WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Things did not start out well for Syracuse (6-2) and despite a late push, they lost their second straight game 79-72. The Georgetown Hoyas (4-3) jumped on Syracuse early, leading by as many as 15 in the first half. They took a 12 point advantage into halftime after dominating the glass on both ends and using great ball movement to get easy looks.
The Orange started out 0-7 from beyond the arc and could not get anything going offensively early.
"At the beginning of the game, we came out there, and Georgetown was really aggressive defensively," Hopkins said. "They did a great job defending our ball screens. They forced us to be a little out of character with how we've been playing. A couple of tough shots and shooting 30% from the field and 15% from three in the first half just isn't going to cut it."
The second half started with more of the same, as Georgetown extended their lead to beyond 20. But Syracuse would not go away, trimming the lead to eight at one point with under five minutes to go. They cut the lead to six in the final 30 seconds as well.
"We were able to cut it close," Hopkins said. "We just couldn't get that one more stop or make that one more shot. Our kids, I thought, really worked and fought back."
But the deficit was too much to overcome as Georgetown was able to hold off Syracuse in the renewal of one of the best rivalries in college basketball history. Bradley Hayes had a career day for the Hoyas with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Syracuse shot 41.4% from the field with Georgetown hitting 50% of their shots, includ 8-19 from beyond the arc. Syracuse was just 7-27 from distance. The Orange did shoot much better from the free-throw line, however, making 17 of their 21 attempts (81%).
Michael Gbinije led Syracuse with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. DaJuan Coleman and Franklin Howard both played a more significant role than in previous games. Hopkins said it was due to the matchup more than anything, saying every game will be different regarding who is the first guard off the bench.
"It was a game where Georgetown was playing very aggressive on ball screens," Hopkins said. "Frank is our best penetrator on the ball. What he did is he got his opportunity to go out there and perform. He was able to get in the lane and force Georgetown to collapse and get some of our shooters some shots. I thought he was very aggressive."
It was the first game since February 4, 1959 that the game between the old Big East foes did not feature Jim Boeheim, who started serving his nine game suspension. Mike Hopkins was the head coach for the time in his career.
"I've been preparing myself to be a head coach for 25 years," Hopkins said. "That's what I've always wanted to be and always visualized myself doing. I was excited. I was really excited to go out there. First game ever against one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball. I've been a part of so many games, it was kind of surreal. Obviously, disappointed that we lost."