Syracuse Finally Loses
After starting the season 20-0 and enjoying the #1 ranking for six straight weeks, Syracuse has finally lost. Notre Dame was able to control the game tempo and hit a number of big three-pointers to win at home, 67-58.
Give credit to Notre Dame coach Mike Brey who was able to get his team to do what so many of Syracuse’s prior victims would not–control the tempo. So far this season, Syracuse has been dynamic in using its defense to convert turnovers and then scoring in transition. Notre Dame played a much more deliberate game–forcing Syracuse to defend for 25 seconds and then taking a good shot. The strategy worked perfectly.
Syracuse was also hampered by playing without starting center, sophomore Fab Melo. Melo is not on the current road trip, which includes the games against Notre Dame and Cincinnati. With Melo, Syracuse was not a very good rebounding team. Without him, they were terrible as Notre Dame had a 37-24 edge.
The player of the game was Junior Jack Cooley, who used the voice in the middle to his advantage with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Six of those rebounds were offensive rebounds. Notre Dame also hit 8 of their 16 three-pointers. With the win, Notre Dame improves to 12-8, including a 4-3 conference record.
In contrast, Syracuse hit 30% of their three-pointers, en route to a 34% shooting night. Despite it all, Syracuse kept the game within striking distance. James Southerland led Syracuse with 15 points. With the loss, Syracuse drops to 20-1 and will fall out of first place in Monday’s polls. They play Cincinnati that night, so there will be little time to regroup.