Syracuse men’s basketball picks up win over long-time rival Georgetown 74-69

SU picks up win against Georgetown 74-69

Buddy Boeheim and three other Orange players scored in the double digits to lead Syracuse past the Hoyas.
Published: January 9, 2021
The Syracuse Orange man’s basketball team take on the Georgetown Hoyas Saturday Jan. was 9, 2021 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse New York. Dennis Nett |
Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) passes in the lane during a game between Syracuse and Georgetown Georgetown Saturday Jan. was 9, 2021 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse New York.

The Syracuse men’s basketball team was looking to get back on track tonight against the Georgetown Hoyas after a loss Wednesday night to the Pittsburgh Panthers snapped their three-game win streak. And the Orange did just that with a 74-69 win over the visiting Hoyas.

The renewed rivalry looked and felt different in an empty Carrier Dome, but that didn’t make the game any less intense. This was the 96th time the Orange and Hoyas have met, with Syracuse leading 51-44 in all-time wins. Yet the Orange were 3-5 against the Hoyas since leaving the Big East and moving to the ACC.

Part of what made this rivalry so great were the games between Coach Boeheim and the late John Thompson, who passed away last year. Prior to tip-off, head coach Jim Boeheim came onto the floor with a towel draped over his shoulder in tribute to the late Thompson.

The Orange won the tipoff, but it was a back and forth battle from then on. Joe Girard III struck early with a pull-up jumpshot from the elbow, but Georgetown quickly answered with a jumpshot and two dunks of their own to take a 6-2 lead two minutes into the game.

After the early lead, the Orange responded with a Marek Dolezaj bucket off an assist from Alan Griffin. The teams traded baskets, and the early deficit was quickly erased by Buddy Boeheim’s first points of the night with an assist from Dolezaj to tie the game 9-9.

Jamorko Pickett then sunk a jump shot for the Hoyas to put them back in the lead and stop the Orange’s momentum. Griffin committed his first foul of the night after he missed a three at the other end of the floor, and the big-man Qudus Wahab sunk both free-throws to extend the lead to four.

After another assist from Griffin, Dolezaj hit a turn-around shot to make it a two point game. The Orange had the momentum to tie the game again, but Boeheim missed a transition layup leading Jahvon Blair to hit a three at the other end to put the Hoyas up 16-11.

After a three-pointer from Quincy Guerrier and a made baseline shot from Boeheim, the Orange tied the game yet again at 16 a piece. Both teams went back and forth the first nine minutes of the first half with both great defense and rebounding inside.

Guerrier was fouled on a three point attempt, and he sunk the free-throw attempts to put the Orange up. The Hoyas went on a 8-0 run with 7 minutes to go in the game to put them up 24-21.

After that, the Orange went on an absolute tear. After Girard drilled a three-pointer and was fouled by Blair on the play, he made the following free-throw to start a momentum shift with just under seven minutes to go in the half. From there, the Orange went on a 18-3 run that was highlighted by seven points from Girard.

With three minutes left in the half and a 39-27 lead, a Donald Carey three disrupted 12 unanswered Orange points. Syracuse netted the final four points of the half to lead 43-30 heading into the locker room.

The story of the first half was the rebounding for Syracuse. The Orange were out-rebounded by Pittsburgh on Wednesday 49-33, but in this contest Syracuse out-rebounded Georgetown 23-11 in the first half. Girard was a playmaker in the first half, leading all scorers with nine points and four assists – a stark difference from the mere nine points he had the entire game against Pittsburgh.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse
Syracuse Orange guard Joseph Girard III (11) dribbles the ball with Georgetown Hoyas guard Dante Harris (2) defending during the first half at Carrier Dome.

Coming out of the locker room, both teams were ice cold. The first two-and-a-half minutes were scoreless until Guerrier made a layup off of his own miss and rebound to put the Orange up fifteen.

Just like the first half, the Orange and Hoyas went back and forth in the second half as well. Wahab hit a layup and was fouled by Guerrier, and he cashed in on the and-one opportunity to pull the Hoyas back, 45-33.

Boeheim drilled another three from the wing, and head coach Patrick Ewing decided to amp up the pressure and play a full-court press. This tactic didn’t phase the Orange much as they had their biggest lead of the game, 50-34 in the first four minutes of the half.

The teams exchanged a few baskets, but both Guerrier and Griffin picked up their third personal fouls in the next minutes, the second game in a row that Griffin had to be taken out of the game early in the second half. Coupled with a Syracuse turnover and a Jahvon Pickett made three, the Hoyas diminished the Syracuse lead to just 53-46 with under twelve minutes left in the game.

On another Girard to Boeheim connection, the forward sunk a three to squash the momentum and move the lead back to thirteen. Georgetown quickly responded with back-to-back threes of their own, creeping back within nine points.

After another transition layup and made three by Chudier Bile, the Hoyas were only down six, 63-57.

That lead kept diminishing when a Jamari Sibley layup off a Dante Harris assist got the Hoyas to within three. But a Griffin three squashed the momentum and put the Orange back to a five point lead, 70-65.

The Orange went on to finish off the Hoyas by a score of 74-69.

“We really played well at the end of the first half, it’s probably some of the best we’ve played all year,” said head coach Jim Boeheim. “I think even though Joe (Girard) and Buddy (Boeheim) missed a couple, they really had their rhythm and we need them to make shots.”

Buddy Boeheim finished the game as the leading scorer with 21-points, and Girard finished with 18-points and 8 assists. Despite taking an elbow to the face that chipped his tooth, Dolezaj still pulled down nine rebounds and put up 11 points of his own.

Syracuse travels to North Carolina to play the Tarheels after their game against Clemson was postponed due to COVID-protocols. Tip-off is slated for Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m.