Syracuse squanders halftime lead for 2nd straight game, falls to No. 2 Notre Dame

first_img Related Stories Syracuse heads to No. 2 Notre Dame with NCAA tournament seeding on mind For 20 minutes, Syracuse controlled the game. But a minute into the second half, Notre Dame finally took the lead.Quentin Hillsman called a timeout. It was what his team would do in the next several minutes that would determine the fate of the game, for better or worse.“They came out strong. We didn’t come out strong in the first couple minutes of the second half,” the Orange head coach said. “We just tried to sustain our momentum, but when it’s a three-point game, it’s pretty much a 0-0 basketball game.”The No. 2 Fighting Irish (26-1, 14-0 Big East) scored the first five points out of the timeout and 25 of the first 31 points in the second half to trigger the comeback that ultimately put No. 22 SU away 79-68. Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) led by as much as 15 in the first half, and trailed by as much as 16 in the second. The Orange cut the lead to six with less than six minutes remaining, but ultimately came up short.After a Brittney Sykes 3-pointer opened the scoring, center Kayla Alexander scored eight straight SU points. A steal by guard Rachel Coffey with 14:39 remaining in the first half led to a Carmen Tyson-Thomas layup and 13-3 advantage. The Irish needed a timeout.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Orange continued to build on its lead. Brianna Butler drained a 3, then Sykes scored a pair of buckets to stretch Syracuse’s lead to 13.“We just did a good job early of just following our game plan,” Hillsman said. “We wanted to get the ball inside, but obviously, we need to score some baskets to get into our pressure, and we did a good job of scoring the ball early.”Alexander knocked down another jumper out of a UND timeout to give the Orange its largest lead of 15, but then the Skylar Diggins show began. The guard scored 17 points in the final 12:16 of the first half.She started it off with a pair of 3s, but scored in a variety of ways. The senior knocked down a mid-range jumper with three minutes left in the half to cut SU’s lead to single digits. Another 3 cut the lead to five with 2:19 remaining, and a pair of free throws slashed it to three with about a minute and a half left.“We had a little stretch where we just threw the ball away, had a couple costly turnovers,” Hillsman said, “kind of got them back into the game in the first half.”Diggins vanished in the second half, scoring just three points and making one field goal, but it didn’t matter — Kayla McBride took over. She knocked down a jumper to kick off the second-half scoring and cut Syracuse’s lead to one before a Natalie Achonwa layup gave Notre Dame its first lead of the day.The guard scored 12 points in the second half as the Fighting Irish built a 16-point lead. Six straight points from Alexander and a 10-0 run pulled Syracuse within six with 5:52 remaining, but a scoreless stretch lasting nearly two and a half minutes doomed the Orange to its second consecutive loss.“Our kids fought,” Hillsman said. “They played really, really tough. I’m really proud of them.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 27, 2013 at 12:26 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img

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