SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Paul Atkinson Jr. scored 20 points with a career-high 17 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 79-69 win over Syracuse on Wednesday night.
Atkinson made four free throws and Blake Wesley three in the final 63 seconds as the Irish scored the last seven points of the game while the Orange missed their last three shots and had a turnover after Cole Swider’s jumper made it 72-69 with 1:30 to go.
Nate Laszewski scored 17 points for the Irish (20-8, 13-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who reached 20 wins for the 16th time in coach Mike Bey’s 20 seasons. It is also their second-most league wins in their nine seasons in the ACC. Cormac Ryan added 16 points, Wesley had 13 and Prentiss Hubb had 10 assists and eight rebounds to go with six points.
Jimmy Boeheim, a graduate transfer from Cornell, led the Orange (15-13, 9-8) with a season-high 27 points and Buddy Boeheim added 20 and Swider 11. Syracuse had won two straight and 6 of 7.
Notre Dame led 42-38 at halftime in the game that had 12 ties and 15 lead changes. Jimmy Boeheim started and ended an 8-0 run early in the second half for a 47-45 lead. Ryan and Laszewski then combined for 13 straight points. After a Syracuse free throw, Atkinson’s layup with 11:08 to play made it 60-48.
Syracuse, got back within 65-63 on a pair of Bourama Sidibe free throws but Hubb drilled a long 3-pointer and Atkinson found Wesley for a backdoor layup.
Jimmy Boeheim scored four straight be to cut it to 70-67 but Wesley made a pair of free throws before Swider’s jumper.
Laszewski had five 3-pointers as the Irish went 11 of 13 behind the arc. They have won 12 of 13 when hitting at least 10 but were coming off their one loss — to Wake Forest. They also went 18 of 21 from the foul line, led by the 10 of 12 by Atkinson, a graduate transfer from Yale.
Notre Dame also had a 41-28 rebounding advantage.
Syracuse shot 46% to 40% for the Irish but were 6 of 23 from 3-point range, including 2 of 12 in the second half.
The Orange, who played a makeup game with Georgia Tech on Monday, winning 74-73 in overtime, are home against Duke on Saturday. Notre Dame is home against Georgia Tech on Saturday.
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