A quick take on Syracuse’s thrilling 72-71 win against Georgetown in front of 24,082 frenzied fans at the Dome Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: In a back-and-forth game between the two longtime old Big East rivals, Tyus Battle hit a mid range jumper with 2.8 seconds to play (officials adjusted) to give the Orange the comeback victory. A late Georgetown (7-2) shot missed at the buzzer, and SU escaped after trailing by as many as 15 points early in the second half. On a day the Syracuse bowl-bound football team was saluted at halftime, the gutsy comeback sent everyone home happy, and wondering if the schools will renew their four game out-of-conference series that expired with this game.
ANALYSIS: With the way Hoyas freshman guard Mac McClung (18 points) was burning SU from the outside in the first half, along with big man Jessie Govan (22 points) on the inside, when Syracuse (7-2) trailed by 15 points only two minutes into the second half, it simply looked like it was going to be a long afternoon. But the Orange got the offense in sync after intermission with Battle unstoppable to the hoop, Elijah Hughes and Oshae Brissett hitting some big three-pointers (50% in the second half), and Jalen Carey (four assists) providing a spark running the tempo in place of a foul-plagued Frank Howard.
HERO: These games are the reason why Battle returned for his junior season. In addition to his game-winning shot, he opened up space for Hughes and Brissett to get their shots and finished with a game-high 26 points, five rebounds and three steals on defense.
ZERO: If the ‘Cuse doesn’t move the ball on offense to set up both outside and inside shooting, it will struggle in any game the shots do not fall from beyond the arc. After shooting an unbelievable 7.1% from long range in the first half, SU heated up from both outside and increasing its baskets off assists, turnovers, fast breaks, and in the paint to get back in the game. The Hoyas also out-rebounded SU 45-34.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has a week off for final exams, before resuming play next Saturday, Dec. 15 against Conference USA member Old Dominion at the Dome. The two teams have only met three times, the last two games were a home-and-home series in 1980 and ’81 with each team winning on its home court. Old Dominion (6-2) hosts Fairfield Sunday afternoon. Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET. TV-Radio: ACC Regional Sport Networks/Sirius XM.