Jan. 17, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame received a slap in the face on Sunday afternoon, losing for the first time since the middle of December.
The Irish faced the sixth-ranked Orangemen. In front of a little over 22,000 Syracuse fans, the Orangemen dismantled the Irish, 80-57.
“They are a very good basketball team,” Doherty said. “They are as good as any we have faced.”
Syracuse shot 53 percent from the field, which is higher than any Notre Dame opponent. On top of that the Orangemen shot 52 percent from the behind the three-point arc.
Notre Dame zeroed in on taking Syracuse center Etan Thomas out of the game. Thomas got bogged down early in each of the halves with excessive fouls. He played a total of about 20 minutes.
“Part of the game plan was to get Thomas out and we did that,” Doherty said. “He only played 20 minutes.”
The Irish appeared unprepared for Preston Shumpert, who drilled seven three-pointers for his team. In the second half, Shumpert drained four three-pointers in less than three minutes.
The second-half surge of Shumpert killed Notre Dame’s dream of knocking off another top-seed. At one point in the second-half, the Orangemen went on a 19-1 run which thoroughly drained the Irish. Syracuse still remains the only unbeaten team in Division I.
“Shumpert really made his shots,” Doherty said.
Troy Murphy managed another double-double. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Although, Murphy’s performance on Sunday seemed lackluster for the sophomore sensation. He had a hard time establishing his game in the first half.
In fact, Notre Dame found early success with sophomore Harold Swanagan pounding the boards. He played like a man possessed as he scored 10 points in the first half. His strong play took Thomas out of the game early with foul trouble. Swanagan finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
The other leading scorer for the Irish was David Graves. He had 16 points, three rebounds and three steals.
Notre Dame has little time to nurse its pride as the Irish have another Big East contest on Tuesday night.
“We have to put this game behind us quickly,” Doherty said.
Notre Dame’s record stands at 11-6 with a record of 2-1 in the Big East.
On Tuesday, Notre Dame faces Rutgers in New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights are 1-2 in Big East play and are coming off a loss to West Virginia. Rutgers is lead by Dahntay Jones who averages around 17 points per game.