Orange - Hoyas Recap

A crowd of 31,841, the largest in college basketball this season, filed into the dome to watch the 80th meeting between these two Big East rivals. And the Orange fans were treated to a thrilling roller-coaster game.

After the Orange scored the first basket of the game, the Hoyas dropped in the next eight points, including two makes from beyond the arc.  But SU countered with six straight points to tie the game at eight.

Both teams traded baskets and grabbed hold of the lead for the next few minutes.  Guard Andy Rautins knocked down a trey to give the Orange a 19-17 advantage with a little more than ten minutes left.  But then the Hoyas snatched back the momentum.  Georgetown went on a 9-0 scoring run to go on top by seven.  In the midst of that run, SU forward Kristof Ongenaet was ejected from the game.  Apparently the Belgian elbowed a Georgetown player intentionally and was assessed with a technical and thrown out after officials reviewed the play on the monitor.

The long stoppage helped the Hoyas maintain a seven point lead, but with just under four minutes remaining, the Orange got back into the game.  SU went on a 7-0 run with five points coming from Jonny Flynn.  The sophomore point guard made a sweet dish underneath the basket to Rick Jackson who slammed it home to cap off the run and tie the game at 31 apiece.

The ‘Cuse went into the locker room up 33-32, but could have been ahead by more.  Syracuse had a little difficulty shooting the ball, going 12-of-30 (40 percent) from the floor.  Rautins' three trifectas and 11 points really kept SU in this game, especially early on in the first half.

Syracuse came out of the break and built on its late first half surge.  The Orange stormed out of the gates by scoring nine unanswered points to open the second half.  The ‘Cuse attacked the interior as Jackson and Arinze Onuaku combined for six of those points.

SU's lead stayed pretty much in double figures for the next few minutes.  Then the Orange put together a sequence of events that got the Carrier Dome crowd rocking.  First, Onuaku stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down both attempts from the charity stripe.  Then Flynn drove in for a layup and after grabbing a defensive rebound, found a wide open Paul Harris who glided in for a two-handed dunk.  Syracuse took its biggest lead of the game after Eric Devendorf drained a three-pointer to push SU's advantage to sixteen.  With just about eight minutes to go, the crowd delighted in the thrashing of the Hoyas.

But with the game in hand, the Orange slowly let its rival claw back into the game.  SU was held scoreless for over three minutes and Georgetown took advantage by scoring seven points.  Syracuse though was able to bump the lead back into double-digits and led by eight with two minutes showing on the clock.  But then a crazy moment in the last minute of the game allowed G-Town to send it into overtime.

Hoyas point guard Chris Wright swished home a three-pointer to cut the deficit to three.  On the ensuing inbounds play, Flynn turned the ball over and allowed Georgetown an easy layup.  With 13 seconds left, Wright drained another three that tied the game.  Flynn took the ball down the court, but threw it to a crowd of Hoya players.  DaJuan Summers let a running jumper go that bounced off the front rim to the relief of the crowd.

In the overtime period, Devendorf knocked down two shots from downtown which gave the Orange the lead for good.  SU knocked down all four of its overtime field goal attempts to seal its 19th victory of the season.

Some other observations from Syracuse's 98-94 overtime win over Georgetown:

  • Another chapter to add to the storied rivalry.  But it was mostly because the Orange blew its 16 point lead.  For most of the game, SU did a good job on defense.  But the ‘Cuse had a major lapse in those final eight minutes.  G-Town made four shots from beyond the arc and outscored the Orange 33-17.  In the second half, the Hoyas shot well over 50 percent and made eight three-pointers.  Wright scored 25 points to lead the Hoyas.
  • You can look at this game in a glass half-empty or full way.  The Orange let a huge second-half lead slip through its fingers.  There always seems to be those moments in every game where SU just can't seem to be stable and lets the other team take control.  But you can also see this win as a revealing look into the character of this team.  With so many ugly losses, Syracuse players could've easily dropped their heads.  But they didn't.  They made big plays when they needed to be made.  There are a lot of options on this team, but Devendorf seems to be the guy that rises to the occasion.  He hit two trifectas in the overtime period.
  • The Orange was red-hot in the second half, shooting over 59 percent from the field.  Finally Onuaku was back to form, recording a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.  Flynn also had a double-double, pacing SU with 25 points and a career-high 13 assists.  The sophomore drained 15-of-16 free throw attempts.  Flynn also became the 51st player to score 1,000 career points.  Devendorf scored 23 points, including five three-pointers.  Jackson and Rautins each had 13 points to round out the scoring for the Orange.
  • Somehow, a group of Georgetown students got into the upper-level of the student section.  SU students did not show them any love even though it was Valentine's Day.  To those who say this rivalry has gone cold, you are dead wrong.  When the game finished, cups of soda and beer rained down on the Hoya fans as they left their seats amidst a crowd of police officers.

Syracuse (19-7, 7-6 Big East) has eight days to recover before it welcomes Villanova to the Carrier Dome.  That game is on Sunday, February 22 at 1 p.m.  


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