No answers for No. 25 Notre Dame at Syracuse

Staff reports
ND Insider

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said it pays to have a short memory in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

He'll pretty much want to forget his No. 25 Irish's performance Thursday night — an 81-66 defeat at the hands of the Syracuse Orange.

"In this league, you have to forget about a win at Duke. You have to forget a loss at the Carrier Dome," Brey said. "You get thumped, you get your butt kicked, it only counts as one league loss. If we could get through the first half of the season at 6-3 after 1 p.m. Sunday, I'd be absolutely thrilled."

The loss snapped the Irish's four-game win streak.

Notre Dame may have to face Wake Forest on Sunday without point guard and leading scorer Demetrius Jackson, who missed Thursday's game with an injured hamstring.

"We were a little rudderless at times without Demetrius, no question," Brey said. The Irish turned the ball over 11 times, two above its average. Nine of those came in the game's first 15 minutes.

"What hurt us in the first was that we turned the ball over nine times," he said. "That's just too deep a hole."

Trevor Cooney scored 22 points to lead four Syracuse players in double figures,

It was the fourth victory of the season over a ranked team for Syracuse (14-8, 4-5 ACC), which built a 44-27 halftime lead and was not threatened in the second half by the Irish (14-6, 5-3).

Michael Gbinije, Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson each scored 15 for Syracuse.

Notre Dame freshman guard Rex Pflueger made his first career start in place of Jackson, who is out with a pulled right hamstring with Steve Vasturia playing point guard.

V.J. Beachem led Notre Dame with 22 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, four in the second half, while Vasturia finished with 16 points. Pflueger finished with two points, six assists and zero turnovers.

The Irish, who average just nine turnovers a game, the best in the country, had nine in the game's first 15 minutes and finished with 11, four by Vasturia.

Notre Dame moved within 48-36 on a pair of free throws by Vasturia with 16:15 left, but Richardson followed with a four-point play, hitting a 3 from the left wing while being fouled by Beachem.

Dajuan Coleman followed with a block for the Orange and Gbinije finished at the other end with a foul line jumper to boost the lead back to 18.

"I'll know where we are at the end of the season," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who has guided the Orange to a 10-3 mark this season. During his NCAA-mandated suspension, Syracuse was 4-5 under interim coach Mike Hopkins.

Notre Dame scored the game's first five points before Syracuse responded with a 23-1 run, led by seven from Cooney, including two 3-pointers, and seven more by Tyler Roberson.

Notre Dame went nearly nine minutes between field goals. A hook by Bonzie Colson with 9:40 to go in the half ended the drought.

Vasturia rallied the Irish to within 12 at 31-19 on eight straight points, but the Orange pulled away for a 44-27 lead at the half. Vasturia hit a 3-point shot from just inside midcourt as time expired.

The Irish closed to within 12 points twice early in the second half before the Orange pulled away to their biggest lead at 63-40 on Coleman's slam with 11:06 to go.

"I think they're a confident team," Brey said of the Orange. "When you win at Wake and you win at Duke within three days, you have something to work with. They know they have a very important homestand, and they started off very focused and played really well."

NOTRE DAME (66): Beachem 8-13 1-1 22, Auguste 3-8 2-6 8, Colson 4-10 1-2 9, Pflueger 0-2 2-2 2, Vasturia 5-11 3-3 16, Torres 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan 2-9 1-2 7, Farrell 0-1 0-0 0, Burgett 0-0 0-0 0, Geben 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 10-16 66.

SYRACUSE (81): Roberson 4-8 1-1 9, Richardson 4-7 4-5 15, Coleman 2-2 1-1 5, Gbinije 6-15 2-2 15, Cooney 7-17 5-5 22, Howard 0-2 0-0 0, Sutton 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph 0-0 0-0 0, Lydon 5-10 2-2 15, Akintobi-Adeyeye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 15-16 81.

Halftime--Syracuse 44-27. 3-Point Goals--Notre Dame 10-24 (Beachem 5-8, Vasturia 3-5, Ryan 2-9, Pflueger 0-1, Farrell 0-1), Syracuse 10-25 (Richardson 3-4, Lydon 3-6, Cooney 3-8, Gbinije 1-5, Howard 0-2). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Notre Dame 32 (Auguste, Colson 10), Syracuse 36 (Lydon 10). Assists--Notre Dame 15 (Pflueger 6), Syracuse 13 (Gbinije 5). Total Fouls--Notre Dame 16, Syracuse 12. Technicals--Ryan, Richardson. A--22,861.

Notre Dame sophomore power forward Bonzie Colson, center, watches as the ball flies overhead after an attempt at a basket was thwarted by Syracuse's Tyler Lydon (20) during the first half of Thursday's game.AP Photo/HEATHER AINSWORTH