January 21, 2012 – Notre Dame 67, Syracuse 58
Upsetting the top-ranked team is just one of those things the Irish have a knack for. Since 1948 Notre Dame has upset 12 No. 1 teams.
A few years ago, Syracuse brought a 20 game win streak into the Purcell Pavilion. That was tied for the longest win streak to start a season in Big East history. The first Big East team to start the season with a 20-0 was Boston College. BC’s perfect record was ruined on February 8th, 2005. That streak was ended by – you guessed it, Notre Dame. Perfect records and No. 1 rankings are the last things you want to bring with you when you come to play the Irish.
Yet, Syracuse thought they should test their hand and attempt to own the Big East record with a 21-0 start.
Mike Brey did what he does so well and made sure his team was motivated. How so? He taught them a history lesson. Showing previous games of Notre Dame’s rich history of upsetting No. 1 teams, his squad believed they could do the same.
You remember Luke Harangody’s performance in the 2008 Texas/Notre Dame game? Well, this game featured his predecessor, Jack Cooley.
How similar Harangody and Cooley looked may have been uncanny, but they had the same style of play as well – Dominant.
Cooley finished this game with 17-points on five-of-eight shooting and ten-rebounds. It was the defense that provided the Irish with the win. Notre Dame was one of five teams that season to hold the Orange under 60 points.
Notre Dame controlled most of the game but Syracuse wasn’t leaving South Bend without a fight. After a 17-point lead, Brandon Triche put together a three-point play with 2:24 left to cut the lead to seven.
That’s when the Brey called on Pat Connaughton and Notre Dame ended on an 11-2 run on their way to creating history. Cuse went on to go 30-1 in the regular season thanks to the Irish.