Markus Burton explosion nearly spurs Notre Dame Fighting Irish comeback

After trailing by 20 at the half, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rallied to scare and almost beat the Syracuse Orange on Saturday.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) goes for a layup
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) goes for a layup / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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For the first half of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish game against the Syracuse Orange looked like the biggest of blowouts. At one time, Micah Shrewsberry’s squad looked about as bad as they have all season. They trailed by 29 in the first half. They looked dead. The three-game winning streak looked like a mirage.

And then the second half started. And Markus Burton took over the game. 

Once Burton took over the game, Syracuse had no answer. The freshman guard, who seems to only be getting better as the season progresses, scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half. What was a 20-point half-time lead finished with a three-point loss for the Irish. In the process, the team showed that once again, Shrewsberry’s teachings seem to be sinking in.

There was an argument to be made when Notre Dame was beating up on the conference’s worst teams that their winning streak was “false.” But Saturday afternoon’s contest shows that things really do seem to be improving.

The Irish took a Syracuse team that could very easily be in the NCAA Tournament next month. They did that to the team that was playing at home. They had looked like a world-beater for 20 minutes. And then something changed.

Markus Burton changed. The guard ran over, around and through the defense for the entirety of the second half. In the process, he showed Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans that while this season is almost over, there’s reason to be optimistic for Year 2 of Micah Shrewsberry.

Markus Burton explosion nearly spurs Notre Dame Fighting Irish comeback

The Irish head coach has been talking about growing the culture and making sure the team gets a little bit better every day. It appears that the end of this season is demonstrating that’s exactly what’s happening.