If college basketball games only lasted three minutes Syracuse would have been thoroughly embarrassed on Monday night. Georgetown jumped all over the Orange in Syracuse early and took a 14-0 lead. They hit their first five shots including four three-pointers while Syracuse turned it over twice and missed their first three shots. But the games last 40 minutes and the Orange thoroughly outplayed the Hoyas in the final 37 minutes. Syracuse won their 20th game of the season by beating Georgetown, 73-56.
The beginning did not look good for the Orange. Austin Freeman hit his first five shots including three 3-pointers. It looked like he was about to do what Pitt's Ashton Gibbs did to the Orange in their only loss of the season. Gibbs hit six of nine three-pointers and was the biggest difference in that game.
Syracuse couldn't get anything going on offense. They left the Carrier Dome standing for nearly five game minutes until Scoop Jardine hit a three-pointer (it's tradition to stand until the first field goal is made).
But Freeman cooled as the Orange's zone got hot and that sparked their offense. After starting 5-5, Freeman hit just four of 13 from the field including one of seven from distance. The zone began closing out on shooters and Georgetown was no longer getting the wide open threes they had at the beginning. They weren't able to score in the paint and Syracuse pressured them into bad decisions that led to run-outs for the Orange. Cuse ended the half on an 11-0 run to take a five-point halftime lead, 34-29.
There were three big moments in the second half that really turned the tables in Syracuse's favor. With 16:27 remaining, Wesley Johnson came up with one of his three steals. Syracuse pounded the ball into Rick Jackson who missed the shot, but he got the rebound and missed that shot; Arinze Onuaku got the rebound and missed his shot, and finally Rick Jackson tipped it in. It took four attempts but they finally scored to take a 10-point lead, 43-33.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, Johnson stuffed Austin Freeman; one of his four blocks in the second half. On the other end, Johnson dunked and was fouled by Greg Monroe. It was Monroe's fourth foul and he would have to sit for a few minutes. After the free throw, Syracuse led 55-40.
And finally, with 6:24 remaining, Monroe committed an illegal pick and picked up his fifth foul. It was goodnight for Monroe and goodnight for Georgetown. Monroe tied his season-low of eight points and had a season-high six turnovers. It was the first time all season he has fouled out of a game. In fact, he had only once even reached four fouls.
It was a total team effort for the Orange. Andy Rautins had 15 points (though nine on free throws mainly coming at the end), six assists and six steals; Kris Joseph had 15 and three steals, and Wesley Johnson had 14 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
Georgetown will have their chance to get revenge on February 18, when the two play in DC.Game Notes: Jim Boeheim extended his division 1 record with his 32nd 20-win season. He also recorded his 819th win and has now passed Jim Calhoun for sixth all-time.