It is difficult to beat a team three times in one season. Georgetown found that out on Friday night. The No. 5 Hoyas (25-6, 14-4 Big East) fell to the No. 19 Orange of Syracuse (26-8, 11-7 Big East) 58-55 in overtime of the Big East Tournament. It was the third time Georgetown faced Syracuse this year, with the Hoyas winning the two other match-ups.
“Obviously we will learn from this experience,” junior guard Markel Starks said. “Obviously it hurts right now. At the same time, we just didn’t execute when we really needed to.”
It was only right that the final game of one of the fiercest rivalries in college basketball had to go to an extra period.
“Yes, It’s fitting it went into overtime,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “It is a shame they are heading down to Tobacco Road for a few dollars more. This is rivalry that has meant a lot to our program and their program.”
The Blue and Gray fought back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to tie the game with seven seconds remaining in regulation. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. sent the contest to overtime with two clutch free throws that tied the game at 51-51.
In overtime, Brandon Triche’s lay-up on the first possession gave Syracuse a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
A few plays later Starks fouled out. Without him in the game, the Hoya offense stalled and mustered only one field goal in overtime.
Nonetheless, with the Orange up by 3, the Hoyas had a chance to tie the game twice with under a minute remaining. First, Syracuse swarmed Porter Jr. outside the three-point line and forced him to make a bad pass and turn the ball over.
With 3 seconds remaining, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair missed two free throws giving the Hoyas one last chance to tie. Sophomore guard Jabril Trawick heaved a shot from half-court at the buzzer but it banged off the backboard.
“I thought it was going in,” Thompson said.
“Definitely,” Porter agreed.
Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim pushed his famed 2-3 zone higher so that there was more pressure on Porter and Georgetown’s guards. Consequently, Georgetown’s big men gained more open looks.
“You say the Syracuse 2-3 zone but Jim tweaks it, even from the first game to the second game he changed,” Thompson said. “That is why everything was open along the baseline. Mikael was constantly open down there.”
Sophomore forward Mikael Hopkins led the Hoyas in scoring with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Starks posted 13 points on 5-of-12 shots and 3 assists.
Porter was relatively shut down as he went 4-of-13 from the floor and finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Georgetown was abysmal from the free throw line going 11-of-20 for 55 percent. The Orange were slightly better, shooting 13-of19 for 68.4 percent.
The Hoyas will await their fate concerning the NCAA Tournament. Georgetown is expected to be a two or three seed. This loss most likely eliminates Georgetown’s chance at a number-one. CBS will broadcast the selection party, which will take place Sunday night at Leo J. O’Donovan Hall.
File Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice (Mar. 9, 2013)