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.
Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.