Despite leading by 13 points at halftime, the Georgetown men’s basketball team could not hold onto its lead in a 72-71 loss to longtime rival Syracuse University.

In front of a crowd of 24,082 at the Carrier Dome, the game was a tale of two halves: The Hoyas (7-2) were outscored 50-36 in the second frame. The Orange (7-2) shot 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from three in the second half en route to the win.

Senior center Jessie Govan, who scored a team-high 22 points, gave the Hoyas a 71-70 lead with a three-pointer with just over a minute remaining in the fourth. On the ensuing possession, Syracuse junior guard Tyus Battle nailed a tough pull-up jumper to secure the win for the Orange, their fifth straight victory.

DERRICK ARTHUR-CUDJOE/THE HOYA | The Hoyas lost 72-71 to their longtime rival, the Orange, after leading in the first half of the game.

The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry is a classic matchup in college basketball history. The schools started playing each other in the 1930s but clashed most notably in the 1980s when Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) was the Hoyas’ center.

Freshman guard Mac McClung, who scored 18 points, felt right at home on the big stage when he opened the scoring for the game with a three-pointer to put Georgetown up 3-0. Georgetown maintained its lead going into the second half, as it held Syracuse to 25 percent shooting from the floor.  

In the second half, Syracuse slowly chipped into Georgetown’s lead. The Orange went on a 7-0 run to take a 54-48 lead, their first of the game, with 9:52 left to play.

Senior guard Greg Malinowski responded by scoring nine of Georgetown’s next 11 points, keeping the Hoyas in the game with three straight three-pointers. Malinowski’s 11 second-half points in the game were his most this season.

Freshman forward Josh LeBlanc tied the game at 60, which was then followed by seven lead changes down the stretch. After trailing 62-60, sophomore guard Jahvon Blair made a deep three-pointer, and Malinowski made a pair of free throws to put the Hoyas up 65-62 with 4:50 remaining.

Leading 71-70 with under a minute remaining, Ewing did not call his final timeout, and Georgetown could not extend the lead. Junior guard Jagan Mosely was called for a charge on a hard drive to his right, giving Syracuse its final opportunity with 10 seconds left.

The Orange capitalized as Battle scored the game-winner on the next trip down the floor. Battle led the Orange in scoring with 26 points on 8-18 shooting. Battle also was the Orange’s highest scorer in last season’s matchup when he scored 29 points at Capital One Arena.

For the game, Georgetown outrebounded Syracuse 45-34 but turned the ball over 15 times, leading to 19 of its opponent’s points.

The Blue and Gray head home and return to action Saturday, Dec. 15, to host the Southern Methodist University Mustangs (6-4). With tipoff scheduled for 12:07 p.m., the game will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 as well as streamed on the radio on The Team 980 FM.

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