A three-pointer by Matt Carroll gave Notre Dame (19-5, 7-3 Big East West) an 80-79 lead with 26 seconds remaining. Syracuse (17-4, 8-3) called a timeout and the ball was expected to go to Carmelo Anthony, who carried the Orangemen with 18 of his 26 points in the second half.
McNamara had the ball on the right side as Anthony went across the lane to post up. But McNamara decided against passing to the team's leading scorer, fired away and hit his jumper to give Syracuse the lead.
Notre Dame went to Carroll on its final possesion and he had the ball knocked away by Jeremy McNeil with five seconds left. The Orangemen batted the loose ball high into the air as time expired.
Syracuse extended its home winning streak to 16 games, including a 14-0 mark this season. The Orangemen are a half game ahead of Notre Dame and Pittsburgh in the West division.