Syracuse looks to regain Its luck against the Irish
Syracuse Men’s Basketball suffered its third straight defeat to a non-conference foe on Tuesday night, losing 73-44 to No. 16 Illinois. That’s just the second time the Orange have lost three straight since Jim Boeheim took over as Head Coach.
“Illinois is a tremendous defensive team, and we got nothing going on the offensive end,” Boeheim said. “You can play defense for so long, sooner or later it’s going to break down.”
Up next for SU is Notre Dame. ND enters the contest 6-1 after throttling No. 20 Michigan State 70-52.
A Close Series of Matchups
When the Orange and Irish renew acquaintances, it tends to be a pretty close affair. Each of the last six matchups between the two have been decided by ten points or less, including three games within one score.
When SU and ND met in South Bend last season, the Orange were without big man Jesse Edwards. But it was still a knick-for-knack battle for much of the game. There were 15 lead changes and 12 ties en route to the Irish being up 65-63 with four minutes to go. It was all Notre Dame from there. SU was outscored 14-6 the rest of the way en route to a 79-69 ND victory.
The Star From CNY
Freshman guard JJ Starling is from Baldwinsville and picked Notre Dame despite competition from schools including Syracuse and Duke. He has not disappointed in his first few games in an Irish uniform. Starling made his way into the starting lineup and has put up double figures in five games, including a 23 point outburst against Bowling Green on November 22.
“You wouldn’t have thought Starling was a freshman,” Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey said. “His offensive decisions are aggressive, but not forced. No bad shots.”
After scoring a career-high 31 points against Brooklyn in Richmond, it has been a struggle for Joe Girard. The Glens Falls native has a combined 9 points over his last three contests while shooting just 2-25 from the field, including 1-13 from beyond the arc. But Girard’s struggles go beyond his scoring woes.
“He’s not really stepping up to do other things besides shooting,” Boeheim said. “He’s not doing other things, and that’s a problem. He’s a senior, if he has no confidence now then he shouldn’t be playing.”
Syracuse and Notre Dame square off at noon Saturday, WAER’s coverage begins at 11:30 with McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff.