There were 26,287 fans were on hand at the Carrier Dome as the Syracuse Orange took on their arch-nemesis, the Georgetown Hoyas. Syracuse entered the game riding a four-game winning streak that included an impressive road victory over Providence. The Hoyas entered Monday's game sitting atop the Big East after an impressive 12-game winning streak of their own.
The game was preceded by a senior day celebration that honored Demetris Nichols, Terrance Roberts, Darryl Watkins, and Matt Gorman before the senior
class embarked upon the final home game in their collegiate career. With familiar names such as "John Thompson" and "Patrick Ewing" invading the Dome, the game had a decided old
school feel reminiscent of what was once the most heated rivalry in the Big East
Conference. The once bitter rivalry
between these two traditional Big East powers had all but fallen by the wayside
in recent years, but the situational circumstances surrounding Monday's contest
made it an important game for the Syracuse Orange,
With the hobbled Terrance Roberts jumping center, the
Hoyas won the opening tap, but were unable to convert on a 10 foot baseline shot
by Jeff Green. Senior forward
Nichols made the Hoyas pay on the other end of the floor, drilling a three point
shot from the right hash mark that put the home team on the scoreboard first.
Both teams came up empty on the next several possessions, with
Georgetown registering their first
points on a pair of free throws.
Watkins was able to convert an old fashioned three point play on a strong
move to the basket that gave SU an early 6-2 lead.
cut the lead to 1 on a Jessie Sapp three point shot, but SU responded with a
pair of free throws by Nichols that gave the home team an 8-5 edge. The burgeoning enthusiasm of the Carrier
Dome crowd was quickly diminished when torrid shooting Andy Rautins was whistled
for a pair of early quick fouls that sent him to the bench at the 15:15
mark. With Rautins out of the game,
the Georgetown defense extended to harass the
Syracuse ball handlers. Poor ball management led to several
Syracuse turnovers, and SU gave up the lead two possessions
later when a Devendorf turnover led to a
Georgetown fast break that
culminated with a dunk by Big East Player of the Year candidate Green. Fortunately for the home team, poor
shooting on the offensive end by the Hoyas coupled with solid rebounding by the
Syracuse to keep the game close in
the early going.
The crowd exploded in anger when Devendorf seemingly got
hammered on a drive to the basket at the 11:10 mark, but drew no call. The ensuing missed shot led to a
Georgetown fast break that was disrupted thanks to hustling defense from Paul Harris, enabling the Orange to go into the under 12 minute timeout trailing
14-11. On SU's next possession,
Harris was the unlucky recipient of another no-call despite the fact that his
strong foray to the basket drew significant contact. The lack of calls drew the ire of the
partisan crowd, but in actuality the lack of whistles benefited
Syracuse in the early going, as it was
Georgetown that had to make
adjustments based upon foul trouble.
After a determined Harris drew a foul on Georgetown
big man Roy Hibbert—his
second—Georgetown coach John
Thompson III was forced to remove his star big man from the game.
Harris's strong play continued on SU's next possession, as the star
freshman converted a turnaround, mid-range jumpshot. After Roberts intercepted a long
Georgetown pass, Harris took the
outlet pass the length of the floor to the basket, this time earning a foul for
his efforts, much to the mock delight of the Carrier Dome crowd. Harris converted the first of two free
throws, enabling the Orange to cut
the lead to 16-14.
Harris committed a foul on Georgetown's next
possession, facilitating a traditional three point play for
Georgetown on a made jump shot. But a pair of high-arching Devendorf
layups sandwiched around a Harris drive enabled
Syracuse to close the gap to
The active Syracuse zone was
countered by the Hoya's patient methodical approach early on. The Hoyas scored the game's next two
baskets to build a five point lead, but a Roberts jumper after an offensive
rebound was followed by a steal that led to an SU fast break layup. After forcing another turnover,
Devendorf drilled a three point shot from straight away that gave SU a 27-25
counterpunch—Syracuse responded to
the Hoya run with a seven point run of their own.
Fueled by the raucous crowd, the
Syracuse zone defense came alive,
almost forcing several turnovers on the Hoya's next possession. With the frenetic pace throwing the
highly structured Georgetown
offensive flow out of whack, Roberts was able to draw an offensive foul on a
broken play. Even playing on
essentially one leg, Roberts was making an early impact on the game.
SU continued to make the Hoya's pay for not taking care of the ball. On Syracuse's next
possession, Rautins calmly drilled a three point shot that gave
Syracuse a 5 point lead
[30-25]. But on the ensuing
possession, Rautins was whistled for his third foul. Perhaps most frustrating to the Carrier
Dome crowd was that the call was little more than a touch foul, bailing
Georgetown out after a poor jump
shot by Dejuan Summers that was significantly off target. Summers hit 1 of 2 to cut the
Syracuse lead to 4.
Devendorf turned the ball over on SU's next possession, but inspired
defense by Syracuse forced a long
jumper that missed the mark as the shot clock expired. Harris was bulled over by Green on the
rebound attempt [no call], but SU was awarded the ball. Determined to make the Hoyas pay, Harris
immediately took the ball to the basket and the
Orange were able to score on an
offensive rebound putback by Watkins.
slowed the game down for the final shot of the first half, getting a clean look
for Summers from the wing, but his shot was off target. Harris corralled the rebound, and the
Orange entered the locker room
clinging to a slim 32-29 lead.
Perhaps more importantly, the
Syracuse big men had been able to
avoid foul trouble, with Watkins having zero fouls and Roberts only being
whistled for one in the first half.
opened the second half with the ball, scoring on a beautiful interior pass that
led to a point blank layup by Terrance Roberts. However, the Hoyas answered less than 10
seconds later, on a Jonathan Wallace three point shot—his first basket of the
game. A poor pass by Devendorf led
to a Hoya fast break that tied the game 34-34.
The Orange were discombobulated on their next offensive
possession, barely getting off an errant, buzzer beating shot, but SU forced a
turnover on Georgetown's next possession, and Eric Devendorf drove the length of
the floor for a basket that gave the ‘Cuse a 36-34 lead. After forcing Hibbert to step on the
baseline, SU found Andy Rautins for a deep three point shot that extended the
Syracuse lead to 39-34. The rattled Hoyas committed another
turnover on a bad pass, and a nice entry pass to Watkins on an isolation play
drew a foul on Jeff Green—his second.
Green returned the favor on Watkins, drawing a foul from the
Georgetown's next offensive
possession, but was only able to convert 1 of 2 from the line. Watkins was whistled for his second foul
less than 20 seconds later on a questionable call. After going nearly 25 minutes without
committing a foul, Watkins was suddenly on the cusp of being in foul trouble—a
disadvantageous position for the
Orange defense, which relies so
heavily upon Watkins's ability to anchor the post on the defensive
The questionable calls continued when Hibbert blocked a
layup attempt by Paul Harris, but drew no foul. SU forced a miss on
Georgetown's next two possessions,
but an unforced turnover by Harris gave the ball back to the Hoyas at the 14:30
mark. Seeking to take advantage of
Watkins's foul situation, Georgetown
worked the ball to Hibbert inside, but the monolithic Hoya found no room to
operate inside amidst the swarming SU defenders, who forced a jump ball. The possession arrow favored the Hoyas,
but when Wallace committed an offensive foul attempting a dribble drive, the
referees hit the protesting Thompson III with a technical foul. Demetris Nichols converted both free
throws to give Syracuse a 41-35
With a six point lead and the ball,
Syracuse attacked the rim. A slick move to the basket by Rautins
led to a Watkins field goal attempt that resulted in Hibbert being whistled for
his third foul. While Watkins was
unable to convert either free throw, Thompson was again forced to remove Hibbert
from the game.
The referees temporarily lost control of the game as emotions on both
sides spilled over on the game's next possession. After Harris was whistled for a foul on
a defensive rebound, he was quickly whistled for a retaliatory technical foul by
an overzealous referee. A
Georgetown foray to the hoop drew
another call against Watkins, and the crowed began to actively voice their
displeasure with the officiating.
With the momentum turning against the home team, the
Orange found their go-to scorer,
Nichols, on a curl play that led to a successful 15 foot jumper, but Nichols was
whistled on the opposite end of the floor on a foul that gave the Hoyas an old
fashioned three point play that cut the lead to 43-42.
The two teams traded several empty possessions, before another foul was
whistled on Nichols. The Hoyas converted both free throws to
take the lead, and went into the under 12 minute timeout already in the
bonus. This proved to be the
turning point of the game, as the
Orange went on a 16-2 run that put
the game away.
First, Harris drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws that
reclaimed the lead for SU. SU
extended the lead to 47-44 after Harris scored in transition on a nice assist
Patrick Ewing, Jr. threw down an offensive rebound putback dunk on the
Hoyas' next possession on a play that could easily have been whistled as
offensive interference. After
forcing a pair of Georgetown misses,
Syracuse stretched their lead behind
a pair of three point shots by Rautins and Nichols that drew an exasperated
timeout from Thompson III at the 8:18 mark.
Inspired by the frenzied crowd, the
Syracuse defenders forced another
miss that resulted in a Terrance Roberts rebound. But as Roberts looked to secure the
ball, his injured leg gave out and he collapsed to the floor.
Syracuse came out of the
ensuing scrum with the ball and quickly called timeout to accommodate their
courageous big man, who was writhing on the floor in pain. Assisted by his teammates, Roberts
quickly clambered to his feet and hobbled over to the SU bench.
The game's strange flow continued, as double technicals were issued
against both SU and Georgetown for a
verbal altercation during the timeout.
Boeheim inserted Harris into the game for Roberts, giving the injured big
man an opportunity to rally, and the hot shooting Rautins drilled yet another
three point shot that gave SU a 10 point lead, 56-46.
The Syracuse defense forced a
wild, thirty-foot three point shot that was well off the mark, and Nichols made
the Hoyas pay by drilling another three point shot as the shot clock
expired. The crowd exploded in
delirium, and was whipped into an ever bigger frenzy when SU forced a turnover
on the Hoyas' next possession.
Capitalizing on Hibbert being out of the game, Watkins scored inside on a
power move to the basket that gave SU a 61-46 lead. Georgetown was
again forced to call timeout in a futile attempt to quell the
Roberts reentered the game at the 5:30 mark, much to the
delight of the Dome faithful, and the
Orange went into a premature stall
in an attempt to run clock.
But poor execution on SU's next offensive possession led to a quick run
out by the Hoyas that drew Darryl Watkins 4th foul at the 4:25
mark. The desperate Hoyas came out
of the free throw attempts in full court pressure and forced another SU
Georgetown missed a pair of
three point shots, and after securing the defensive rebound, Boeheim called a
timeout at the 3:37 mark to get his team on the same page.
After Devendorf was called for a foul after pushing off on a foray into
the lane, the Hoyas got the ball back, down 11, with just over 3 minutes left to
play, but were unable to convert.
Again, the Orange ran the shot clock down, but this
time the team ran their offensive set to perfection, as Nichols drained a three
point dagger that effectively ended the
Georgetown rally. After forcing another Hoya miss, the Big
East Conference's leading scorer calmly knocked down a pair of free throws that
extended the SU lead to 16 points, 66-50.
drew a foul on the team's next offensive possession, but was unable to convert
either free throw. The Hoyas
quickly fouled Terrance Roberts after he corralled the rebound, and the senior
big man split the pair of free throws to extend the
Syracuse lead to an insurmountable
shredded the last ditch full court pressure that the Hoyas threw at them, and
were rewarded with a fast break dunk from Darryl Watkins that punctuated the
victory. At the end of the game,
the frenzied Syracuse fans rushed the floor to celebrate
the hard fought victory with the jubilant
over their hated rivals 72-58, ended the Hoyas 12-game winning streak, and
enabled the senior class of 2007 to cap off their career in grand style. More importantly, the victory gave the
surging Orange [21-8, 10-5] a
marquee win to enhance their NCAA tournament resume.
After the final buzzer, as the triumphant
Syracuse players celebrated on the
court with their fans, it was clear that this once unparalleled rivalry—which
had all but been rendered irrelevant over the course of the previous decade—was
renewed with a vengeance.
Player of the game: Demetris
Nichols scored 22, Andy Rautins continued his superlative three point shooting,
Eric Devendorf had 11 assists, and Darryl Watkins did an excellent job of
patrolling the lane on defense, but no player left his heart and soul out on the
floor more than Terrance
Roberts. Playing through a knee
injury [torn cartilage], Roberts sacrificed his body throughout the game, and
made significant impacts on both ends of the floor that helped key his team's
victory over the Hoyas.