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McAlarney's shooting leads Notre Dame over Syracuse

Feb 25, 2008 - 1:47 AM SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Kyle McAlarney's sizzling shooting carried Notre Dame to another home win.

McAlarney connected on a school-record nine 3-pointers as the 21st-ranked Fighting Irish posted a 94-87 victory over Syracuse in the Big East Conference on Sunday.

Overall, the junior guard scored 30 points as Notre Dame (21-5, 11-3 Big East) claimed its 36th consecutive win at the Joyce Center. It was also the Fighting Irish's 17th straight win at home in conference play.

"When we are at home, we never think we will blow the lead," Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody said. "When we are down, we know that we will come back. This is a special place for us and we feed off of the energy that the crowd gives us. We come out with a strong performance every time."

The overall winning streak is two shy of the school record, set during 1947-48 season.

McAlarney finished 9-of-11 from arc to eclipse the previous mark of eight, held by three different players. Coincidentally, three of Notre Dame's top five efforts on 3-pointers have come against Syracuse, which predominantly plays a 2-3 zone.

"I felt really confident tonight especially since they were in zone," McAlarney said. "The way we move the ball and how unselfish we play, I knew that my teammates were going to be able to hit me in open spots. I just took it when it was there and took what the defense gave me."

"He's a tremendous shooter," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We just did not do a good job of finding him or identifying him. You cannot give him those kind of looks."

One of those three previous players to hold the record was Colin Falls, who finished up his career with the Fighting Irish last season as the Big East's leader in 3-pointers (331).

"I'm going to call Colin up today and rub it in his face," McAlarney said. "Colin told me at the beginning of the year I wasn't going to beat his record."

Leading a 8-of-14 effort from long range in the first half, McAlarney connected on four 3-pointers to lead the way to a 46-36 lead at the break.

Although McAlarney was able to continue his blitz from outside, the Orange (17-11, 7-8) closed within 78-72 on a dunk by Arinze Onuaku off a feed from freshman Scoop Jardine with 4:01 remaining.

Harangody, the Fighting Irish's leading candidate for conference player of the year, responded with a layup and later added a dunk that made it 82-72 with 2:40 remaining.

Syracuse, which has lost its last three league road games, could get no closer than eight points thereafter, as Notre Dame made 6-of-8 free throws inside the final two minutes.

Harangody finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, his eighth double-double in his last nine games.

Managing more than four 3-pointers in one of his previous four games, McAlarney connected on his first three attempts. Included in that was a four-point play that gave the Irish an 11-4 lead just over three minutes in.

That lead grew to nine points at 34-25 after a layup by Jonathan Peoples with 6:11 remaining capped a 10-4 run.

Syracuse faced its biggest deficit at 63-47 with 13:37 left in the second half after McAlarney connected on his sixth 3-pointer.

Hitting 46 percent of his shots from the arc this season, McAlarney set the record with an attempt from the right wing, giving the Irish a 74-60 cushion with 8:25 remaining.

Rob Kurz made two 3-pointers en route to 15 points and Tory Jackson and Ryan Ayers added 10 points apiece for Notre Dame, which finished 14-of-25 (56 percent) from long range.

"I think Notre Dame has some good shooters so it is kind of crazy to play zone," Syracuse guard Paul Harris said. "They can put four or five people out there who can shoot. It is kind of hard even in a man-to-man defense, but we got into foul trouble so we had to play zone."

Harris scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Orange, who went 6-of-20 on 3-pointers.

Onuaku had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Syracuse, which fell to 10-4 all-time at the Joyce Center despite holding a 51-33 advantage on the boards, including 24-4 on the offensive end.

Freshman Jonny Flynn scored 17 points and handed out six assists, but Donte Green - the Orange's leading scorer - was limited to five points.