeheim started off 3-3 from the floor but his teammates were a cool 1-6. The Orange defense was worse, though, as Notre Dame found Juwan Durham inside for ten quick points (on four dunks). Notre Dame led 17-9 at the 13:41 mark as Syracuse called an early timeout to talk it over.
The Irish offense wouldn’t relent, however. They started inside with Durham and that opened up their offense from outside. The Notre Dame lead ballooned to double digits as the Irish led 25-13 at the under 12 minute media timeout on 11-15 shooting from the floor. Trey Wurtz, Prentiss Hubb and Cormack Ryan led the barrage from beyond the three point arc. They combined to shoot it 7-10 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Syracuse offense tried to answer with isolation ball, to some avail, but the 2-3 zone failed to get stops throughout the first half. Boeheim went to his press in the first as well, but the Irish had no trouble breaking the pressure initially. Dane Goodwin took it the other way and scored without resistance at one juncture.
Syracuse tried to counter with defense by supplanting Dolezaj and Guerrier with John Bol Ajak and Robert Braswell. The latter grabbed an offense rebound and connected on his first three point attempt, but the defense still left much to be desired. The Irish offense was the story in the first 20 minutes as Mike Brey’s squad dissected the zone for open looks time and again.
Notre Dame led 46-32 at the break on 18-33 shooting and 7-14 shooting from deep. Syracuse was 13-32 and 4-10 from distance.
Out of the intermission Notre Dame continued its offensive attack as Syracuse struggled to get stops. Syracuse continued isolation ball and couldn’t string together a run in the early going. Notre Dame led 58-41 and Boeheim substituted Richmond and Braswell.
After that the game turned completely around as Syracuse went on a 23-2 run fueled by the Buddy Boeheim experience. As part of the run, he made a three, then an old-fashioned three point play. Then Guerrier hit a three and Boeheim followed it up with another triple as the Orange took a 61-60 lead.
Syracuse went back to the press and forced Notre Dame into turnovers. When the Irish beat the pressure and set up in the half-court they couldn’t get shots to fall. Throughout the Syracuse run the Irish went over five minutes of game action without scoring.
Boeheim continued his hot streak down the stretch. He hit his sixth three of the night with the shot clock winding down. On the penultimate play of the game he drove and was fouled, making both. He finished his night with 29 points as Syracuse earned a quadrant two win and kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Syracuse heads down to Duke to take on the Blue Devils on Monday night. That game tips at 7 p.m. and airs on ESPN.