By Tom Coyne Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Syracuse is feeling good about itself after its third Big East road win in six days.
“Even one win on the road in the Big East is a big win,” guard Andy Rautins said. “We played three good teams and we’re lucky to go home 3-0.”
Wesley Johnson scored 22 points and Rautins added 21, including going 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and the fifth-ranked Orange beat Notre Dame 84-71 on Monday night.
The victory followed an 81-65 win at Rutgers and a 72-71 victory over then-No. 10 West Virginia.
“Every win you get in this league is big,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “Road wins, obviously are even better. The league isn’t doing us any favors. But when you win them, you feel pretty good.”
The Irish (14-5, 3-3) used an 8-1 run to close within 55-53 on two free throws by Tory Jackson after Rautins was called for an intentional foul for throwing an elbow. The Orange (18-1, 5-1) used a 6-0 run to go up 65-56.
“When you look back and teams challenge us, we’ve just made good plays when we had to,” Boeheim said. “It takes a poised team to stay in there and make plays.”
The Irish cut the lead to 67-62 when Tim Abromaitis, who scored 26 points, hit his second straight 3-pointer. But Syracuse, which has just two wins of seven points or less, put the game away with a 17-7 run.
“We knew we weren’t going to beat them scoring 60 or 70 points. The only way you can win here is to score points,” Boeheim said. “Anybody who can shoot loves shooting here. It’s a great shooter’s building.”
After shooting 54 percent in the first half, the Orange shot 44 percent in the second half. But the Orange were 20 of 25 from the free-throw line in the second half.
“It was hard to figure out how to stop them,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said, “especially the way Rautins got them going.”
Luke Harangody was credited with 31 points and 14 rebounds after Notre Dame officials reviewed a tape of the game and gave a basket to Harangody that had been attributed to Tyrone Nash.
Tory Jackson had 15 assists for Notre Dame, although he missed all seven shots from the field and finished with two points.
Arinze Onuaku added 13 points for the Orange.
Syracuse was 8 of 17 from 3-point range while the Irish were 8 of 30. The Orange finished 24 of 31 from the free-throw line compared to Irish going 11 of 13.
Brey said he thinks Syracuse is the best team in the country.
“There’s just so many weapons that they come at you with. They played like men for 40 (minutes). We probably played like men for 32,” he said.