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Notre Dame loses third straight game

Irish men close home schedule with loss to No. 10 Syracuse

By Avani Patel

Knight Ridder Newspapers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Shovels and spades aren't going to unearth it. Picks and axes won't be up to the task. A backhoe may not even do the trick.

This excavation job will require Notre Dame to dig deeper than it has had to all season.

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The Irish (21-8, 9-6 Big East) closed their home schedule with a 92-88 loss to No. 10 Syracuse (22-4, 12-3) Tuesday night before a sellout crowd of 11,450 at the Joyce Center.

The Irish, down by as many as 21 points, had a chance to win at the end but Chris Thomas' potential game-winning three-pointer lipped in and out of the basket in the final seconds.

But that was little solace after their third straight loss.

"We just want to get back to winning," Thomas said. "We want to know what it feels like to win."

As it heads into its final regular-season game Saturday at Georgetown, Notre Dame needs to rediscover its passion.

"We need to come out and we need to find a way--I'm not sure what that way is. I don't think we know yet--to find more of a sense of urgency from the start," said guard Matt Carroll, who scored a game-high 28 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-16 three-point attempts.

Syracuse, however, also hit big shots, early and often.

Point guard Gerry McNamara started the game with a long-range shot from the left wing. He followed that with a mirror shot from the right side 30 seconds later, staking Syracuse to a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

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He finished with 20 points$ but that was hardly Notre Dame's biggest problem.

Neither was superstar freshman Carmelo Anthony, who scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds.

Guard Billy Edelin, in only his 14th college game, proved to be the difference with 26 points.

"He took advantage of his opponent," Anthony said. "He said that Chris Thomas was too small so he took him inside."

BigTen women's tournament schedule, Page 2D

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