Syracuse, Georgetown renew old Big East rivalry

NCAA Basketball

The return from a lengthy layoff saw Syracuse squander an 18-point lead on its homecourt to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Now the Orange hope there is not a carryover effect Saturday night when they host former Big East rival Georgetown.

The Orange (6-2, 5-1 Big East) are playing just their second game since Dec. 19 after being forced to pause due to COVID-19 issues. Before Wednesday’s 63-60 loss, Syracuse had ACC games against Notre Dame, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Florida State postponed.

The return started well as the Orange raced out to a 30-12 lead and held a 14-point lead by halftime. Then things turned south as Syracuse was outscored 45-28 after halftime and wound up being outrebounded 49-33 while allowing 20 offensive rebounds.

Part of the problem was limited action for Quincy Guerrier, who leads the Orange in scoring (16.1) and rebounds (9.3). Due to foul trouble, he played 17 minutes and was limited to three points and five rebounds.

“The boards are a problem for us anyway,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said, “but with Quincy out, we’re unbelievably thin and small. there’s no question about that.”

Alan Griffin led the Orange with 15 points but shot 6-of-16 and is 4-of-18 from 3-point range in his last three games. Buddy Boeheim was held to eight points and he is 2-for-18 from 3-point range in his last three games after shooting 41 percent from behind the arc last season.

Georgetown (3-7, 0-3) has lost four straight since a wild 97-94 overtime home win over St. John’s on Dec. 13. The Hoyas scored 83 points in the first loss of their skid but have averaged 60.7 points in losses to Seton Hall, Marquette, and Butler.

Georgetown followed up blowing an 18-point lead last Saturday at home to Marquette with a 63-55 loss at Butler on Wednesday. The Hoyas shot 33.9 percent and held a 44-32 rebounding margin but also committed 15 turnovers and blew a seven-point halftime lead.

During the skid, Georgetown is shooting just 36.2 percent from the field (92-of-254) and has committed 59 turnovers. The Hoyas have at least 12 giveaways in each of their first 10 games.

“Same thing that’s been going on for the last however many games,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “Bad decisions. Bad shots. Turnovers. The same things that’s been our Achilles’ heel.”

Jahvon Blair is Georgetown’s top scorer at 18.2 points but shot 4-of-16 and was held to 11 points Wednesday. Jamorko Pickett led the Hoyas with 12 points Wednesday but also is shooting 31.1 percent (14-of-45) during the losing streak.

Saturday is the 96th meeting between the schools. The Orange lead the series 51-44 and took an 89-76 loss at Georgetown on Dec. 22, 2019, in the last meeting.

–Field Level Media

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