Hoyas dominate final regular-season Big East meeting with Syracuse
Washington, DC – It certainly didn't have the drama of past Syracuse-Georgetown matchups, as the Hoyas completely dominated the final Big East meeting between the long-time rivals Saturday at the Verizon Center.
Markel Starks scored 19 points and D'Vaun Smith-Rivera added 15, as the fifth- ranked Hoyas pulled away in the second half for a 61-39 victory over the Orange. Georgetown earned a share of the Big East regular-season title and also wrapped up the top overall seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
"It is really special, on many different levels. It's special because the Big East as we have known it, is ending. We won the first game, and we won the last one," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said.
Otto Porter carried Georgetown to a victory at Syracuse two weeks ago with 33 points, but didn't make a shot from the floor until the second half in this one. He finished with just 10 points, but contributed eight rebounds and seven assists as the Hoyas (24-5, 14-4 Big East) bounced back from Wednesday's loss at Villanova to win for the 12th time in their last 13 games.
Michael Carter-Williams was the lone Syracuse player in double figures with 17 points. C.J. Fair added nine for the 17th-ranked Orange (23-8, 11-7), who closed the regular season with four losses in five games and failed to earn a double-bye for next week's tournament at Madison Square Garden.
The Orange will be seeded fifth in the event and face either Seton Hall or South Florida in Wednesday's second round.
"I thought today the Georgetown defense was just better, way better than our offense. We just didn't handle their defense," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said.
Despite a Georgetown sweep for the first time since 2001-02, Syracuse still owns a 48-41 advantage in the all-time series against the Hoyas. While the Orange will head to the ACC next season and Saturday's game marked the end of the conference rivalry, there has been speculation that the two original Big East members might continue the series as non-conference opponents.
Syracuse's recent slump began with a 57-46 loss to Georgetown two weeks ago at the Carrier Dome, a setback that ended the Orange's 38-game home winning streak.
Georgetown locked down on defense two weeks ago and did the same on Saturday, contesting nearly every Syracuse shot. The Orange, meanwhile, didn't play much defense as the Hoyas consistently found open areas in the usually potent Syracuse zone.
The Hoyas shot 42 percent overall and drained 9-of-22 from beyond the arc, led by a combined 8-of-16 performance from Starks and Smith-Rivera.
Georgetown closed the first half with the final five points for a 25-18 lead and opened the second half with the first seven to build a 14-point margin. Syracuse quickly ran off the next seven in less than a minute, but Porter drained a foul line jumper for his field goal of the game and Starks hit from beyond the arc to extend the advantage back to 12.
A bucket by Carter-Williams stemmed the tide, but only momentarily, as Georgetown ran off the next seven for a 44-27 cushion with just over 11 minutes remaining. Syracuse never recovered and fell behind by 21 when Smith- Rivera buried a jumper for a 52-31 lead with just under six minutes to play.
Starks scored the first eight points for Georgetown and Smith-Rivera followed with the next eight as the Hoyas opened a 16-11 lead with just under 8 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Syracuse drew within 20-18 on a jumper by Fair, but the Hoyas scored the final five points -- a three by Smith-Rivera and two free throws by Porter for his only two points of the opening 20 minutes.
Georgetown made 5-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half and held Syracuse to 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and 28 percent from the field overall.
Jabril Trawick scored 11 points for Georgetown ... Syracuse finished 1-for-11 from beyond the arc ... Syracuse seniors James Southerland and Brandon Triche combined to shoot 1-for-17 overall.