Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Irish Go Cold In Second Half, Fall 72-62 To Orange

January 5, 2019

Notre Dame (10-5, 0-2)) was unable to overcome Syracuse’s (10-4, 1-0) second half offensive surge and was defeated by the Orange 72-62, Saturday afternoon at the Purcell Pavilion.

The Orange started the second half on fire on both sides of the court. They kept the scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of the second half and went on a 9-0 run during that duration. Frank Howard gave the Orange a 39-38 lead and they never looked back. The run gave Syracuse an eight-point lead, 46-38.

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t find the same offensive rhythm in the second half that we had in the first half,” stated Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. “We had our chances as we came back.  We missed some free throws, but I thought the difference was a little bit like Tuesday. Veteran players and men on the other team made men plays. We were a little young in some spots trying to figure it out. 

“The league very unforgiving as I told the team.” 

TJ Gibbs finally got the Irish going offensively, four and a half minutes into the second half when he hit a long three-pointer to pull Notre Dame within five. The Irish pulled within two moments later, but Oshae Brissett pulled it back to four with a jumper with 14:04 left in the second half. 

The game went back and forth, with effort plays by John Mooney to get tough buckets and long three-pointers by Gibbs the Irish kept it close. It just wasn’t enough, because the Orange would always answer.  Down only two with just under six minutes left in the game, Notre Dame had just pulled into two points once again after DJ Harvey hit both of his free-throw attempts, 60-58. 

Unfortunately, it was the start of a big run by the Orange. Elijah Hughes caught the ball near the top of the arch and rose up for a successful three-pointer to extend the Syracuse lead back to five. This sparked a 9-1 run that gave the Orange an 11 point lead, 70-59 and ultimately iced the game. 

“There’s some good stuff,” Brey said of the Irish cutting the lead to two points. “We’ve played two pretty good teams. These guys won at Ohio State and we know how good Virginia Tech is. There’s some positives there. We can be a little better defensively and a little tougher defensively at key times.

“That’s something we can address as we go through this week before we play again.”

Notre Dame couldn’t hit their stride offensively in the second half, but Mooney was huge for the Irish especially in the second half. Mooney finished with yet another double-double, 14 points, and 14 rebounds. Nine of his 14 points and 10 of his 14 rebounds came in the second half.

“I’m pleased with him and he’s been such a battler for us,”  Brey said of Mooney. “I told the team someone else can get a defensive rebound. We have to join the club. 

“He’s very confident and really setting the tone for us. He’s playing well. It’s too bad we couldn’t get a win for a performance like that. He’ll be the same every day.” 

During the second half, the Irish shot just 24% from the field, including 4-for-16 from three-point range.

For the game, Notre Dame shot 35% from the field. They hit eleven three-pointers, but only four came in the second half. Gibbs was the leading scorer for the Irish with 18 points. 

Syracuse shot 41 percent from the field and hit 12 of their 29 three-point attempts. They were led by Hughes who led all scorers with 22 points. He hit six from downtown. The Orange also got big games from Brissett and Tyus Battle who added 19 and 17 points respectively. 

“We were great with the ball,”  Brey said. “We had 16 assists and only 11 turnovers. We were passing and moving. We threw over the top of the zone to Juwan (Durham). We had different guys shoot it with confidence. 

“Most of that was in the first half. The second half when there was a little game pressure, changes a little. When you turn it over once or twice, you get tighter. 

“I thought veteran guys made some plays for them and we couldn’t withstand that over 40 minutes.” 

After a Battle turnover with 17 seconds left in the first half, Notre Dame took advantage and got an open three-pointer from Nate Laszewski from the corner to take a 38-37 lead into the locker room. 

Notre Dame started the game strong, on the shoulders of good three-point shooting by Gibbs and Harvey. After Brissett scored a bucket for the Orange to make it 10-8 early in the first half, Gibbs and Harvey hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Irish a 16-8 lead. Moments later Mooney crashed the offensive boards and dunked a missed three-pointer by Gibbs to finish an 8-0 run to extend their lead to double-digits, 18-8. 

However, the Orange fought back and started to hit some shots of their own, with a 7-0 run sparked by two buckets by Jalen Carey eight minutes into the game. Notre Dame and Syracuse continued to trade buckets for a few minutes until the Orange took their first lead since the first minute of the game with a layup by Battle in transition. They led the Irish 31-29 with 3:38 left in the first half. 

Notre Dame shot 45 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range in the first half. Gibbs led the Irish with 12 points and four assists. Harvey also added nine points.

Syracuse shot 44 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range in the first half. They were led by Brissett and Hughes who each scored 11 points to lead the Orange offensively.

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score
Irish Sports Daily
Final Notre Dame Stats


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