The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team picked up its first ACC win of the season, beating the Syracuse Orange 88 to 87 in a wild, thrilling, down-to-the-wire game at the Carrier Dome today.
The Irish are now 1-2 in conference play after a game that saw both teams trading scoring runs and scoring droughts, including a stretch in the second half that featured an 11-0 run by the Irish followed immediately by an 8-0 run by Syracuse.
Down the stretch, the Irish withstood a dangerous Syracuse run, got some stops, and hit some huge shots to ultimately win by one. This, of course, didn’t come without possible potential controversy, as Syracuse guard Joe Girard made a three with 0.4 seconds left to cut the deficit to 1, and anyone wearing Orange inside the Carrier Dome thought he got fouled while making it. The refs swallowed their whistles, however, and the Irish held on to win.
Per usual, John Mooney led the way for the Irish with 28 points and 14 rebounds — 6 of which were on the offensive end.
Other key contributors for the Irish included Juwan Durham, whose 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots before he fouled out with 2 minutes to play were absolutely CRITICAL for the Irish, and the much-maligned guard duo of T.J. Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb, who scored 21 and 22 points, respectively, and combined to go 12-for-19 from long range. Gibbs was 6-of-8, Hubb was 6-of-11 and hit a couple MONSTROUS threes in the final minutes. Hubb also dished out 9 assists.
Hubb partially set off the Syracuse run late in the game driven by Girard, as Hubb picked up a technical foul for standing over Girard, who was on the floor, and taunting him after an Irish bucket. The technical led to a 4-point swing in favor of the Orange, but ultimately the Irish were able to fight back and retake a strong enough lead to win the game.
The Irish shot 46% overall and even better from the outside, making 15-of-31 shots from deep (48%). They made 73% of their free throws, but were very strong in burying the ones that counted down the stretch.
For Syracuse, the key performers were Elijah Hughes (19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Joe Girard (20 points, 4 rebounds), and Buddy Boeheim (23 points, 5 assists). Marek Dolezaj added 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Orange shot 49% from the field, 48% from deep, and 77% from the line, but were out-rebounded by the Irish 40-36.
The Irish improve to 10-4 on the season and will play again on Wednesday night in Raleigh against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at 7:00 PM ET.