No Wright, but Plenty Wrong as Georgetown Falls to Syracuse
As the senior point guard sat on the bench with a wrap on his broken left hand, 11th-ranked Georgetown struggled against Syracuse's trademark zone and, when it needed to make shots, it couldn't. The Orange, ranked 17th, pulled off their second straight critical Big East road victory, 58-51 at Verizon Center, on the Hoyas' Senior Day in front of a crowd heavily populated with Syracuse supporters.
Brandon Triche sealed the win with four free throws in the final 23 seconds, all after No. Georgetown closed to within 54-51. But the Hoyas were shut out for the final 1:21. Their last three possessions resulted in three missed three-pointers, the cappers to a 7-for-24 day from behind the arc.
Syracuse (24-6, 11-6) led most of the game, but the Hoyas (21-8, 10-7) caught and passed them twice late in the second half. Then Scoop Jardine rattled in a jumper from the left side, then a three-pointer from straight on, to put the Orange ahead for good.
How It Was Won: Sophomore swingman James Southerland, who did not score at all in the previous five games, scored nine points in the first half, including the Orange's last five in a 40-second span. That gave them a 10-point halftime lead; the regular offensive leaders for Syracuse, particularly Jardine (17 points) took over from there.
How It Was Lost: Not so much Wright's scoring, as vital as that is, but his control of the offense is what Georgetown missed most. Every offensive woe a team can suffer against Syracuse's matchup 2-3 -- from turnovers (16) to negated inside game to bad outside shooting was suffered by the Hoyas. Hollis Thompson, who started in Wright's place (albeit not as the nominal point guard) missed all five of his shot attempts, including four threes. Freshman backup point Markel Starks finished with six points.
Courtside Celebrities: It was not the sitting president, as when Barack Obama came to the Duke game last year, but Bill Clinton attended, greeted by an ovation when shown on the videoboard during a second-half timeout. Also, former Georgetown and NBA star Alonzo Mourning was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame at halftime. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards and Capitals, sat 10 seats down from him.
What It Means: The two teams were among the four bunched in the middle of the Big East standing with six losses each. Syracuse nudges ahead of the Hoyas, who now slide into the tangle below with seven losses - including bubble team Marquette, although the Hoyas are a tournament lock.
Up Next: Georgetown's regular-season finale is next Saturday at Cincinnati, in the rematch of Wednesday's stunner. Syracuse closes the regular season next Saturday at home against DePaul.