The Hoyas gritted this one out. The game was similar in many respects to the UCONN game. Georgetown trailed by two possessions late in the game, this time with under two minutes to play, and still managed to get the points on the offensive end and the stops on the defensive end to win it. A very good team effort.
Four of the five starters for the Orange played over 40 minutes, with the fifth playing 39. So, once the game went beyond regulation, they had no legs left, and as a result, their shots kept coming up short in overtime.
There were lots of heroes of the game for the Hoyas, as it was a nice team effort. But, for me, Jessie Sapp came up huge. Donte Greene had just made a lucky hoop to push the Orange up by five with two minutes left in regulation. On the ensuing possession, Sapp drained a three to cut the lead to two, and then on the next defensive set, Jeremiah Rivers made a great defensive play to strip Jonny Flynn of the ball, Austin Freeman collected it and found Sapp, who took it all the way in for a lay-up to tie the game. Also, Sapp’s two free throws in overtime gave the Hoyas the lead for good. At least offensively, Sapp was the player of the game.
Jonny Flynn was amazing in the first half, using his quickness to blow past his defender, and his pullback jumper to nail three-pointers. But, as with all the Syracuse players, fatigue started to take its toll, and Flynn was the only player to be on the court for the entire 45 minutes. The result was that he was held without a point after the 8:59 mark in the second half. Give some of that credit to Jeremiah Rivers, whose smothering defense gave Flynn no space to move.
Coach Thompson did a good job managing the players, as he went offense-defense, bringing out the offensive-minded Jonathan Wallace and DaJuan Summers for the defensive intensity of Patrick Ewing Jr. and Rivers. The move paid dividends, as Rivers helped create the key defensive stop mentioned earlier, and Ewing harassed Greene, forcing turnovers and limiting his scoring.
As for Boeheim, he did what he does best: Complain.
The refereeing situation in this one was interesting. On the whole, I think they did a fine job in the sense of being consistent. There was a lot of hacking that went unpunished, on both ends, but I thought the players adjusted well to the way the game was called. Near the end of the game, there were a few calls that could have gone either way. But, again, they evened out, as the foul called on Greene’s three pointer didn’t really affect the shot, but maybe there was some contact that went uncalled on his next drive. All in all, though, I thought the refs did a good job in a very physical game.
There were a lot of Syracuse fans at this game, some of them sitting next to me. But the pro-Georgetown crowd made their fair share of noise, and it seemed like the entire lower bowl was standing from the four minute timeout until the final horn. Another big crowd, and another big win for the Hoyas.
Number of the Game
7: Minutes at the end of the game in which the Syracuse Orange failed to score a field goal. A combination of tired legs and intensified defense helped seal the fate of the Orange, as you won’t win many games with no field goals in the last seven minutes.
Jump it Up
Roy Hibbert took his first jump ball of the season, as Thompson elected to have Roy try to win the tip to start the overtime. He did, but the Hoyas failed to secure the ball, and the Orange had the first possession of the extra sesssion. Maybe this means Wallace will be next.