SOUTH BEND – The good news for Notre Dame on Wednesday was its offense was clicking. The bad news, they lost.
Elijah Hughes scored 26 points as Syracuse (12-7, 5-3) improved to 4-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference road play with an 84-82 comeback victory at Notre Dame.
“That's about as good as we're gonna be offensively right there,” Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said. “We just couldn't get enough stops. Disappointed for our guys, (but) we'll keep swinging.”
John Mooney had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Fighting Irish. His 12th consecutive double-double broke Luke Harangody's 11-year-old school record, but Notre Dame (11-7, 2-5) remained winless in its three ACC home games.
Syracuse has won all three of its rematch games against teams it lost to earlier this season, and the last two of those paybacks have come on the road.
Forget about it actually having anything to do with revenge, though, according to Orange coach Jim Boeheim.
“That doesn't win any games for you,” the second-winningest coach in NCAA Division I men's history said after his team's fourth straight victory. “It doesn't work that way. You gotta go out and play. Everybody wants to win and revenge never has anything to do with it. The team that plays the best is the team that wins.”
The Orange scored eight straight points to turn a 70-70 deadlock at 4:54 to go into a 78-70 lead with 43 seconds left.
The Irish closed to within 82-80 with 10 seconds remaining, but Syracuse freshman Joseph Girard III hit two free throws with nine seconds left for an 84-80 count before T.J. Gibbs scored just in front of the final horn for Notre Dame. Girard has made 50 of 52 free throws this season.
The Irish erased a deficit that had reached 64-51 with 13:47 to go, taking a 69-68 with six minutes left, before the Orange took control down the stretch. Syracuse trailed by as many as 11 in the first half.
Girard scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Orange. Bourama Sidibe added 12 points on 6 of 6 from the field.
Dane Goodwin scored 15 points off the bench for the Irish. Gibbs added 13.
The Orange's win came 19 days after losing 88-87 at home to Notre Dame. They've also avenged losses to Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Much like the first meeting, Wednesday's rematch featured a blistering back-and-forth pace much of the way. There were 16 lead changes after 18 in the first matchup.