7:00 PM ET, March 4, 2003
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, South Bend, Indiana
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Syracuse freshman guard Billy Edelin says the only thing keeping him from putting up more impressive offensive numbers this season was his coach.Jim Boeheim finally let Edelin showcase his abilities against No. 16 Notre Dame on Tuesday night and he didn't disappoint.Edelin used his quickness to get around the Irish and drive the lane repeatedly to score a season-high 26 points as the 12th-ranked Orangemen beat the Irish 92-88, the third straight loss for Notre Dame."He was calling my play today,'' Edelin said. "Usually I have to try to get the other guys going. That's a point guard's job, getting 14 points or 12 points and a lot of assists. Today he just gave me freedom and called my number.''The move caught the Irish off guard. Notre Dame managed to hold Syracuse's leading scorer, Carmelo Anthony, to seven points in the first half and Gerry McNamara slowed down after scoring 13 of his 20 points in the opening 6:18. But the Irish couldn't stop Edelin, especially as he made seven of his first eight shots in the first half."Once he got a couple of easy baskets, that really got him going,'' said Hakim Warrick, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Syracuse. "He was a little more aggressive with every shot.''Edelin, who sat out the first 12 games of the season for violating NCAA rules on outside competition, entered the game averaging 7.8 points and his previous season-high was 18 points against West Virginia."There are so many other threats that we were worried about, like Anthony and McNamara, and he was the one that hurt us,'' said Matt Carroll, who led the Irish with 28 points. "He's a very good player.''The Irish (21-8, 9-6 Big East), who trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half, tied the score at 86 on a 3-pointer by Carroll with 2:02 left."When that went in, I thought it was us,'' Carroll said.But Anthony, who had 14 of his 21 points in the second half, scored inside over Dan Miller to give the Orangemen the lead again. After Torrian Jones made two free throws to tie the score for the Irish, Anthony gave the Orangemen (22-4, 12-3) the lead on a rebound basket."Carmelo wasn't really able to do anything the first half,'' Boeheim said. "When that happens, he usually gets going in the second half.''The Irish had one last chance, but a 3-pointer by Chris Thomas rolled around the rim and out."I'll live with that look every night,'' Irish coach Mike Brey said.Kueth Duany added two free throws for Syracuse with 8.5 seconds left as Syracuse hung on to sweep the season series with the Irish and clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament. The Irish, who have lost five of eight, will finish fourth in the West Division."I'm proud of our guys for fighting back in the second half,'' Brey said. "If we haven't learned our lesson after three losses, I don't know what it will take.''Carroll was 8-of-16 from beyond the arc to tie the school record for 3-pointers and break by one the school record for attempts."Matt deserved to have a win for his last home game,'' Brey said. Torin Francis scored 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Irish and Thomas had 16 points.Despite his performance, Edelin doesn't expect Boeheim to turn to him for offense more often."We have so many weapons, that would be dumb to do that. It would upset the team chemistry,'' he said.