Out of all the games, Notre Dame has played this season, there has not been one as peculiar as Saturday’s clash with Syracuse on the road. The Irish were looking to claim their fifth straight win with a matchup against a quality Orange team who was 12-3 coming in. Both offenses have been red hot lately, but Saturday was a different tale. Cutting to chase, Notre Dame beat Syracuse by the score of 51-49.
You are probably wondering how we got there in such a low scoring game? Notre Dame struggled out of the gate down 28-19 at halftime, before completing a second-half comeback good enough to secure a victory. Clearly, neither team was on its “A Game” Saturday, but Notre Dame would be the one to finally break out in the scoring column in the second half. The Irish outscored Syracuse 32-21 in second half play. Backing up for a minute, the game was tied 49-49 with 49 seconds left. After turnovers from each side, Martinas Geben would steal the ball, TJ Gibbs missed a layup, Rex Pflueger grabbed the offensive board and tipped it in with 2 seconds left in regulation giving the Irish a 51-49 lead. Syracuse ran out of options and had to settle for just a two-point loss to Notre Dame at home. It was a wild finish with a crazy turn of events, but Notre Dame came out victorious which is all that matters.
TJ Gibbs led the Irish in scoring with 18 points along with 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Rex Pflueger added 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal while Martinas Geben had 4 points and 14 rebounds. The scoring was obviously a new season-low for the team and starting lineup due to just below average shooting from both sides.
Notre Dame shot the ball 17-56 (30.4%) from the field, 5-21 (23.8%) on three-point attempts, and 12-16 (75.0%) from the charity stripe. The Irish won the “Battle for Boards” by a crazy margin, hauling in 47 rebounds compared to Syracuse’s 27. Additionally, Notre Dame had 9 assists, 7 steals, and 1 block while committing 13 turnovers.
The game was not the prettiest one we have seen from Notre Dame in a while. Syracuse was not any better and was probably worse. The Irish had to gut it out from the start down to the closing seconds in a very rare game. The two teams combined for just 100 points, which you would not expect from teams averaging over seventy a game coming into the game. Like I said before, all that matters is Notre Dame got the win and improves to 3-0 in conference play.
Notre Dame will travel to Georgia Tech on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM Eastern. The game will be televised on ESPNU.