Syracuse, NY – Kris Joseph scored a career-high 29 points and winning shot in overtime, as No. 2 Syracuse downed No. 12 61, on Wednesday.
The Orange (24-1, 11-1 Big East) have won four straight since a loss at Notre Dame on January 21. They got 11 points, seven rebounds and six blocks from Fab Melo, who returned from a three-game absence in Saturday's rout of St. John's.
With Wednesday's victory, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim surpassed the legendary Dean Smith for third on the all-time Division I list with 880 career wins.
"This was a disaster game as far as I'm concerned," said Boeheim, expressing disdain over his team's 52-35 rebounding deficit. "I'm very disappointed at this stage of the year to get beat like that on the boards. You can miss shots, that's part of the game, but we've got to find a way to rebound the ball better."
Otto Porter had a team-high 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Hoyas (18-5, 8-4), who had won two in a row and five of six coming in. Jason Clark added 12 points and Hollis Thompson finished with 10 and 10 boards.
Syracuse was up 54-48 late in regulation, but Clark sandwiched a pair of threes around a Joseph foul shot to pull the Hoyas within one, 55-54, with 1:36 on the clock. Greg Whittington then tied the game, 55-55, with a free throw after grabbing a Dion Waiters miss and drawing a loose ball foul on C.J. Fair.
After missing the second foul shot, Whittington got his own rebound, but Melo blocked Henry Sims' shot in the paint with 31 seconds to play. Syracuse held for the final shot, but Waiters' three-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.
It was 61-61 in overtime when Scoop Jardine drove the lane and found Joseph for the go-ahead three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining. Jardine then forced a Clark turnover with five ticks left, sealing the Syracuse win.
"We couldn't really make much until Kris bailed us out," said Boeheim. "He made some shots for us. Nobody else was really comfortable and didn't look comfortable shooting the ball."
Georgetown held the largest lead of a back-and-forth first half -- a 29-23 advantage which was built behind consecutive jumpers from Markel Starks and Clark.
The Hoyas were up 31-27 at the break, but Jardine opened the second half with a three-point play and Joseph followed with a layup to put the Orange on top.
Brandon Triche's three had Syracuse up 35-31, but Porter and Mikael Hopkins each answered with a jumper, tying the game and triggering a tightly contested finish.
Neither team led by more than two until Melo made a reverse layup and Joseph drained a trey off of a Melo block for a 54-48 lead with 4 1/2 minutes to play.
Joseph went 6-of-11 from three-point range. He entered Wednesday leading Syracuse in scoring at 13.7 points per game...Syracuse owns a 48-39 advantage in the all-time series...The Orange have won 19 straight home games...Melo was forced to sit out three games for unspecified reasons, although it was believed to be an academic issue.