01/22 22:05 CST Syracuse edges Notre Dame 84-82 for yet another ACC road win
Syracuse edges Notre Dame 84-82 for yet another ACC road win
By ANTHONY ANDERSON
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) --- After Wednesday's 84-82 comeback victory at Notre
Dame, Syracuse has won all three of its rematch games against teams it lost to
earlier this season, and the last two of those paybacks have come on the road.
Forget about it actually having anything to do with revenge, though, according
to Orange coach Jim Boeheim.
"That doesn't win any games for you," the second-winningest coach in NCAA
Division I men's history said after his team's fourth straight victory overall.
"It doesn't work that way. You gotta go out and play. Everybody wants to win
and revenge never has anything to do with it. The team that plays the best is
the team that wins."
Elijah Hughes scored 26 points as Syracuse (12-7, 5-3) improved to 4-0 in
Atlantic Coast Conference road play.
John Mooney netted 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Fighting Irish.
His 12th consecutive double-double broke Luke Harangody's 11-year-old school
record, but Notre Dame (11-7, 2-5) remained winless in its three ACC home games.
"That's about as good as we're gonna be offensively right there," Fighting
Irish coach Mike Brey said. "We just couldn't get enough stops. Disappointed
for our guys, (but) we'll keep swinging."
The Orange scored eight straight points to turn a 70-70 deadlock at 4:54 to go
into a 78-70 lead with 43 seconds left.
The Irish closed to within 82-80 with 10 seconds remaining, but Syracuse
freshman Joseph Girard III hit two free throws with nine seconds left for an
84-80 count before T.J. Gibbs scored just in front of the final horn for Notre
Dame. Girard has made 50 of 52 free throws this season.
The Irish erased a deficit that had reached 64-51 with 13:47 to go, taking a
69-68 with six minutes left, before the Orange took control down the stretch.
Syracuse trailed by as many as 11 in the first half.
Girard scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Orange. Bourama
Sidibe added 12 points on 6 of 6 from the field.
Dane Goodwin scored 15 points off the bench for the Irish. Gibbs added 13.
The Orange's win came 19 days after losing 88-87 at home to Notre Dame. They've
also avenged losses to Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Much like the first meeting, Wednesday's rematch featured a blistering
back-and-forth pace much of the way. There were 16 lead changes this time after
18 in the first matchup.
Syracuse: The ACC has an unusually low three ranked teams --- No. 5 Florida
State, No. 6 Louisville and No. 8 Duke --- but that gives the surging Orange
plenty of opportunities to make hay with the NCAA Tournament selection
committee. Syracuse still plays all three ranked teams, with only the Blue
Devils at home.
Notre Dame: The Irish, far more in scramble mode now than Syracuse, have three
matchups left against top-10 clubs as well, including two against Florida State
to go with a trip to Duke. Notre Dame still has the chance to turn committee
MOODY OVER MOONEY
Boeheim expressed dismay that Mooney didn't make the Wooden Award preseason
top-25 watch list.
Mooney added a game-high six assists to his 21 points and 13 boards against the
Orange, and is leading the nation in rebounding at 13.9 per game.
"I don't get into too much on stuff (like this), but if John Mooney is not one
of the top 25 players in the country, then I don't know anything about college
basketball, literally nothing," Boeheim said.
"It's absolutely a joke that he's not one of the top 25 --- and I was just
gonna say that, but I'll mention Elijah Hughes is pretty good, too. ... What
he's doing has been remarkable for us, and what Mooney's done is absolutely
Hughes entered Wednesday averaging 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
WOWED BY WOOTTEN
Both coaches expressed deep admiration for Morgan Wootten, the iconic former
high school coach at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., who died Tuesday at
Brey was a student of, played for and was an assistant coach to Wootten, while
Boeheim recruited many of DeMatha's players over the years.
"I draw on those experiences every day," Brey said of Wootten. "He was a
positive guy. He was a great confidence giver of young people."
Added Brey with a reflective smile of Wednesday's loss, "I may get a text from
heaven tonight (saying) ?Mike, remember the one-on-one drills we did at DeMatha
where you keep your man in front?' I may get that tonight, and God bless it, I
Boeheim called Wootten "as good as any coach or better than any coach I've ever
seen. Forget about high school or college or whatever."
"He did everything the right way," Boeheim said. "If you didn't do what you
were supposed to do, you didn't play. He was the most disciplined coach that
I've ever seen in terms of having his players absolutely disciplined to do the
right thing every day."
Syracuse: The Orange host Pittsburgh on Saturday in the first of two
regular-season meetings with the Panthers.
Notre Dame: The Irish visit No. 5 Florida State on Saturday before following
with a season-high three-straight league home games.
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