After dominating the weaker foes, SU could not come back from the Hoyas' knockout punch midway through the first half. Georgetown jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The Orange, though, would cut the deficit to two after a fastbreak dunk by Jonny Flynn.
That's as close as SU would get though as the Hoyas executed their offense to perfection. Georgetown went on a 21-4 run which included four baskets from beyond the arc. They absolutely dissected the Orange's 2-3 zone with precision passing and great screens. Of course, Syracuse defenders did a poor job fighting through the screens and left the Hoya shooters wide open.
The run stretched the Hoyas lead to 19 with just under five minutes remaining in the half. Syracuse went into the break trailing 50-32 and allowed G-Town to connect on 8-of-16 shots from three-point range. Georgetown shot a stunning 60 percent from the field overall as DaJuan Summers and Austin Freeman ripped the Orange ‘D' for 12 points apiece. On the other side, the ‘Cuse shot poorly from the floor, 12-of-31 (38.7 percent).
Coming out of the locker room, Syracuse did manage to pick itself off the mat and answer. The ‘Cuse put together a 13-3 run in the opening four minutes of the second half which was capped off by a thunderous jam from sophomore Rick Jackson who had six points in the run to spark the Orange.
But Syracuse would never really threaten the Hoyas again. With the score at 60-49, Georgetown went on a 7-0 scoring run to push the lead back up to 18 with about 10 minutes to go. The Hoyas just couldn't miss, hitting 58 percent of their shots in the second half which was enough to hold down the Orange who looked better offensively, making over 56 percent of its field goals and outscoring the Hoyas 42-38 in the final 20 minutes.
Some other observations from Syracuse's 88-74 loss to Georgetown:
· The Orange looked a little out of sorts in the first half, especially on offense. The pace was a little too quick. In the midst of the Hoyas' first half run, it would have suited the Orange to slow down the ball a little bit, run the offense to get good shots. But for some reason Flynn did not do that and that's why the game got out of hand.
· While SU didn't exactly play great defense, give credit to the Hoyas for knocking down shots from beyond the arc. For the game, G-Town made 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from downtown. The Hoyas drained eight of those in the first half which were daggers for the Orange. It was the best performance from three-point range this season for GU.
· Aside from the shooting, the real difference in the game came from the Hoyas' bench. Five players combined for 29 points which included two treys from Nikita Mescheriakov. He had only made two field goals all season coming into this contest. The sixth man Jason Clark was excellent, scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
· For the Orange, Eric Devendorf led the way with 20 points which included a 4-of-7 performance from distance. Jackson had a career-high 17 points in this one and showed a few offensive moves in the post. He certainly won't dazzle you and look pretty doing it, but Jackson was very effective tonight against a tough Hoya defense. Paul Harris recorded the 25th double-double of his career with 15 points and 11 boards. And Flynn just missed out on doing that as the point guard tallied 14 and dished out 9 assists.
· Scary moment happened in the first half with Andy Rautins. The guard dove for a loose ball near the side lines between two Georgetown players. One of them bent Rautins' left leg inwards and forced the junior out of the game. He hobbled to the locker room and returned to the bench with a knee pad on his left knee. The commentators said Rautins was available in the second half which is good news for SU.
It doesn't get any easier for Syracuse (16-2, 4-1 Big East) and ranked eighth in the nation. On Saturday, the Orange welcomes the #12/13 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame into the Carrier Dome. It's a noon tip on ESPN.