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No. 2 Notre Dame too much for Syracuse late in 87-72 win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 28, 2017 at 9:59 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Entering Thursday night, Notre Dame had beaten Syracuse in 31 of the two teams’ 33 matchups. The most recent SU win came in 2002. The Orange held a few leads in the third quarter Thursday, but the game went the way of the Irish, as it almost always does in this matchup.In South Bend, Indiana, three days after Christmas and playing in its first conference game, Syracuse (12-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) hung with No. 2 Notre Dame (12-1, 1-0) but couldn’t get over the hump and struggled inside late in an 87-72 loss.“We just lost control of everything in the paint,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “They had 48 points in the paint, that’s a ton.”Syracuse’s star point guard, Tiana Mangakahia, had another big night and was most of the SU offense down the stretch. She finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and eight assists — although she did also turn the ball over eight times. She hit a career-high four 3-pointers. The only other Syracuse player in double figures was Miranda Drummond with 15 points.Jessica Shepard, ND’s 6-foot-4 center, scored seven points in the first quarter in a sign of things to come. She found open room in the center of Syracuse’s zone and either finished or was fouled, again and again. Shepard finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Our post players were in foul trouble,” Hillsman said. “She was down there playing against guards.”Amaya Finklea-Guity and Drummond, two of SU’s players who play on the backline of the 2-3 zone, ended the game with four fouls.Mangakahia did her best to keep the Orange in the game. On one play in the second quarter, she drove to her right, pump faked, pivoted, pump faked again and then fired a pass to Drummond in the opposite corner, who drained her shot. Mangakahia added a 3-pointer of her own a few trips later. SU outscored the Irish by a point in the second quarter to head into the half down four.“(Mangakahia) was tough,” Hillsman said. “She did a really good job of keeping the ball in her hands and attacking.”Late in the third quarter, Syracuse held a one-point lead when Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run, putting the Irish up 10. SU closed the deficit to six to end the quarter, but that run was just the beginning of a strong ND finish. The Irish outscored SU by nine points in the final quarter to pull away.“At the end of the day, you got to find a way to win these games,” Hillsman said. “It’s about beating good teams whether you’re at home or on the road. We got to do a better job of closing games.” Commentslast_img read more