Instant Juice: Syracuse 75, Georgetown 79

Dec 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Cole Swider speaks to reporters following Syracuse's 67-53 loss to the Villanova Wildcats at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Bierman, The Juice Online.

Washington, D.C. – A quick take on Syracuse’s bitter 79-75 defeat against Georgetown Saturday afternoon, in front of an enthusiastic crowd and large contingent of Orange fans at Capital One Arena in the nation’s capital:

WHAT HAPPENED: On a day in which Georgetown (5-4) officially dedicated its home court for longtime Hall of Fame coach John Thompson Jr. who passed away in August 2020, the former Big East rivals renewed their rivalry for the seventh consecutive season, and it was highly entertaining down to the final buzzer.  Syracuse (6-5, 1-0) held its biggest lead at halftime up 44-34, but then the trouble started.  The Hoyas Donald Carey hit a 3-pointer and was fouled by Jimmy Boeheim at the 11:32 mark to put GU back up.  The teams traded leads over the final 5:00 minutes before Kaiden Rice’s dagger three-pointer with 1:08 left and four clutch foul shots by the Hoyas in the final minute held off the Syracuse comeback bid.

ANALYSIS: Teams that pass crisply around the SU zone give the Orange trouble, and then if those open looks result in successful treys, it puts that much more pressure on the ‘Cuse to score at the other end.  Georgetown was 11-of-26 from long distance, but that outside shooting threat also opened up the paint and second chance scoring opportunities for the Hoyas, as the Orange defense was a step slow too often.  All five Syracuse starters finished in double-figure scoring, but SU wound up just 8-of-26 from long range.  Buddy Boeheim, after a recent scoring slump in the last two games, led the Orange with 17 points.  But it’s the defense that is going to define this season.  SU is going to score points most games, but can it stop the opposing team from scoring more often than not?

HERO: Georgetown’s freshman guard Aminu Mohammed dazzled with a game-high 23 points (8-of-9 free throws), 13 rebounds and five assists.  He was complimented by fellow guard Donald Carey’s 18 points including four big treys.

» Related: Syracuse is a ‘good team’ says SU legend Dale Shackleford

ZERO: Georgetown is simply never going to let go of beating Syracuse in the final game at Manley Field House.  During a first half timeout promotion for the crowd to “Guess The Year”, the answer was “1980” with a photo of the Manley scoreboard showing the 52-50 Hoyas win.  Wonder how Georgetown assistant Louis Orr felt watching?  Orr, as you may remember, put up the final desperation shot that missed to give GU the comeback win, and a stinging SU defeat.

WHAT’S NEXT: Following a week off for fall semester final exams, Syracuse returns to action next Saturday, December 18 hosing Lehigh.  The teams have met four times previously, the last occurring in 2015 at the Dome, SU winning 57-47.  Lehigh (1-8) last played December 4 falling to Maryland Eastern Shore.  Game Time: 6:00 p.m. ET.  TV:  ACC Network.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.