SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — B.J. Johnson scored 19 points, Rakeem Christmas added 14 despite being in foul trouble and Syracuse held ninth-ranked Notre Dame to 35 percent shooting in a 65-60 victory Tuesday night.
The Irish trailed by 10 in the first half and by seven with less than 2 minutes left, but managed to cut the lead to 59-57 when Jerian Grant sank a pair of free throws with 39 seconds remaining. The Orange put the game away with a fastbreak dunk by Johnson and a free throw when he was fouled.READ MORE: CBS 2 News Chicago Launches First Alert Weather
The Orange (18-10, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat the Irish for the sixth time in the last seven games. Notre Dame (24-5, 12-4) dropped to third place in the league standings.
Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 16 points and Grant and Pat Connaughton added 13 points each, although Jackson finished 2-of-8 from the field.
Michael Gbinije added 12 points for Syracuse. Trevor Cooney, who was hampered by a back injury against Pittsburgh on Saturday and went 0-of-5 from the floor and played just 32 minutes, scored nine of his 11 points in the second half and repeatedly hit big shots to answer several scoring spurts by the Irish.
The Irish, who entered the game second in the nation in field goal percentage (51 percent), were just 10-of-35 from the floor with 11 minutes left before finally hitting shots down the stretch. The Irish missed 19 of their 22 3-point attempts.
They came back from deficits of 10 points or more six times this season, beating Massachusetts, Georgia Tech twice, North Carolina State and Duke, but could never catch the Orange.
The Orange missed their last three shots of the first half and the first five of the second half as Notre Dame used a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 27-26 on a rebound basket by Zach Auguste. He had a chance to tie it when he was fouled, but missed the free throw. The Orange then quickly extended the lead to five points again on a steal and dunk by Michael Gbinije and a layup by Rakeem Christmas.
The Orange later extended the lead to 44-35 on a dunk by Ron Patterson, a layup by Christmas and then a pair of free throws by Christmas, who was playing with four fouls. Jerian Grant finally ended the Syracuse run when he hit his first field goal with a jumper inside with 8:47 left in the game to narrow the lead to 44-37.READ MORE: Chicago Radio Sportscaster Les Grobstein Dead At 69
Every time the Irish gained any momentum, the Orange had an answer. Auguste brought the crowd to its feet with a powerful dunk on a rebound of a missed 3 by Grant, but Cooney answered with a jumper. When Colson scored on a pair of free throws when Christmas fouled out with 5:18 remaining and followed that with a basket inside, Cooney hit a long jumper to make it 51-45.
After Auguste and Grant scored to cut the lead to 51-49, but Cooney hit a long 3 and then drove the lane to put the Orange ahead 56-49.
Syracuse: The last time the Orange entered a game ranked lower than the Irish was in 2008, when the 21st-ranked Irish beat unranked Syracuse 94-87 in South Bend. … Christmas became the 59th Syracuse player to score 1,000 points. He has 996 career points.
Notre Dame: Connaughton started for the 114th time, moving into fifth place in the all-time list. Chris Thomas holds the record at 128 starts. … The Irish fall to 16-2 at home this season. The other loss was 62-56 to No. 2 Virginia.
Syracuse: at No. 4 Duke on Saturday.
Notre Dame: at No. 17 Louisville on March 4.MORE NEWS: Family Of Amazon Delivery Driver Killed When Tornado Hit Downstate Warehouse To File Lawsuit
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