The independent voice of Notre Dame Athletics

  • Cooley Controls the Boards as ND Upsets #1 Syracuse

    by SEE

    (The Rock Report | Notre Dame Basketball) – Notre Dame is always dangerous at the JACC, but when undefeated Syracuse came into South Bend minus Fab Melo, their leading shot-blocker and rebounder, Jack Cooley sensed blood.  “I was confused why no one told me, of all people, that Melo wasn’t playing,” Cooley said. “Then, I got a little excited when I looked at the roster and the biggest guy was like 6-8, 213.”

    The Irish combined red hot shooting from behind the arc (60%) with tenacious defense and dominance (the Irish won 13 of the first 17 rebounds) in the paint to open up a 18-point advantage at one point, leading by 12 at the half and holding off Syracuse for a 68-59 upset.

    “He was just a beast on the front line, which he’s done before,” Brey said of Cooley. “Some of those plays, when he ripped out loose balls and got second shots, made his teammates believe even more. The crowd loves him. It got the crowd juiced.”

    Syracuse was never able to close the gap to less than 8 as Notre Dame continued to dominate the defensive boards.  Cooley, Atkins, Martin and Connaughton each had at least 6 defensive rebounds as the Irish won the defensive rebounding battle 29-17.

    The Irish have a history of taking down #1 one teams. Saturday night’s win was the eighth  time the Irish had knocked off #1, something Brey  reminded the team about that history by showing them a video of previous Irish upsets.

    “I just wanted them to see the history of our place against No. 1s,” Brey said. “I mean, we were channeling all week as much as possible. In the midst of the videos, I had our guys doing good things and making big plays. It was only about five minutes, but it was really well done and we watched it last night in the team meeting.”

    The win puts the Irish at 11-8 and 3-3 in the Big East.

    10 Responses to “Cooley Controls the Boards as ND Upsets #1 Syracuse”

    1. Finally, after over a decade–a significant win on NDs campus in mens basketball or football. this is a great win and great for the ND community. It has been long over due. Kelly has yet to even come close to competing against a top team. I hope we are not years away from an event like this in football but based on the horrible coaching job this season I am afraid we may be.

      • i disagree. when the irish beat #2 pitt last year AT pitt that was a very signifcant win. that was the second best win of brey’s career, last nights was his best game ever for the irish

        have some faith for next season to.

      • We beat #5 Alabama in basketball at ND a few years ago.

      • ND beat #2 BC @ JACC in 2005

    2. leftcoastirish says:

      umm, make that 12-8 and 4-3.

    3. Irish Cooley burn …

      … an incredible oxymoron realized. Who knew?

      Very impressive Fight

    4. When comparing bk to brey remember people were calling for him to be fired in the last few years. Also it is only in the last 3 years that brey has found his identity at nd; with the burn offense. Just saying not a fair comparison at this poInt. brey has had more time.

    5. After we looked so “unathletic” against Missouri early in the season, it is amazing the distance the team has traveled to a victory against a very talented and athletic Syracuse squad. Still a tough road ahead for this season, but its looking up for next year.

      With respect to football, in each of our losses this year, if we had the level of quarterback play of our opponent… Daniels, Robinson, Barkley, Luck or Manuel… we would have won each of those games. That said, if we score to even up the USC game at 17-17 we probably go on to win the game with the momentum of a home crowd against us. Even in the Stanford game, we had a chance to seize momentum, but Rees ran out of gas short of the end zone. We have been competitive, but lack a playmaker at QB to put us over the top. If we had a QB the caliber of Barkley, Luck or Robinson on the Irish, we would have won the National Championship this year. The key is QB play.The other pieces are pretty much in place. Maybe Keil, Golson or Hendrix could or should be the answer.

    6. What a surprise! A great win by the basketball team brings out the BK haters. Can’t you just enjoy a great hoops win. Hey the hockey team lost to Michigan and is underachieving this year. Both Jackson and Kelly should be fired immediately. The best part is, there are almost as many Brey haters, but they’re not sure how to spin this to make it a negative.

    7. No reason to bring football or hockey into it. Each sport stands or falls on its own merits or lack thereof.