Top-ranked Syracuse edges past Notre Dame, stays unbeaten

By wbng sports

Top-ranked Syracuse edges past Notre Dame, stays unbeaten

February 3, 2014 Updated Feb 3, 2014 at 10:42 PM EST

Syracuse, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney tallied a career-best 33 points while matching the school record of nine three's to help #1/1 Syracuse to a 61-55 triumph against Notre Dame on Monday, Feb. 3.

In its first game as the number one team in the nation, the Orange (22-0, 9-0 ACC) stayed unbeaten and extended its school-record for wins to start a season with 22. SU has now defeated long-time rival Notre Dame (12-11, 3-7 ACC) in five of the last six meetings and has not lost at home against the Irish since 2007.

Cooney, who went 9-of-12 from long range, now shares the program record for three's in a game with three other players - most recently James Southerland who accomplished the feat at Arkansas last year. Andy Rautins reached the mark in 2008 as a junior and current assistant coach Gerry McNamara hit nine as a sophomore in a 2004 NCAA game against BYU. It's the eighth time this season that Cooney has made at least five trifectas in a game. He also finished with a game-best four steals.

Sophomore Jerami Grant added nine points and four rebounds and freshman Tyler Ennis recorded six points and eight assists.

The first seven minutes of the game featured lead changes on six straight possessions with Notre Dame pulling ahead 12-9 following four consecutive points by Garrick Sherman. Syracuse took the lead back for good four minutes later and extended the advantage to 22-12 following 13 unanswered points with 5:31 to go in the half. Cooney scored 11 in a row during the stretch on a trio of threes and a baseline jumper while the Orange defense held the Fighting Irish scoreless for just over six minutes.

SU maintained its lead for the remainder of the first, ending the half on a 9-2 run, capped by a buzzer-beating three by Cooney as the hosts went into the intermission up 31-18.

Cooney's sixth three of the game had the Orange at its largest margin of the night at 34-20 less than a minute into the second half. However, Notre Dame outscored the Orange 12-4 over the next five minutes to get within 38-32. Cooney put Syracuse back up by double-digits on his seventh trifecta of the night, but eight straight points by the visitors made it a one possession game at 43-40 with 8:46 left.

Notre Dame would get no closer as the Orange responded with 11 of the next 15 points to push the advantage back up to 54-44 with 4:29 remaining. During the spurt Cooney scored nine more including his record-tying ninth three. The Fighting Irish was able to cut the deficit to just five following a three by Pat Connaughton with only 44 seconds left to play but SU made a pair of stops on the defensive end and made three free throws in the final 10 seconds to put the game out of reach.

Syracuse converted 44.7-percent (21-47) of its field goal attempts compared to 40.8-percent (20-49) for the Fighting Irish. The Orange knocked down 62.5-percent (10-16) of its triple tries – the second highest of the season behind a 3-for-4 performance two days earlier against Duke. SU also forced 12 turnovers which led to 17 points.

Sherman posted 16 points and a game-high eight boards to lead the Irish. Steve Vasturia (13 points) and Connaughton (11) joined him in double-figures.

The Orange wraps up a three-game home stand on Sunday, Feb. 9 against Clemson at 6 p.m.

(Courtesy: Syracuse University Athletics)

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