Jim Boeheim is in his 45th season at the helm of Syracuse basketball, and his team’s epic comeback victory against Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon from the Carrier Dome is easily one of the best in recent program history.
Sure, the Orange managed a huge comeback versus No. 1 seed Virginia in the 2016 Elite Eight, propelling the ‘Cuse to the Final Four. Other big-time comebacks have occurred for the Orange in recent years, too.
I’ve written about Syracuse basketball for about five years now, and I’ve been fanatical about the ‘Cuse for multiple decades. What I saw transpire for the Orange versus the Fighting Irish on the Hill has left me speechless, and that’s not an easy thing to do.
Syracuse basketball, in the first half of this Atlantic Coast Conference showdown, looked awful on both ends of the floor. The ‘Cuse found itself down 20 points – in the second half.
Yet armed with an effective press, a more active 2-3 zone, better ball movement and aggressive paint play, Syracuse basketball thoroughly dominated Notre Dame (9-11, 6-8) for the final 16 minutes or so of this affair. The Orange (13-6, 7-5) came away with a 75-67 triumph and, in doing so, frankly saved its season.
The Fighting Irish may have entered this encounter with an under .500 overall record, but Notre Dame has suited up for a really difficult schedule, and this team’s roster is filled with veterans and sharp-shooters.
For the ‘Cuse to limit the Fighting Irish to a paltry 21 points after intermission is “incredible,” as Boeheim characterized it during his post-game Zoom call with media members.
Syracuse basketball clamped down on defense in stunning Notre Dame.
As we’ve documented several times of late, the Orange is on the outside looking in regarding the 2021 NCAA Tournament picture. No disrespect to Notre Dame, but falling to the Fighting Irish at home could have proven devastating for the Syracuse basketball Big Dance chances.
But the Orange, in the final 17 minutes of this ACC collision, outscored its opponent by a 40-12 count to emerge with an eight-point win, per a cuse.com announcement.
In doing so, Syracuse basketball improved to a stellar 11-1 in Central New York during the 2020-21 term. Up next for the ‘Cuse is a road date with Duke on Monday evening.
Pete Moore, a spokesman for the Orange, said via e-mail that the team’s “rally from 20 points down against Notre Dame ties the largest comeback by any ACC team this season.”
Boeheim recently said that he thinks his squad is “getting better,” and the grit and toughness that the ‘Cuse displayed in mounting this spectacular comeback can’t be discounted.
Boeheim said it’s one of the best comebacks that Syracuse basketball had put forth in a while, adding that he’s “really proud” of the Orange’s fight.