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Notre Dame shoots down Syracuse

Jan 31, 2007 - 6:00 AM SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Notre Dame forced Syracuse out of its vaunted 2-3 zone and right out of its comfort zone.

The 19th-ranked Irish hit 10 3-pointers in a 61-point first half and rolled to a 103-91 Big East Conference victory over the Orange.

Luke Harangody scored 21 points as all five starters were in double figures for Notre Dame (18-4, 6-3 Big East), which won its first true road game of the season and sent Syracuse spiraling to its third straight defeat.

"We played man-to-man. Notre Dame is a very good shooting team and we had to play them man-to-man and we couldn't do it," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "It was very disappointing. Tonight inside we had no effort until the end of the game and that's just not going to get it done. It was very disappointing."

Russell Carter and Colin Falls finished with 18 and 16 points, respectively, for the Irish and combined to do the most damage in the first half.

Making four 3-pointers apiece, the duo combined for 29 points in the opening 20 minutes to spark Notre Dame to a 61-42 lead at the break. The Irish were 10-of-17 from the arc in the half.

"I'll give it to them because they hit the shots, but if we do a better job of getting out on the shooters and forcing them to put the ball on the floor we can force situations and things can start working out in our favor," Syracuse's Terrence Roberts said. "Our stronghold on our defensive end is our 2-3 zone and we went to the 2-3 three times and they made four threes."

Notre Dame bolted to a 28-17 lead by hitting 5-of-9 from the arc, but Syracuse (15-7, 4-4) stormed back with a 9-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Demetris Nichols to pull within two.

The Irish responded with 3-pointers by Falls, Ryan Ayers and Jonathan Peoples to push the advantage to 41-30 and Syracuse never got the lead under double digits thereafter.

Carter and Falls each connected from the arc and point guard Tory Jackson finished off the first-half blitz with back-to-back layups.

Boeheim was more irked by the contributions of Notre Dame's supporting cast than the 3-point barrage led by Carter and Falls. Harangody had 12 of his 21 points in the opening half.

"Harangody and (Zach) Hillesland look like All-Americans instead of first-year players," said Boeheim, who was coaching his 1,001th game. "Really this is the first year Harangody has played and the first year Hillesland has played, and they dominated our two big guys. There is just absolutely no excuse for that and that was the difference in the ballgame really.

"Falls is going to make shots and Carter is going to make shots, we expect that. For those guys to do that inside and we did nothing with Jackson ... It was really three first-year players that determined the outcome of the game."

Notre Dame extended the lead to 28 points, at 75-47, seven minutes into the second half and was coasting with an 85-59 advantage before Syracuse made a run in the final eight minutes.

Nichols scored six points in an 11-1 spurt that freshman Paul Harris capped with a three-point play to cut the margin to 86-70 with 6:11 left.

The Orange got within 91-81 on a turnaround jumper by Nichols with just over 2 1/2 minutes left, but could not get the deficit below double digits.

"That's just desperation," Boeheim said. "They're going to make some mistakes, but they're protecting a 30-point lead. They're not going to attack it (the press) and if we pressed in the first half, which we did, they went right by and scored."

Jackson helped seal the win, scoring 11 of his 19 points at the free-throw line.

Nichols scored 29 points for Syracuse, which hit just 6-of-22 from the arc.

"They came out real hot and hit big shots," Nichols said. "They spaced us out a lot and made some shots in the first half. We really couldn't get over that hump, and they shot the ball like we were in Notre Dame."

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    NOTRE DAME (19) 61 42 103
    SYRACUSE 42 49 91 FINAL

    Jan 30 9:03 PM

    NOTRE DAME (19) 61

    Jan 30 7:46 PM