A tough Big East contest went Syracuse’s way over the weekend while the opposite can be said for Notre Dame.
Both teams face a quick turnaround Monday night when the fifth-ranked Orange seek a fifth straight victory as they visit the Fighting Irish.
Syracuse (17-1, 4-1) survived a tense finish for a 72-71 win over No. 10 West Virginia on Saturday. The Orange led by 10 points with 1:18 left before they withstood a furious rally.
“I don’t care how much we win by,” freshman guard Brandon Triche said. “I don’t care if it’s one point - just get the win.”
Notre Dame (14-4, 3-2), meanwhile, failed to pull out a victory Saturday in a game that featured 11 lead changes and six ties in the second half. The Fighting Irish fell 60-58 at Cincinnati as they missed a chance at a third straight victory.
“I told our guys, in this league when you have a game on Monday, you can’t dwell on it,” coach Mike Brey said. “We have to get back to South Bend and get our legs under us.”
Syracuse improved to 6-0 away from home Saturday as Triche continued his surge with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has reached double figures in three straight games for the first time.
The point guard had five of the Orange’s 20 turnovers, but helped Syracuse take better care of the ball in the second half after it had 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
“One of the troubles I’ve been having is with pressure, turning the ball over a little bit,” Triche said. “I think I dealt with the pressure well at the end of the game.”
Syracuse - the best shooting team in the nation at 53.4 percent - shot 57.8 percent against the Mountaineers. The Orange also held a 35-29 rebounding edge.
“We were tougher today,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “We had toughness when we needed it.”
Their offense will be up against a Notre Dame defense that is among the worst in the Big East, allowing opponents to shoot 43.3 percent. The Irish, though, played terrific defense in limiting the Bearcats to 32.3 percent shooting.
Notre Dame’s problem was on the other end as Big East leading scorer Luke Harangody made 5 of 20 shots for a season-low 14 points. Harangody averaged 30.3 points in his previous three games.
“I missed some shots that I usually would not miss,” Harangody said.
Notre Dame junior forward Tyrone Nash fouled out in a season-low 13 minutes and failed to score for the first time in 2009-10. Nash averaged 11.7 points in his previous three games.
“Tough night for Nash,” Brey said. “We certainly need him when we play against this league. I have every confidence that he’ll bounce back.”
Syracuse ended a three-game skid against Notre Dame with a 93-74 win last season. The Irish, though, have enjoyed success against Boeheim’s 2-3 zone in recent meetings, shooting 45.0 percent on 3-pointers with an average of 12.6 over the last five meetings.
Notre Dame’s 94-87 win two seasons ago ended Syracuse’s five-game win streak in South Bend.