Notre Dame Men’s Basketball (13-3, 3-0 ACC) defeats Syracuse (12-4, 1-2 ACC) with a score of 51-49 in the final seconds of the game. Rex Pflueger picks up some slack for the team, as the Irish are missing both Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell.
Pflueger Saves the Game after Slow Offensive Output
With Farrell and Colson out on injuries, Notre Dame was with out key offensive players today. Both Colson and Farrell are leading scorers for the Irish, so ND took a big hit with both of them gone. The first half was a rough one; moreover, Notre Dame scored a scarce 19 points. They trailed Syracuse at halftime 28-19, as they struggled to make shots throughout the first 20 minutes of play. In the first half, TJ Gibbs scored 14 for the Irish.
However, Notre Dame did their best to pick up the offense during the second half. Within the second half, the Fighting Irish outscored Syracuse 32-21. The Irish only had two players in double-digits scoring. These two were Rex Pflueger with 12 and Gibbs with 18 points. In addition, Gibbs and Martinas Geben combined together for eight assists on the night.
With approximately seven seconds left, Syracuse turned the ball over, and the Irish took advantage of the turnover. Geben stole the ball and passed ahead to Gibbs. Gibbs was able to gather it with two Organge defender on him, but missed the lay-up atempt. However, Rex Pflueger sprinted all the way from half court into the lane, rebounded the ball, and took advantage of the second chance points. This shot broke the tie at 49 and put the irish up 2, giving the Irish the victory.
Even though the Irish struggled on offense, their defense was tough throughout the game. Overall, the Fighting Irish had numerous players contribute in rebounding. For example, Geben led the team in rebounds with 14 followed by DJ Harvey with 9. These figures were both career highs for Geben and Harvey. The Irish would not have been able to stay close to Syracuse without their aggressive defense.
Notre Dame did a fantastic job limiting the best players for Syracuse. The Irish kept Oshae Brissett and Franklin Howard to 10 points each. However, Tyus Battle had a great offensive game, racking up 21 points. These were the only three players for Syracuse that reached double-digit points. Due to the Irish’s defensive efforts, they were able to keep Syracuse Orange to only scoring 49 total. This was the lowest number of points that the Irish have allowed this year.
How Notre Dame Kept Competing
Although it was a rough first half, NDMBB kept pushing. Newly-named captain Rex Pflueger has been crucial for the Irish as of late. Rex continues to put up impressive numbers in each game. In addition, he has been much more verbal on the court with leading his teammates. Geben’s defense was huge for the Irish, too. The team has done a great job of coming together with the absence of Farrell and Colson. Additionally, other players have done a great job of stepping up to help carry the load left behind.
Upcoming for Notre Dame
Notre Dame Men’s Basketball faces Georgia Tech on January 10th at 7 pm on the road.