The No. 1 team in the nation lost its first game of the season Saturday night as Notre Dame (12-8, 4-3) beat Syracuse (20-1, 7-1) 67-58 at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.
The loss prevented the Orange from setting a Big East record for the best record to start the season in Big East Conference history. Instead Syracuse will settle for a tie in the category with the 2004-05 Boston College team that also started their season 20-0.
The final score was foreshadowed by an ominous start that saw the Orange trailing 13-4 less than five minutes into the game. During that span Notre Dame hit three of their eight three pointers on the night, the most they have hit against any conference oppenent thus far this season.
A James Southerland three pointer would eventually make the score 13-8, but that was as close as Syracuse would get for the rest of the game. The Irish never trailed in the game and ended up winning their sixth straight contest when facing the No. 1 team in the nation at home (the last No. 1 team to fall in South Bend was North Carolina in 1987).
The main story of the night for SU was the lack of star sophomore center Fab Melo. The school released a statement earlier in the day stating that Melo was not traveling with the team on their current two game road trip and ESPN later reported that his absence was due to academic issues. The school has yet to confrim the reasons for Melo's absence, but they did say that he will not be playing in the team's next game at Cincinnati.
Southerland led all Syracuse scorers with 15 points on the night. He made things interesting when he hit his third three pointer of the night with 56 seconds remaining, but the Irish would go on to convert five of six free throws in the games closing moments to seal the victory.
Syracuse had seaon-lows in points (58) and field-goal percentage (34.0) and will play next against Cincinati in Fifth Third Arean on Monday at 7 p.m.
News, notes, and game coverage for Syracuse sports.