SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It required a comeback in the second half, but the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (12-6, 5-2) survived a three-point barrage from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-9, 1-6) to win 78-73 inside the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday night. Notre Dame made 15 triples on the night to Syracuse’s eight, but the Orange was able to edge the Irish with a 36-20 points in the paint advantage.
Chris Bell led the Orange in scoring with 17 points in 5-8 three point shooting. Jesse Edwards finished with his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds while Maliq Brown and Judah Mintz scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Syracuse got off the an auspicious start on offense as Benny Williams, Chris Bell and Joe Girard all connected on three-point attempts early. The defense struggled, however, as Notre Dame came in intent to shoot the ball from the perimeter against the 2-3 zone and didn’t face much resistance.
Irish guard Dane Goodwin found himself open and knocked down a pair of triples to make it 16-13, forcing Jim Boeheim to burn a timeout. On the other side, Maliq Brown made a substitution for Williams and immediately got involved with an offensive rebound and putback dunk. He forced a steal and scored inside off an Edwards feed to get Syracuse back to within two at 23-21.
From there, a Girard layup and Judah Mintz three point play knotted the score at 26 after another Notre Dame three at the under eight minute media timeout. Later, a Girard pocket pass to Edwards gave Syracuse the lead 30-29. Trey Wertz made a three from the right wing, but Bell responded with a triple of his own to make it 34-33.
Notre Dame had little issue dissecting the Syracuse zone for open looks. The Irish worked the ball around the perimeter as a Nate Laszewki corner triple had Syracuse down 37-33 with 2:12 left in the first half.
Bell and Wertz continued their dance, trading threes on each end. After a pair of empty possessions from each side Notre Dame took a 40-36 lead into the half. The Irish were 9-18 from three in the first half while Syracuse was 5-13. The Orange had a points in the paint advantage of 16-6.
Out of the break, Edwards found Williams inside for his fourth assist of the game after he was doubled along the baseline. Williams scored, but was quickly replaced by Brown at the next dead ball.
Shortly after, a JJ Starling dunk on Bell had his bench excited, which ignited an Irish run.
WHEW OKAY JJ STARLING pic.twitter.com/rffkmNcRBd— The Amateur NBA Analyst (@droppingdimes20) January 15, 2023
Notre Dame continued its torrid three point shooting throughout the half, opening up a lead as large as 12. During that time Girard took a blow to his eye which caused him to miss much of the second half, moving Taylor to the two-guard and subsequently the top of the 2-3 zone.
Trailing by double-digits, Syracuse went to its press at the under 12-minute mark. While the full-court press didn’t create turnovers, it did cause Notre Dame to change their pace of play, turning momentum back in favor of the Orange. The Syracuse freshman fueled a run from there.
Taylor got things started with a baseline jumper after an out of bounds under. On the next play he found Brown down low who finished inside and was fouled. He completed the three point play.
Notre Dame’s Marcus Hammond got out in transition for a layup to make it 61-52, but Bell responded with a triple that got Syracuse back to within six. Then Taylor ripped a three, swinging the game to within one possession at 63-60 with 8:40 left. The dome was as loud as it had been on the night.
Notre Dame was able to work the lead back to two possessions before Girard checked back in with five minutes to go. After a pair of dunks from Brown, Bell got the lead back for Syracuse at 69-68 with a three from the wing with just over three minutes left. Hammond responded with a three for Notre Dame to give it right back but Mintz came back with a pull up jumper to tie the game at 71.
The Orange created separation down the stretch from the free throw line as three of four shooting from Mintz as well as a pair from Edwards gave the Orange a 76-71 lead with 20 seconds left. Laszewski scored with 1.8 seconds left mostly for naught and Syracuse picked up its fifth win in league play.
Syracuse heads down to No. 16 Miami to take on the Hurricanes this Monday. That game tips at 7 p.m. and airs on the ACCN.