SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony was bottled up for most of the game, but he wasn't boxed out on the game's biggest play.
Anthony scored on a follow shot with 39 seconds left to snap a tie as 12th-ranked Syracuse blew a 21-point lead before holding on for a 92-88 Big East Conference victory over No. 16 Notre Dame.
Anthony, a leading candidate for national freshman of the year honors, had trouble as he drew most of Notre Dame's defensive attention. But fellow freshmen Gerry McNamara and Billy Edelin combined for 29 points in the first half as Syracuse (22-4, 12-3 Big East West) built a big lead before settling for a 49-38 halftime cushion.
Notre Dame (21-8, 9-6) trailed throughout but finally pulled even, 86-86, on Matt Carroll's 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining. The game was tied at 88-88 when the Orangemen set up a play for Hakim Warrick.
Warrick posted up and missed a short jumper, but Anthony came through untouched to put in his follow shot. Anthony finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds after scoring only seven in the first half.
"Carmelo wasn't really able to do anything the first half, and when that happens he usually gets it going in the second half," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He really struggled; they did a good job on him."
The Fighting Irish had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Chris Thomas misfired on an ill-advised 3-point attempt with 15 seconds left. Thomas elected to shoot rather than find Carroll, who drilled a school-record eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points in his final home game.
"What's disappointing is that Matt deserved to have this win for his last home game," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "I'd like to thank Matt for everything he's done, not just his performance this season, but for all he has done for this basketball program. I'm very proud of him."
Two free throws by Kueth Duany with eight seconds left provided the final margin for Syracuse, which clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament. The Orangemen moved one-half game in front of second-place Pittsburgh in the West division.
"I just wanted to try to be aggressive and come out here and do everything we could to seal our fate on winning the Big East (West Division) championship," Edelin said. "We knew we had to win and didn't want to have to come back like we have been doing in the last games."
Edelin scored a season-high 26 points and McNamara added 20 for Syracuse, which shot 56 percent (41-73). Warrick added 14 points and 13 rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting.
McNamara nailed three 3-pointers as Syracuse built a 19-8 lead just over five minutes into the game. Edelin made his first four shots for eight points and Anthony's basket with 6:45 left in the half capped a 12-4 spurt that opened up a 39-18 advantage.
"Teams in the Big East jump on you from the start, and they're too good offensively to be playing catch-up the whole time," Carroll said.
Notre Dame closed the half with 20 of the final 30 points to climb within 11 points and opened the second on a 9-2 spurt to close within 51-47 on freshman Torin Francis' inside basket.
"I couldn't find the right defense to stop them," Boeheim said. "There may have been a right one, but we couldn't get in it. We tried man-to-man (defense) to stop them from getting 3-point (shots), but they got three-point plays the old-fashioned way. It was just one of those games."
Edelin had his best game of the season, making 13-of-20 shots as he took advantage of post-up opportunities against the smaller Thomas. Edelin used his 6-4, 195-pound frame to score over the 6-1, 182-pound Thomas.
"He took advantage of his opponent," Anthony said. "He said that Chris Thomas was too small for him, so he took him inside."
A basket by Edelin with 3:42 remaining gave Syracuse an 84-77 advantage before Carroll drilled a 3-pointer and Francis converted a three-point play to make it a one-point game with 3:02 to go.
Edelin again scored over Thomas before Carroll's final 3-pointer of the game tied it. Anthony's layup gave the Orangemen a two-point lead before a pair of free throws by Torrian Jones with 62 seconds to go forged the game's final tie.
Notre Dame's third straight loss assured it of a fourth-place finish in the West. It will be forced to play in Wednesday's noon game in the first round of the Big East tournament.
"We had our hands full, especially in the first half, but I'm proud of our guys for fighting back in the second half," Brey said. "If we haven't learned our lesson after three losses, I don't know what it will take."
Francis collected 19 points and 11 rebounds and Thomas finished with 16 and eight assists. Notre Dame shot just 33 percent (12-of-36) in the first half and Thomas made just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc overall.
Syracuse used the combination of Warrick, Anthony and Edelin to punish Notre Dame in points in the paint, 54-34.
The Irish dropped their second straight home game to finish 14-2 at home.