After an emotional win over Duke on Saturday, you couldn’t really blame No. 1 Syracuse if they came out a bit flat during its Monday ACC clash with Notre Dame at the Carrier Dome.
Despite C.J. Fair (six points) playing his worst game of the season — and the Orange’s offense struggling to find consistency — Syracuse (22-0, 9-0) held off the Irish (12-11, 3-7) and remained undefeated with a 61-55 win thanks to a career night from sophomore guard Trevor Cooney.
Cooney tied a Syracuse record with nine three-pointers on his way to 33 points and the Orange’s defense held tight and got stops when they needed it as that was good enough for a hard-fought ACC win.
Syracuse’s offense looked inconsistent for much of the game, but the Orange’s defense held Notre Dame to 18 first-half points and the Irish could never get over the hump despite trailing by single digits for most of the second half. Notre Dame cut the Syracuse deficit to three points with under six minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Irish would get.
Although Cooney shot a ridiculous 9-for-12 from beyond the arc, Fair (2-for-13 shooting) and the rest of the Syracuse offense struggled to shoot for much of the game. Tyler Ennis (six points) also failed to get going as a scorer, but dished out eight assists as Syracuse had 16 assists on 21 field goals.
Cooney’s nine three-pointers in a game ties him with Gerry McNamara, Andy Rautins and James Southerland for the Syracuse record. Not a bad effort for Cooney after struggling to find his shot for much of ACC play.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.