Whether or not No. 1 Syracuse was hung over after beating Duke on Saturday, Notre Dame left the Carrier Dome on Monday with a performance it could be proud of in a 61-55 losing effort.

In a vacuum, the Irish had a good night and have plenty they can build on after taking the top team in the country to the wire.

The problem is that the Irish have had too many games they can build on, too many moral victories and not enough actual ones to compile a reviewable NCAA tournament resume.

Here’s what went right for the Irish and what ultimately did them in Monday night.

1. Trevor Cooney, who scored 33 points, was unstoppable for Syracuse and there seemed to be different viewpoints on how well the Irish did in guarding Cooney.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said that while the Irish “didn’t do a good enough job” on Cooney, he said the Irish did an adequate job of chasing Cooney through screens and around the perimeter, Cooney just hit a lot of contested shots (he tied a school record with nine 3-pointers). The Irish primarily used freshmen Steve Vasturia and Demetrius Jackson to chase Cooney.

“I think he hit some really tough ones,” Brey said. “Seven of the nine I think we challenged. He was just in one of those zones.”

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim credited Cooney’s ability to shake Notre Dame’s defense and said Cooney was able to use the inexperience of the freshmen that were guarding him to his advantage.

As if Notre Dame wasn’t hurting enough after losing leading scorer Jerian Grant for the season, Boeheim added this after the game: “If they had Jerian Grant maybe they could’ve kept up with (Cooney),” Boeheim said. “But they had a tremendous loss (in Grant).”

2. In a positive development for Notre Dame, Vasturia had his best game of the season. This comes after freshman V.J. Beachem contributed in the victory over Boston College.

Brey sounded like a proud father in describing Vasturia’s performance.

“He’s such a sharp kid,” Brey said. “I would say those older guys have really pumped him up and made him feel like he’s part of it. (Monday) when I look out at Steve Vasturia, I thought I was looking at a junior guard kind of attacking stuff, getting into the paint, defending, keeping his chest on people.”

Vasturia was key in the Irish’s ability to attack Syracuse’s 2-3 zone in the second half when the Irish got back in the game by shooting 50 percent from the field after a miserable first half. Vasturia had a career-high 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting.

“I got some open looks and their zone is tough,” Vasturia said. “We’re told if we have an open look to knock it down. I was just trying to probe a little bit and get other people shots too. I was happy to make an impact.”