On Monday, the problems for Syracuse resided in the paint. North Carolina’s bigs were too long, and too physical for the Orange. On Saturday, Syracuse’s problem started in the perimeter on both the defensive and offensive end.
Syracuse’s zone struggled to contain Notre Dame’s efficient outside shooting as the Orange dropped another road game, 84-66, to the No.15 Irish.
The Orange fell to 11-9, 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tyler Lydon – who scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards – Tyus Battle (17 points) and Andrew White III (16 points) carried much of the offensive load. Dajuan Coleman, who played his most minutes since December, scored five points and had seven rebounds off the bench.
Notre Dame improved to 17-3 and 6-1 in the ACC. V.J. Beachem had a career day with 30 points. Matt Farrell had 15 points and nine assists.
After a slow start Jim Boeheim’s team found themselves down 12-4 early in the first half, forcing Boeheim to take an early timeout. Syracuse managed to bring the score within four, but Beachem responded with an 8-0 run that composed of a baseline dunk and two 3-pointers.
Notre Dame exposed the deficiencies within the Syracuse zone. Farrell drove into the nose of the defense and found and open teammate on the perimeter. They attacked the backend of the zone and they got open looks against a Syracuse team that didn’t close out strong enough.
Despite a poor defensive showing in the first half, that saw the second best 3-point shooting team in the ACC shoot 50% (7-for-14) from behind the arc in the first half, the Irish allowed Syracuse to hang around. Notre Dame led 41-32 at the break.
Lydon bought the score within 7 in the second half, but Notre Dame answered with an 11-3 run that included nine consecutive points.
Notre Dame wasn’t able to pull away until midway through second half. It seemed as if every time Notre Dame looked like it would build a big lead, Syracuse managed to compile a couple of defensive stops and made baskets.
The Orange went on a 6-0 run early in the second frame, however, that was the closest Syracuse would get for the remainder of the game. The Irish answered with seven straight to bring the lead back up to 63-45 with 10 minutes left.
Syracuse returns home to face Wake Forest on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m.