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February 4, 2013
'Cuse extends home streak
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) C.J. Fair had 18 points and 10 rebounds, freshman Jerami Grant scored a season-high 14 points, and No. 9 Syracuse beat No. 25 Notre Dame 63-47 on Monday night to snap a two-game losing streak that had dropped the Orange three spots in the rankings.
Syracuse (19-3, 7-2 Big East) was coming off consecutive road losses against Villanova and Pittsburgh and has only three conference losses in its last 32 Big East games. The Orange have now won a school-record 36 straight games at home, the longest active streak in Division I. Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4) had won three straight.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Irish handed Syracuse its only conference loss last season, 67-58 at Purcell Pavilion last January. The Orange, unbeaten at the time and ranked No. 1, were missing shot-blocking, 7-foot center Fab Melo in that game because of an academic issue, and on Monday night senior James Southerland, the team's most consistent outside threat and third-leading scorer, missed his sixth straight game because of an eligibility matter related to academics. Southerland had 15 points in the loss to the Irish last year.
On this night, it didn't matter as the Syracuse defense clamped down. Notre Dame finished 6 of 20 on 3-pointers and shot 34.6 percent (18 of 52) for the game as the Orange outrebounded the Irish 32-28 and blocked seven shots. It matched the season low for points for the Irish, who were held to 47 in a home loss two weeks ago to Georgetown.
Rakeem Christmas had 12 points and four blocks and Michael Carter-Williams had five points, eight assists and three steals for Syracuse.
Jerian Grant, Jerami's brother, finished with 15 points and Jack Cooley had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season for the Irish. The game was the first in college between the Grant brothers.
The Irish fell behind 41-28 midway through the second half as the Orange put together a 13-4 spurt spanning halftime to assume control.
Syracuse stretched its 30-24 halftime lead back to 10 in the opening minutes of the second. Christmas hit a foul-line jumper at the shot-clock buzzer after corraling the rebound of a miss by Carter-Williams and Fair followed with a dunk off a steal by Carter-Williams.
Christmas then converted a follow dunk off a miss by Brandon Triche, Trevor Cooney sank a 3 from the wing, and Christmas hit again off the glass to boost the lead to 43-28 at 11:05.
Cameron Biedscheid stopped the Syracuse surge with a 3 from the left corner and Jerian Grant converted a three-point play to move the Irish back within 43-34 with 10 minutes left.
Syracuse stretched it back to 48-35 on a 3 by Carter-Williams with 6:02 left and the Irish were finished.
Syracuse entered the game limiting opponents to 32.3 percent shooting on 3-pointers while Notre Dame was hitting 39.6 percent from behind the arc. Five Irish players - Camero Biedscheid, Scott Martin, Pat Connaughton, Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant - were real threats from long range, having combined to make all but one of the 150 3-pointers Notre Dame had in its first 22 games.
The Irish found few openings in the interior of the Syracuse 2-3 zone in the opening half and the Orange struck quickly, scoring the first 10 points of the game while forcing three turnovers as the Irish missed their first four shots.
Unfazed, Notre Dame responded with an 11-point spurt keyed by its long-range attack. Eric Atkins hit a pair of 3s from the wing and Jerian Grant added another from the top of the key to quickly erase the double-digit deficit and give the Irish a one-point lead midway through the first half.
The Orange gained a 24-17 lead on Triche's three-point play with 3:25 left and Syracuse led 30-24 at the half despite going 1 for 7 from behind the arc. Notre Dame committed nine turnovers and was outrebounded 15-11 in the period.