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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 21, 1998

    Friel Leads Notre Dame over No. 15 Syracuse

    Game Statistics

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Keith Friel looked around every time he hit a shot, and every time, the Syracuse players had that same stunned look on their faces.

    "Miss already," they seemed to be saying. Sorry, guys, it was Friel's night and he was unstoppable.

    The sophomore scored a career-high 30 points Wednesday, including a school-record eight 3-pointers, as Notre Dame upset No. 15 Syracuse 83-63. He only missed two shots from beyond the arc, and was 9-of-13 from the field.

    "The basket seemed like an ocean when I was putting it up," he said. "I'm only a sophomore, so hopefully that record will get broken again."

    Friel had to wait until 4:01 left to play to get his eighth 3-pointer, and it took its time rolling in. It bounced around the rim a few times before finally dropping through the net to break the record of seven set by Ryan Hoover in 1993. Friel started smiling, and his teammates greeted him with high-fives when a TV timeout was called a few seconds later.

    "I had no idea what the record was," Friel said. "When you're in the zone, you try not to count. You're oblivious to everything. You just want the ball."

    Keith Friel
    Keith Friel set a school record with eight three-pointers. (File Photo)

    It was Notre Dame's second win in seven days over a ranked team - it beat then-No. 20 West Virginia 74-72 last Thursday on Friel's buzzer-beater - and the first time since 1993-94 the Irish have beaten two Top 25 teams in one season.

    The Irish also tied their best effort from 3-point range, hitting 13-of-19 (68 percent).

    The Orangemen (15-3, 5-2) got 22 points from Todd Burgan, only two in the second half, and Ryan Blackwell added 10. Syracuse was just 23-of-62 (37 percent) from the field.

    The Notre Dame students, back for their first game since before Christmas, made up for their long absence, taunting the Orangemen with chants of "Over-rated, over-rated," with about two minutes left.

    As the buzzer sounded, the Irish players hugged and traded high-fives, and coach John MacLeod walked off the floor with a huge smile.

    "Coming into this season, (the record against ranked teams) was really heavy on my mind," said Pat Garrity, whose 21 points moved him into fourth on Notre Dame's career scoring list with 1,840 points. "To beat two this early in the season, that could really give us a boost, I think."

    And if Friel keeps playing the way he did against Syracuse, teams won't be able to focus on Garrity anymore. With Notre Dame struggling against Syracuse's pesky 2-3 zone and down 11-0, the Irish needed an offensive boost, and MacLeod thought Friel might be it.

    He was. He hit his first 3-pointer less than two minutes after he went in, cutting the Syracuse lead to 11-7, and rolled on from there.

    "He carried us this game," Garrity said. "I've seen him do that before when we play pickup ball. When he gets on fire, he can go on his own."

    Six straight 3-pointers - four from Friel - gave the Irish a 31-27 lead with 4:22 left in the first half. Syracuse tied it at 33 with consecutive from Burgan, but Friel showed he can shoot from inside, too, hitting a turnaround jumper to give the Irish the lead for good.

    Burgan's 3-pointer cut Notre Dame's margin to 38-36 at halftime.

    "Friel just made everything," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We knew he was a good shooter, we just didn't do a good job of finding him."

    Notre Dame's hot streak continued after halftime, as Martin Ingelsby opened with - what else? - a 3-pointer. Friel added yet another, and the Irish were off on a 14-0 run. Syracuse finally ended the spurt with Jason Hart's layup to make it 55-40 with 14:42 left.

    The victory was sweet revenge for the Irish, who've been ousted by Syracuse in the last two Big East tournaments. And after last season's loss, they had to listen to the Orangemen's trash talking.

    "You just don't say stuff like that," said Garrity, who watched a tape of that game Tuesday night. "Luckily, we were able to get them back."

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