SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Guard Trevor Cooney almost singlehandedly helped Syracuse prove itself worthy of its new perch atop the college basketball world. On the same day the Orange ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll, Cooney dropped in a career-high 33 points to carry Syracuse past Notre Dame 61-55 Monday in front of 25,850 fans in the Carrier Dome. Cooney sank nine 3-pointers, tying the school record set by held James Southerland, Andy Rautins and Gerry McNamara. He missed just three attempts from beyond the arc and finished 11-for-15 from floor overall. Syracuse needed every bit of Cooney's offense. No other Syracuse player reached double figure in points, and the team's leading scorer, forward C.J. Fair, was held to six on 2-of-13 shooting. The Orange (22-0, 9-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) topped the Fighting Irish (12-11, 3-7) in the first meeting as ACC foes between the former Big East rivals. Center Garrick Sherman paced Notre Dame with 16 points, and guard Steve Vasturia added 13. Forty-eight hours earlier, the Orange held off Duke 91-89 in an epic showdown in the Dome. Notre Dame tested Syracuse for signs of a letdown, but Cooney had the right answers. Notre Dame trailed by 10 points at halftime but crawled within 43-40 with 8:46 remaining in the second half. Orange forward Jerami Grant sank a jumper with 6:40 remaining, and Cooney hit a 3-pointer with 5:49 left to give the margin to 48-40. Fair stole the ball and dished to Cooney for layup. Cooney was fouled on the play and made the free throw for a 51-41 Orange advantage with 5:05 left. Vasturia countered with a 3-pointer to pull the Irish within 51-44, but Cooney sank another trey with 4:29 left to pump the difference back up to 10. The Irish didn't get closer than five points for the rest of the game. The Orange took a 31-18 lead into halftime, appropriately scoring the final points when Cooney swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Cooney, who scored 17 points in the first half 20 minutes, heated up to spark a 13-0 Orange run. He sank a 3-pointer to tie the score at 12, then hit another a little more than two minutes later for a 15-12 cushion. Cooney's marksmanship sent the Orange ahead 18-12 with 7:49 left before the break, and he mixed in a 2-pointer with 6:05 left for an eight-point margin. Orange Fair joined the fun with a jumper that extended the lead to 10. Syracuse made six of nine first-half 3-point attempts, with Cooney going 5-for-7 from long range. NOTES: Syracuse was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the 88th consecutive poll. ... The last time Notre Dame beat the Orange, Syracuse was ranked No. 1 in the country. That was a 67-58 decision on Jan. 21, 2012, at Notre Dame. ... Irish G Jerian Grant, brother of Syracuse F Jerami Grant, left school in late December because of an academic issue. Jerian Grant hopes to re-enroll in the spring. ... Notre Dame lost its first five road games of a season for the first time since beginning 0-8 on the road in 1993-94. The Irish's previous five-game road losing streak came during the 2009-10 season. ... G/F Pat Connaughton has never missed a game during his Fighting Irish career. He has played in all 92 games, including 76 starts, 73 of them in a row. .... Connaughton played all 45 minutes in Saturday's overtime win over Boston College. It marked the third time in four games that Connaughton played every minute.
- Sports & Recreation