The Orange, Thursday afternoon at Madison Square Garden? It just wasn’t their day. Notre Dame took the game, 89 to 83, and advanced in the Big East tournament.
For SU, it was time to go home. The shots were reluctant to fall, three-pointers were a rarity; the foul shooting- and there was a lot of it- was truly foul.
The loss for Syracuse, the two-time defending tournament champion, ends the Orange’s run of consecutive Big East tournament victories at eight. That’s one shy of Connecticut’s record. Paul Harris scored a career high 24 points and grabbed a career high 15 rebounds for Syracuse, who also got 20 rebounds from Terrence Roberts.
The loss came as a distinct disappointment to the heavily pro-Syracuse Garden crowd, which hit its loudest volume of the week when the Orange scrambled to come back in the final minutes.
“I thought we just were not as active defensively in the second half,” Boeheim said. “We had to shoot the ball a little bit better today, and we didn’t.”
Both Syracuse and Notre Dame (24-6, 11-5) know their fates hinge on the 3-point shot. SU hit only five 3-pointers. Notre Dame hit 13. That’s a 24-point difference.
“We’ll trade some of our 3’s for your 2’s through the game because that’s been our philosophy,’ Notre Dame head Mike Brey said.
“They have been doing the same thing against us for the last eight years,” Boeheim said.
Game lost, yes. Hope lost, no. The NCAA tournament selections will be announced Sunday night. One final chance for this year’s Orange to put it all together.