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

A Toe Short

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – They missed it by half a foot.

On the verge of pulling their third straight stunning upset on the road in as many games, the Hoyas came up painstakingly short, falling to No. 7 Syracuse 78-73 in overtime Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome.

Trailing by two with 30.6 seconds to play in regulation, Georgetown looked to be setting up for a game-winning three as time was winding down. When junior forward Brandon Bowman got the ball at the top of the key, however, he stepped up to avoid Syracuse junior guard Gerry McNamara. He created an open look and drilled the shot with 2.3 seconds to go, but part of his right foot had crossed the three-point line, and the shot was ruled a two. A review of the play by officials after time had expired confirmed the initial ruling, and the two teams headed for overtime tied at 67.

“I thought it was a three, but I guess my shoe was too big,” a dejected Bowman said after the game. “I wish it was size 14 instead of a size 17.”

It was a game that had the intensity of one nationally televised on CBS on the last Sunday of the regular season, not one confined to only regional cable in upstate New York in the middle of the week in January. The crowd of 23,485 had to be reminded of Syracuse-Georgetown battles of 15 and 20 years ago when legends like Ewing and Pearl, Mourning and Coleman, were running up and down the court.

“I’m kind of sorry [Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III] is back at Georgetown,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said. “That was a tremendous effort. They did all the things you had to do to win on the road. Our guys just wouldn’t let the game get away when we were down.”

The Hoyas, picked to finish 11th in the Big East in the preseason, had matched the Orange, the consensus pick to win the league, blow for blow for 40 minutes. In the extra session however, Georgetown finally showed signs of fatigue. Syracuse got off to a 7-0 run, the first time all game that either team led by more than five points, to take a 74-67 lead. Georgetown missed three of four free throws in overtime and four of six shots from the field.

McNamara, the conference’s leading three-point shooter, got hot in overtime after struggling through much of regulation and scored five of the Orange’s 11 points. In a game where he broke the Syracuse school record for career three-pointers made, he shot 6-15 from the field, finishing with 17 points. Syracuse’s other star, senior forward Hakim Warrick, showed why he’s regarded as one of the nation’s best. He played all 45 minutes, scored 25 points, and sunk two free throws at the end of overtime to seal the win.

The game could not have been closer throughout, with 10 lead changes and seven ties. Several times the Orange looked poised to break the game open behind the raucous home crowd, but every time the Hoyas managed to come up with a big shot to stay in the game. Freshman guard Jonathan Wallace paced the Hoyas in the first half. After opening up the game with an air ball and getting razzed for it by the Syracuse student section for most of the opening frame, Wallace rebounded with three huge threes in the final 3:16 of the half to keep Georgetown within striking distance. He was the only Hoya to make a field goal in the final 7:30 of the half and they trailed 36-32 going into the locker room.

Georgetown came out strong in the second half. A full court press caused back-to-back Syracuse turnovers and freshman forward Jeff Green’s lay-up capped off an 8-0 Georgetown run in the opening two minutes and gave Georgetown a 40-36 lead.

But foul trouble caught up with the Hoyas as the half wore on. Both Bowman and junior guard Ashanti Cook had already picked up three fouls in the first half. Cook played only 18 minutes in the game due to his foul trouble. Green was whistled for four fouls in the second half and fouled out with 4:44 remaining after scoring 12 points.

The Hoyas were clearly frustrated after being whistled for so many touch fouls away from the basket. “You feel like your arms have been decapitated,” Bowman said.

With three of their starters in foul trouble, freshman center Roy Hibbert helped to fill the void. The seven-footer played probably his best game as a Hoya. He scored 12 points and grabbed nine huge offensive rebounds, 14 boards in all, and earned the praise of Boeheim.

“Hibbert just got too much inside,” the Syracuse coach said. “He controlled the middle too much.”

The Orange improved to 17-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big East. The Hoyas fell to 11-5 and 3-2 in the conference. They will have to rebound quickly with another one of the conference’s top teams, Notre Dame, coming to MCI Center on Sunday. Georgetown has not defeated Notre Dame at home since 1998.

Although the Hoyas seem to be rapidly improving with every game, Thompson was in no mood to take a moral victory away from the tough loss at the Carrier Dome.

“We’re not going home the way we wanted too,” he said. “I wish we had won.”

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