South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Cooney put Syracuse on his injured back and the Orange upset No. 9 Notre Dame 65-60 at Purcell Pavilion.
The Orange kept the Fighting Irish fans quiet most of the night by essentially leading wire-to-wire. The crowd stirred when Notre Dame made a late run, but Cooney scored nine of his 11 points in the final six minutes to secure the most impressive win in Syracuse's lost season.
"It was a tremendous win for us. They're a very, very good offensive team but we did a good job with our defense tonight," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.
Despite having no postseason to play for given its self-imposed sanctions, Syracuse (18-10, 9-6 ACC) clamped down defensively and limited the usually smooth-shooting Irish to 34.7 percent from the field.
B.J. Johnson scored 19 points, none more important than a critical three-point play in the final minute, while Rakeem Christmas recorded 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.
Bonzie Colson led Notre Dame (24-5, 12-4) with 16 points, and the duo of Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton each netted 13 on a combined 5-of-18 shooting effort.
"We had some open looks that we didn't knock down," Connaughton said.
Syracuse was leading by eight, 49-41, when Christmas fouled out with just over five minutes remaining. Notre Dame took advantage by scoring eight of the next 10 points, but Cooney, who has been struggling with a sore back, drained a clutch 3-pointer and drove for two on the next possession to rebuild the lead back to 56-49.
The deficit was cut to two again, 59-57, following three Grant free throws inside the final minute, but Johnson broke free in transition and threw down a dunk while being fouled with 30 seconds on the clock. He made the subsequent free throw, and the Orange held on from there.
The Irish came into the game ranked second in the nation in field-goal percentage (.513) and went nearly eight minutes in the first half without making a basket.
They wound up shooting a miserable 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) in the opening 20 minutes but were still within five, 27-22, at the break thanks to making 10 free throws.
Syracuse has won seven of the last eight meetings ... Notre Dame came in 16-1 at home ... The Irish averaged 79.8 points coming in ... Connaughton pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds ... Notre Dame shot 3-of-22 from 3-point range.