In a matchup of longtime rivals, Georgetown used a late first half run to take a comfortable lead and were never threatened again, claiming an 89-79 home win over Syracuse. The Hoyas (7-3) ran off 11 straight points with less than five minutes remaining before halftime, blowing open a tie game and never looking back.
The Orange (5-5) simply could not get stops consistently, save for a six-and-a-half minute stretch prior to that first half span where they did not allow a basket. At the same time, SU kept fouling Georgetown players and the parade to the free throw stripe allowed the hosts to wring everything they could out of their six-point lead when the drought began.
The Hoyas’ aggression on offense, particularly when combined with poor defensive rotations and coverages from Syracuse, earned them 19 foul shots in the opening half and they made 15 of them. Georgetown also bullied the Orange down low, finishing with a 41-29 rebounding edge that included 14 offensive rebounds in 33 opportunities. The Hoyas turned those 14 extra opportunities into 16 points.
The first seven minutes of the game were tight. Only the Hoyas could muster consecutive scores, getting a pair of threes for an early 8-3 lead. SU continually chipped away at that gap, eventually knotting the game at 15 on an Elijah Hughes three-pointer, then taking the lead on their next possession when Hughes was fouled on a three and made one free throw.
That 16-15 edge would be the lone Syracuse lead of the day and it evaporated quickly when Georgetown got a pair of threes to jumpstart an 11-2 run for a 26-18 lead just past the midpoint of the opening half.
When that run ended, the Orange quickly clipped the margin in half with a Marek Dolezaj bank shot and a Joe Girard III triple sandwiched a Hoya foul shot. Jim Boeheim was whistled for a technical after Dolezaj was called for a foul and Georgetown got three of four free throws to fall, pushing their lead to 30-23.
SU responded with three straight scores. Dolezaj dropped in a lay-up, then Howard Washington skidded in a floater and Hughes swished a fadeaway from the charity stripe to make it a 30-29 game. Hughes then tied the score twice, first at 32 on a deep three from the right wing, then once more at 34 on a turnaround from above the left block with just under five minutes left in the half.
Georgetown responded with 11 straight points to break the game open. Hughes stopped the bleeding with a pull-up jumper, but the Hoyas’ Mac McClung sent the game to half with a three-pointer for a 48-36 lead. Less than three minutes after returning to the hardwood, the Hoyas pushed the gap to 55-39.
Syracuse went on a 9-2 streak to pull within nine points. Buddy Boeheim canned an open three to start the run, then Girard coaxed a leaner in the paint to fall. After a Georgetown bucket, Girard hit a three from the left corner and Dolezaj made a foul shot to make it 57-48.
The two teams traded tallies for five minutes, but back-to-back Hoya threes made it 72-57 with 7:31 left and the Orange could only get within eight points during the final minute of play.
After a scoreless opening half, Buddy Boeheim got hot, making seven threes as he rolled up 25 points. Boeheim’s second half production offset Elijah Hughes’ strong first half and cold second session. Hughes made three triples in the first half, scoring 18 of his 21 points before the break and adding nine assists. Joe Girard III hit four threes for the majority of his 14 points and Marek Dolezaj hit 6-of-9 shots en route to a 13-point, nine-rebound effort.
Mac McClung topped all scorers with his 26 points. Omer Yurtseven was right in line with his season averages, piling up 19 points and nine rebounds. Jagan Mosely hit four threes as he rolled up 16 points and Terrell Allen helped the Hoyas’ cause with 14.
The Orange will face Oakland on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome. The Golden Grizzlies (5-6) have lost four of their last five, including a 72-49 drubbing at #16 Michigan State on Saturday. Xavier Hill-Mais is the leading man for Oakland, as he averages 15.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
SU and the Grizzlies will tangle at 8:00pm Eastern on Wednesday and ESPNU will televise the game.