Syracuse breaks offensive funk, pulls away from Notre Dame

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That definitely wasn’t pretty, Syracuse. At least not early.

However, the no. 9 Orange shook off a bad start first — both teams started the game poorly on the offensive end — and got a double-double from C. J. Fair to pull out a 63-47 victory over the no. 25 Fighting Irish at the Carrier Dome.

The win also snaps a two-game losing skid for Syracuse.

Syracuse’s scoring struggles weren’t so much a problem getting the ball in the basket, but just with any consistency. The Orange got out to a 10-0 lead in the first five-and-a-half minutes. Notre Dame, however, couldn’t get anything to drop, taking and missing only five shots in that same span before Eric Atkins hit a three at the 14:10 mark to break the drought.

The Irish responded with an 11-o run of their own to take the lead over just the next two-and-a-half minutes.

So yea, it was a game of struggle, then run, then struggle. The score was 18-17 Syracuse with 5:40 left in the half before both teams woke up and ended the half with Syracuse up 30-24.

The Orange steadily pulled away in the second half, with the final 16-point margin being the largest lead of the game with either team.

Fair finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Michael Carter-Williams, who got back being the best distributor in the country, finished with eight assists and only one turnovers. Jack Cooley finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame.

Syracuse finished shooting 48.9-percent from the field, so the offensive struggle didn’t last long. Notre Dame hit 34.6-percent of their shots.

As Louisville can attest with their slump-buster over Pittsburgh last week, any win, however ugly, counts. The Orange got it. As for Notre Dame, it’s been a bit of a rough stretch since the win over a ranked Cincinnati team on Jan. 7. Losses to Connecticut, St. John’s, Georgetown and now Syracuse aren’t helping the Irish’s at-large hopes.

David Harten is the founder of The Backboard Chronicles. Follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Tennessee G Hubbs undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

Robert Hubbs III, Anton Beard
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Robert Hubbs won’t practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

The school said in a news release that Hubbs had it done “to address chronic swelling issues that have been present since the preseason.”

No timetable has been set for when Hubbs could return to action, but he is considered doubtful for Tennessee’s next game on Dec. 12 at Butler. Tennessee (4-3) is in the midst of a 13-day break from games, which marks the program’s longest layoff during a season since December 1967.

Hubbs is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored at least 13 points in each of Tennessee’s seven games.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.