Joseph Carries Orange to OT Win
Syracuse 64, Georgetown 61 (OT)
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 10, 2012 03:02
For the second time in four years, Georgetown pushed Syracuse to overtime in the Carrier Dome but ultimately fell short. Syracuse senior forward Kris Joseph was left wide open to hit his sixth three of the game with 30 seconds left in overtime, sealing a 64-61 win for the No. 2 Orange (24-1, 11-1 Big East) over archrival No. 11 Georgetown (18-5, 8-4 Big East).
The game wasn't without controversy, though, as sharpshooter Hollis Thompson was not allowed to check in for the Hoyas' last possession. The junior forward was the victim of a seldom-enforced rule dictating that a player checking in must be at the scorer's table before the buzzer signaling the end of the timeout. Without Thompson on the floor, senior guard Jason Clark was the Hoyas' clear option for the game-tying three-point attempt and was swarmed by defenders, resulting in a turnover with 4.9 seconds left. Although Syracuse sophomore guard Dion Waiters missed both free throws, Thompson's full-court attempt was tipped and the Orange escaped.
The game started promisingly for the Hoyas, who never trailed by more than one in the first half after Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo's game-opening dunk. Although the Blue and Gray shot only 39.4 percent from the field in the opening stanza, they crushed their hosts on the boards, pulling down 24 rebounds to Syracuse's 11. Freshman forward Otto Porter gave the Orange bigs fits on the glass, grabbing nine first-half rebounds and created several other opportunities for his teammates with his effort on the boards.
Despite their massive rebounding edge, the Blue and Gray were only up four at the half. The Orange, who shot an abysmal 29 percent from the floor in the first half but were bolstered by a 7-of-8 performance from the charity stripe, were able to keep the game close by not fouling and holding Georgetown's three-point shooters to a 3-of-13 mark.
Whatever Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim — who moved into third place in NCAA history with 880 career wins — said to his team at halftime worked, as the Orange opened the second half on an 8-0 run. Georgetown quickly righted the ship after a timeout by Thompson III, and the game stayed close as the clock ticked towards zero.
Joseph's three with 4:39 left gave Syracuse a six-point lead, their largest of the game, and sent the packed Carrier Dome into a frenzy. Clark responded with two treys in the next two minutes, both from several feet beyond the arc. It was a bit of vindication for the senior, who had struggled to establish any kind of offensive flow due to second-half foul trouble.
Clark wasn't the only senior dealing with foul trouble, as center Henry Sims struggled to stay on the court for much of the second half. The foul trouble combined with Melo's impressive defense to create one of Sims' worst games of the season; the 6-foot-10 center shot a miserable 1-of-12 from the floor and had three turnovers. The closing minutes of regulation were particularly painful, as Sims missed several shots from very close in before having a potentially game-winning turnaround jumper blocked by Melo on Georgetown's final regulation possession.
Sims' backup didn't help matters much, either. Freshman forward Mikael Hopkins made some nice defensive plays and was a presence on the boards, but shot a similarly awful 1-of-8. Rough shooting nights from the two big men and sophomore point guard Markel Starks (3-of-10, 1-of-8 from long range) played a big role in Georgetown's second-half offensive struggles.
The Blue and Gray compensated for their poor shooting with a solid showing at the line — even rebounding one of their two second-half misses with the game tied and one minute left — but in the end it just wasn't enough. Joseph, who had been left wide open behind the arc with two minutes left in overtime only to surprisingly brick the jumper, didn't miss the second time around. Thompson was stuck on the bench as the Hoyas tried to find a response to Joseph's trey, and Clark had the ball knocked out of his hands. Just like that, Syracuse won its 24th game of the year.Georgetown has the opportunity to get back on track Sunday, when St. John's visits Verizon Center.
Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.