Fast reaction: 3 quick observations from Syracuse’s 5-point upset over Fighting Irish

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm Syracuse upset No. 9 Notre Dame, 65-60, in South Bend, Indiana on Tuesday night. Here are three quick thoughts from the game. 1. The trouble with Rak that wasn’t, then wasRakeem Christmas sat the last 6:53 of the first half after picking up his third foul, but Syracuse was outscored just 9-7 for the rest of the frame and went into the break up 27-22.Chinonso Obokoh played a quiet enough six minutes, contributing nothing but a personal foul in his spell.When Christmas picked up his fourth foul with 13:47 left in the game, Jim Boeheim kept his star forward in the game. It left him to duel with Zach Auguste with no margin for error. He drew a foul on Auguste with 11:45 left in the game and stuffed Jerian Grant with 7:57 remaining, leading to a B.J. Johnson putback at the other end and a 46-37 SU lead.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter eight and a half minutes of foul-free play, though, Christmas fouled out, contesting a Bonzie Colson shot in the middle of the lane. It ended his night with 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.Notre Dame targeted Obokoh afterward, but had to take 3s too soon to fully take advantage.2. The bench squadAt halftime, Johnson and Ron Patterson had combined for 13 of Syracuse’s 27 points.This from a duo that was averaging a combined 6.4 points per game before Tuesday night.Johnson helped seal the game with a pair of made free throws that gave SU a five-point lead with 43 seconds remaining.Thirteen seconds later, Johnson was breaking downcourt, two-on-one, gliding past Pat Connaughton for an and-one dunk. He again finished at the free-throw line, restoring the Orange lead to five points.Patterson finished with six points on 3-of-4 shooting, a steal, a rebound, an assist and a turnover. Johnson continued his warming form tying a career-high 19 points from 7-of-13 shooting, 2-of-6 from 3, a perfect 3-for-3 at the line, seven rebounds, a steal and two turnovers.3. Cooney on callTrevor Cooney was turning in a quiet, visibly hobbled performance until Christmas fouled out. Notre Dame started taking full advantage and the Syracuse lead began to slip away.Then Cooney caught fire, hitting a fadeaway 3 with the shot clock winding down with 4:16 left in the game to extend SU’s lead to 51-45. The shot was later reviewed and reduced to a two-point field goalHe scored the Orange’s next points two minutes later to give Syracuse a 54-49 lead with 2:09 to play, then drove to the hoop and gave SU a three-possession lead with 1:44 remaining. Commentslast_img read more