Postgame Roundup: Hoyas defeat Syracuse in front of record-breaking crowd
Before Saturday afternoon, Otto Porter Jr. was not a serious contender for National Player of the Year. Things may have changed. On Saturday, No. 11 Georgetown (21-4, 11-3 Big East) pulled out an improbable 57-46 win against No. 8 Syracuse (22-5, 10-4 Big East) in the noisy Carrier Dome on the back of Porter Jr.’s career-high 33 points. With the victory and Marquette’s Saturday night loss, the Hoyas have seized sole possession of first place in the Big East. Georgetown has now won 9 games in a row and 11 of its last 12 games.
“It was special. You saw the show that I saw,” Head Coach John Thompson III said about Porter Jr.’s game. “To play that game up here against that opponent, special players do it.”
The win broke Syracuse’s 38-game home win streak, the longest in the nation, as the game was the final Big East match-up in Syracuse between Syracuse and Georgetown. Porter Jr. shined in front of a Carrier Dome packed with 35,012 Syracuse fans and a smattering of Georgetown fans.
“It’s a good win in a very difficult place to play, against very, very good team,” Thompson said. “Any time you can come up here and win it means a lot. This game, this rivalry means a lot.”
With 4:52 left in the game, sophomore guard Jabril Trawick swung a pass across court to an open Porter Jr. who drilled the three pointer and was fouled. Porter Jr.’s free throw that followed made the score 45-37 Georgetown and swung the momentum back in Georgetown’s favor. The 4-point play halted a threatening Syracuse run that had cut Georgetown’s advantage to 4 points.
“I don’t know how that went in, but it did,” Porter Jr. said. “I was speechless.”
As has become expected of him, the sophomore forward had a full game, contributing in all facets. Porter Jr. recorded 8 rebounds (including 4 offensive rebounds), 5 steals, and 2 assists. The sophomore forward made 12-of-19 shots on the night and 5-of-10 from three-point range.
“Porter was so good today. He just dominated the game. There were a couple situations with defensive breakdowns. He had a tremendous game,” said Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim.
Junior forward Moses Ayegba was crucial to the win as he tied his career-high with 10 rebounds. He also was a defensive presence posting 2 blocks and a steal. Of those 10 rebounds, 5 were offensive rebounds, which allowed the Hoyas to get extra offensive possessions and drain the clock.
“Moses came up big for us. He was a presence on both sides of the court,” Porter Jr. said. “This is probably the best game he has played all year.”
With 5 assists, Trawick tied Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams for the game-high in assists. He had pivotal passes throughout the second half including the assist on the 4-point play.
Neither team shot well in the game with the loud atmosphere and the tight defense. The Orange shot 34 percent from the field including a paltry 4-of-20 from three-point land. The Hoyas were not much better, though, shooting 35.2 percent and 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Syracuse rode the enthusiasm of the raucous home crowd to an early 12-4 lead. Porter Jr. could not be kept quiet for long though. He netted 12 points in a 15-3 Georgetown point streak. His three-pointer put the Blue and Gray ahead 19-15 with 4:34 to go in the half. Syracuse would answer right back to claim a 23-21 advantage at halftime.
Georgetown pounced on Syracuse after the intermission with contributions from players outside of Porter Jr. A three-pointer by junior guard Markel Starks and a put-back lay-in by junior forward Nate Lubick resulted in a 3-point Hoya lead. Freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s three-pointer with 11:26 left extended the margin to 8 points. Syracuse trimmed the lead to 4 points but Porter Jr.’s 4-point play and lay-ins by Trawick and Starks sealed the game.
The Blue and Gray will play Connecticut in Storrs on Wednesday but Saturday’s win was certainly a memorable one. Porter Jr. made it memorable for Hoya fans by scoring more points at Syracuse than any other Georgetown player in the program’s history. In the first Player of the Year straw poll, Porter Jr. finished 10th, receiving 2 votes in comparison to the leader’s 150. There is a good shot that will change.
File Photo: Abigail Greene/Georgetown Voice (Feb. 20, vs. DePaul)