Another day, another lethargic effort by Syracuse. The game was never in doubt, as Syracuse’s only lead was on the first bucket of the game. Notre Dame wins 84-66, which is the biggest margin of victory by the Irish over SU since ’98.
SU was still in the game after halftime, but a horrendous first 5 minutes of the second half sunk the Orange. Missed dunks, blown defensive assignments, broken alley-oops were all part of a sloppy sequence where Notre Dame extended the lead to 15. The final 15 minutes were merely window-dressing as the Irish barely broke a sweat to hold onto a win.
The math is obviously bad for SU as we’ve dissected this week. This was one of the quality wins SU needed to help turn the narrative of its season and give a boost to its tourney resume. But it just painfully clear SU is not capable of winning these types of games.
The zone defense was ineffective, as VJ Beachem finished with 30. There was no ball movement for SU, just impatient shots from the outside. And once SU gets down against a quality opponent, you just see they often lack the leadership and willingness to fight back.
We’ve seen this too many times this season, and the hopeful flame of making the tournament is flickering and about to be blown out unless things dramatically turn around in February.