Syracuse and Georgetown renewed their rivalry on Saturday, with the Orange winning its seventh game of the season, 74-69.
Here’s three things we learned from the game.
Syracuse rebounds from blowing lead against Pitt
In Syracuse’s previous game against Pitt, the Orange led by double digits at halftime, only to lose the lead, and the game, in the final five seconds in a 63-60 loss.
On Saturday, the Orange found itself in the same position. SU went into intermission up 43-30, but saw that lead whittled down to 3 points, 68-65, when Jamari Sidley hit a layup with 3:09 to go.
This time, Syracuse would not be denied and answered immediately.
Robert Braswell stole a pass from Sibley on the following play, which led to an Alan Griffin alley-oop dunk in transition. A minute later, Joe Girard buried a 3-pointer (later ruled his foot was on the line) with the shot clock expiring, and the Orange took complete control, going up 72-65 with 2:29 left.
“The difference tonight is that we made baskets when we really needed to,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We handled the ball pretty well and our rebounding was much better.”
For the most part, Syracuse has handled close games well. They’ve also played down to the wire against Northeastern, Rutgers, Bryant and Buffalo, with the only other loss to the Scarlet Knights.
“You’re going to lose leads,” Boehiem said. “We had five games come down to the wire, we made plays to win four of them, that’s a pretty good percentage.”
Girard, Buddy have standout games
Girard and Buddy Boeheim have gotten off to slow starts this season. Buddy came into Saturday’s contest shooting sub-25 percent from downtown, while Girard was 3-11 in the loss to Pitt.
Both bounced back against the Hoyas, as Boeheim and Girard combined for 39 points and 6-10 shooting from downtown, and both provided clutch plays in the waning moments.
Girard’s long 2 as the shot clock expired plus two later free throws accounted for SU’s final four points, while Buddy assisted on the alley-oop to Griffin that changed the momentum after Georgetown had pulled to within three.
“Buddy hit two big shots when they got back into it and kept us in position to win the game,” Boeheim said. “It was a good win.”
Buddy finished the night with 21 points, which lead all scoring. Rounding out the 10+ point scorers were Girard (18) Quincy Guerrier (12) and Marek Dolezaj (11).
Dolezaj takes one to the chops
Speaking of Dolezaj, he sported a hockey player’s smile following the game.
With around 1:00 left, Jamorko Pickett caught Dolezaj with an elbow after pulling down a rebound, knocking out two of Dolezaj’s teeth.
At that point, Dolezaj had played 39 minutes, and began to head toward the locker room to get treatment. But he was stopped by his coach.
“You just hurt your tooth,” Boeheim said to Dolezaj. “You didn’t hurt anything else. Let’s go.”
Dolezaj, bloody mouth and all, stayed in the game with the Orange up 72-65, and ended up playing the entire 40 minutes.
“In the old days,” Boeheim said, “that might have been on purpose.”
Guys don’t even try to do that! RIP tooth https://t.co/sdaw9ZaBWH
— Marek Dolezaj (@MarekDolezaj) January 10, 2021