Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Need Consistency Against Orange

Sophomore center Greg Monroe scored 16 points in Wednesday's win over USF but was limited by foul trouble.
Sophomore center Greg Monroe scored 16 points in Wednesday’s win over USF but was limited by foul trouble.

NEW YORK – Georgetown was as different as night and day at times in its two losses to rival Syracuse this year.

Cut out the opening three minutes of the first game and the final 12 of the second contest, and the Orange outscored the Hoyas by 54 points. The rest of the time, Georgetown held a commanding 48-15 edge.

It’s as if the Hoyas had an on/off switch.

Georgetown will have a chance to build on the momentum from its February loss to Syracuse – when a furious comeback nearly erased a 23-point deficit – after beating South Florida in the second round of the Big East tournament on Wednesday. The eighth-seeded Hoyas earned a rematch with the top-seeded Orange Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals, and the key will be consistency.

“We just have to come out and execute on both ends of the floor,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “[Syracuse] puts a lot of pressure on you . because they don’t allow good shots and they find a way for them to get a good shot. You cannot be careless against them because they make you pay.”

In addition to consistent execution, Georgetown’s rotation needs stability after foul trouble forced Thompson to get creative with his substitution pattern. Four Hoyas finished with four fouls, and the starting frontcourt of Greg Monroe and Julian Vaughn were limited to 25 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Syracuse has a seemingly endless supply of big bodies to throw at Georgetown: starters Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku stand 6-foot-9, while Big East player of the year Wes Johnson and sixth man of the year Kris Joseph both measure 6-foot-7.

“They can hurt you in many ways,” Thompson said. “They’re long, and they have a terrific defense.”

Unlike its game against South Florida, Georgetown cannot allow a star like Dominique Jones – who had 21 of his team’s 49 points – to fill the basket while holding his teammates in check.

The Orange led the league in scoring margin and average over 81 points per game. Five players score in double figures and seven average at least eight points per game. If Johnson and Andy Rautins are not hitting three-pointers, then Jackson, Onuaku and Joseph are scoring in the paint.

\”They’ve done a very good job this year . of getting the shot for the person who should get the shot when that person should get the shot,\” Thompson said.

Picked by the coaches to finish sixth in the league, Syracuse won the regular season title with a 15-3 record and is widely considered a lock for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Johnson earned league player of the year honors by leading the Orange in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg) in his first season after transferring. Head Coach Jim Boeheim was named Big East coach of the year.

Given a double bye as one of the tournament’s top four teams, Syracuse has not played since a Saturday loss at Louisville when the Orange were ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Though Boeheim and his team have had the week off, they did not know their opponent until this afternoon, something that may help Georgetown.

“[Georgetown is] a very difficult team to play against with one day of preparation – more like just a walk-through – because they play such a unique style,” USF Head Coach Stan Heath said after the Hoyas beat the Bulls 69-49. “I think they’re going to have success in these kinds of formats.”

Thursday’s noon quarterfinal at Madison Square Garden will be between two mainstays at the Big East tournament. Since the tournament began in 1980, the Hoyas and Orange have combined for 12 titles and hold two of the highest winning percentages – Georgetown is 46-22 (.676) and Syracuse is 45-24 (.652).

If the Hoyas hope to pull off an upset, they will need that kind of consistency for 40 minutes of basketball.

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