Wednesday night, No. 2 Syracuse and No. 12 Georgetown added another chapter to their illustrious rivalry, as the Orange (24-1, 11-1 Big East) outlasted the Hoyas (18-5, 8-4) in overtime at the Carrier Dome, 64-61. Kris Joseph buried a 3-pointer to break a tie score for SU and Scoop Jardine forced a Hoya turnover that helped secure the win.
The victory was a historic one for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, as it is the 880th in his career, giving him the most victories for any coach at one school in Division I, as well as giving him sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list in Division I.
The game was tightly contested throughout as there were 18 lead changes and the score was tied 15 times. Neither side led by more than six points at any time. The Orange were slaughtered on the glass, giving up 52 rebounds to the Hoyas, including 23 offensive boards, but forced 15 turnovers, turning them into 20 points, and blocked 11 shots to help offset that deficiency.
SU got the opening basket of the game, but Georgetown quickly turned the tables with the next four points. Neither team led by more than a deuce until the Hoyas strung together six straight points for a 17-12 lead just after the midpoint of the opening half. Syracuse responded shortly after by tacking up six straight points of their own to regain the lead at 21-20 with 5:30 to go in the opening half. Georgetown responded with a 9-2 run to take a six-point lead, but the Orange got back within 31-27 at the break.
SU came roaring out of the locker room, tallying the first eight points of the second half for a 35-31 lead that forced a Hoya time out just over two minutes after play resumed. The stoppage in play worked, as the visitors regained the lead with six straight points. The score remained within a two-point spread until Fab Melo completed a three-point play to put the Orange back on top at 49-46 with under three minutes to play. After Georgetown narrowed the margin to a point, Syracuse got a dunk and a triple to take their lone six-point lead of the night at 54-48 with under five to play.
The Hoyas were undeterred and SU’s slowdown offense failed them, allowing the visitors to knot the score at 55 with a minute to go. Fab Melo blocked a jump shot to preserve the tie with 30 seconds to go, but Dion Waiters’ 3-pointer failed to connect just before the final horn, sending the game to an extra session.
The Hoyas opened the scoring in overtime with a pair of free throws, the second on a basket interference call against Melo. The Orange responded with the next four points to go up a basket, but Georgetown replied with four points of their own to go up 61-59. A pair of free throws knotted the score with 1:20 to play, setting the stage for Joseph’s winning trey with 29 seconds to go. After Jardine forced a turnover with five seconds on the clock, Dion Waiters was fouled, but missed a pair of free throws. The Hoyas rebounded the ball, but a last-second heave fell well short of the basket.
Kris Joseph was SU’s driving force in the game, lighting up the Hoyas for a career-high 29 points, including 17 after halftime. He buried a half dozen 3-pointers and collected three steals on the defensive end, as well. Fab Melo was the only other Syracuse player to post double figures in scoring, netting 11 points while swatting six shots. C.J. Fair topped the team with nine rebounds and Scoop Jardine handed out eight assists.
Another rivalry game is on the horizon for the Orange, as Connecticut travels to the Dome for a contest on Saturday. The Huskies (15-8, 5-6) have been in a tailspin, dropping five of six games, including an 80-59 rout at Louisville on Monday.