Left Watching

Out on the road for their final Big East regular season match with their longtime adversary, the Orange were their worst enemy. More inside.

The good. The bad. And the what was that?

In front of a record indoor crowd - 20,972 - for the Georgetown Hoyas, they and the Syracuse Orange continued their rivalry, which has been alive for more than 80 years, dating back to 1930.

Their feud spilled over into the Big East Conference in 1979 when both teams united to build basketball together in the east region.

The spill trickled through the nation's capital for this latest match, and has since been cleaned up.

The Hoyas were the ones with the mop.

In a 61-39 victory, Georgetown did not allow Syracuse the lead for more than 36 of the allotted 40 minutes.

Junior guard Markel Starks swung the lead in favor of the Hoyas at the Verizon Centerc on a deep shot at exactly the 15-minute mark in the opening half.

Fittingly, the man whose long range captured the advantage would continue to use his prowess beyond the arc throughout the remainder of the game. Starks made five of his nine attempts from three-point range and seven of 13 shots overall, leading the dog pound with 19.

Off the bench, fellow guard, freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, put 11 on the Orange to lead all scorers heading into the half. He would end the match just behind Starks with 15 points, shooting 3-for-7 from long range and making six of 16 overall.

Together, Starks and Smith-Rivera went 13-for-26 from the field. Syracuse as a team was 15-for-47.

From three-point range, the Orange made one of 11 tries. The tandem of Starks and Smith-Rivera finished at 8-for-16.

Senior forward James Southerland combined with redshirt-freshman guard Trevor Cooney to go 0-for-10 for Syracuse from outside the archway.

What was previously Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter, Jr.'s, game two weeks ago shifted to the backcourt, as Starks and Smith-Rivera amounted more than half of the Hoyas' total, with 34. Porter, Jr., ended with 10.

"We weren't honestly concerned about [Otto] Porter, I just assumed he'd get 30 [points]," said Orange head coach Jim Boeheim. "We just didn't do a good job defensively on their guards. We know they can shoot. We did a very poor job defensively on their guards. You cannot let those guys shoot the ball. They are very good shooters and we did not do a good job with them."

Starks and Smith-Rivera made half of what they launched, and Georgetown as a team bested 40% overall, while Syracuse failed to break 32% from the field.

The Hoyas have peeled back the Orange offense all season, holding Syracuse to their two lowest-scoring outings of the season; Syracuse amounted 46 versus Georgetown on February 23rd, followed by 39 in this match.

"I thought today the Georgetown defense was just better, way better than our offense," Boeheim stated. "We just didn't handle their defense."

Though the Big East Conference regular season door is now shut between the two, irony has crepped through. When Syracuse and Georgetown opened the Big East in the 1979-80 season, Syracuse lost back-to-back games versus Georgetown. Their first loss, 52-50, came in the regular season, followed by an 87-81 defeat in the Big East Tournament.

Now 33 seasons later, the Orange turned up rotten against the Hoyas in back-to-back matches once again, falling 57-46 just two weeks before this offensive trouncing.

But Boeheim is not focused on how the Big East regular season series has come to a close. Rather, he favors the big picture in this rivalry. "I don't think of one game," Boeheim expressed. "If you think of one game, that's not it. It's been a thirty-plus-year rivalry and it's been good...this was probably one of the least competitive games."

Syracuse sophomores, guard Michael Carter-Williams and forward Rakeem Christmas, were the lone offensive highlights. Carter-Williams led the Orange as the only member in double-figures, with 17 on 8-for-13 shooting. Christmas finished 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-3 from the charity stripe, accumulating eight points in the loss.

The Orange lost any opportunity for a double-bye in the Big East Tournament with the defeat, but got some good news after the game when Louisville took care of Notre Dame at home. With Syracuse and Notre Dame both finishing with an 11-7 conference record, Syracuse moves from sixth to fifth in tournament seeding due to their head-to-head tie-breaking win over Notre Dame earlier this season.

Georgetown secured sole possession of the Big East Conference regular season title from this victory, and will be the top seed in the conference tournament, with an automatic advance to the third round at Madison Square Garden. They will play on Thursday, March 14th, at Noon ET against the victor of the match between the 8th (Providence Friars) and 9th (Cincinnati Bearcats) seeds.

Syracuse will begin a day before on Wednesday, March 13th, at 2pm ET versus the winner of the contest between the 12th (Seton Hall Pirates) and 13th (South Florida Bulls) seeds.

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