SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Who says Syracuse doesn't have a go-to
Kris Joseph scored a career-high 29 points, including the
64-61 on Wednesday night to give coach Jim Boeheim his 880th career
Joseph finished with a career-high six 3-pointers on 11 attempts
after going 0 for 8 in the previous three games.
"I was getting open shots. I was just taking them," Joseph
said. "I wasn't trying to force the issue or do anything out of
character. I was just playing ball."
Boeheim, a master of the 2-3 zone defense, took sole possession
of third place all-time in wins in Division I, one more than North
Carolina's Dean Smith, but it wasn't easy against the Orange's
rival. Syracuse shot 34.9 percent, a tick better than it did in its
only loss of the season at Notre Dame.
"Kris bailed us out," said Boeheim. "Nobody else looked
really comfortable shooting the ball. We really struggled
offensively. We just didn't attack their zone. We couldn't really
make much. We haven't seen a lot of zone, but that's not a good
excuse. We play it every day in practice."
The game was tied at 55 after regulation, and freshman Otto
Porter scored the first four points of overtime for the Hoyas,
swishing two free throws and hitting a baseline jumper to give
Georgetown 61-59 lead with 2:19 left.
Dion Waiters tied it with a pair of free throws for the Orange,
and after Porter lost the ball out of bounds at the other end,
Scoop Jardine fed Joseph in the left corner, and he buried his
final 3 of the game with 29 seconds left.
"Obviously, he was having a terrific night," Georgetown coach
John Thompson III said. "We had some type of breakdown in
communication. He ended up wide-open and banged the shot."
Jardine, who finished with eight assists, sealed it by forcing a
turnover by Jason Clark with 4.9 seconds to go, allowing Syracuse
(24-1, 11-1 Big East) to remain unbeaten at home at 16-0.
Georgetown (18-5, 8-4) had won five of six entering the game.
"They played well," said Clark, who finished with 12 points.
"Knocked the ball out of my hands."
Fab Melo had 11 points, seven rebounds and six blocks for
Syracuse in his second game back after missing three because of an
academic issue. The 7-foot Melo logged a career-high 39 minutes and
a force down low as usual. Whether intimidated or not, 6-10 Henry
Sims had an awful game, going 1 for 12 from the floor and finishing
with six points and eight rebounds.
"The ball just wouldn't go in," Thompson said. "He was
getting the ball in pretty good position right under the basket. At
the end of the day, he got it right there and the ball didn't go
in. It happens sometimes. Fab played a role in it, but a lot of
them I don't think Fab was anywhere around."
Syracuse won again despite being dominated on the glass 52-35.
The Orange have been beaten on the boards 12 times on the season,
seven in conference, a concern as the season winds down.
"We know that's a problem," Joseph said. "At the end of the
day, we have to go get it. Rebounding and defense are going to win
us a championship -- we have to do a better job."
Porter led Georgetown with 14 points and Hollis Thompson 10.
The 87th meeting between the staunch rivals -- Syracuse leads
48-39 -- had added significance. With Syracuse's impending move to
the Atlantic Coast Conference, it might have been the last time the
teams meet as Big East foes in the Carrier Dome.
It turned into one to remember for the crowd of 27,820.
Syracuse held Georgetown, second in the Big East from long range
at over 36.4 percent, to 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) from beyond the
"They have a terrific defense. Their defense keeps you at
bay," John Thompson III said. "I thought with a few exceptions we
executed our game plan of getting the ball into the middle of the
zone and then having that guy find who's open. We got decent looks.
The ball didn't go in."
Syracuse, which trailed 31-27 at halftime, scored the first
eight points of the second to gain the lead. After that, neither
team led by more than three points until Waiters energized the
Orange. He fed Melo under the basket for an underhand layup, and
after Melo blocked a shot by Mikael Hopkins, Waiters drove the lane
and passed back out to Joseph, who drained a 3 for a 54-48 lead
with 4:36 left.
Clark came right back for the Hoyas, hitting his first 3-pointer
of the game 14 seconds later to make it a three-point game. After
turnovers by both teams, C.J. Fair blocked Sims under the basket
and Sims missed the follow.
Jardine missed at the shot clock buzzer with just under 2
minutes left and Clark struck again, hitting a long 3 from the top
of the key to move the Hoyas within 55-54 with 1:36 left.
Greg Whittington's free throw tied it with 1 minute left and
Melo's block on Sims gave the Orange the chance for the win in
regulation, but Waiters missed from the top of the key.
In their only loss, the Orange were beaten 38-25 on the glass in
that 68-57 setback at Notre Dame last month. Georgetown
outrebounded Syracuse 26-17 in a tight first half that was tied
five times, with the Hoyas gaining the largest lead, 29-23, on
Clark's runner with 1:54 left.
Syracuse regrouped quickly. Waiters fed Joseph for a dunk and
two free throws by Brandon Triche had the Orange back within 31-27
at the break.
Georgetown shot 39.4 percent in the period, 3 of 13 from long
range, while the Orange, the top shooting team in the conference,
shot just 29 percent, going 2 for 11 on 3s.
Syracuse started the second half with that spurt as Sims and
Clark each picked up their third fouls in a 26-second span. Jardine
ignited the surge with a pretty layup high off the glass and over
the outstretched arms of Sims. Jardine, who was fouled on the play,
converted the free throw for a three-point play and Triche's 3 from
the right wing gave Syracuse a 35-31 lead just over 2 minutes into
Despite the fact that Syracuse leads the Big East in scoring at
78.1 points per game, a low-scoring affair was expected. Georgetown
entered the game tops in the Big East in scoring defense, allowing
58.6 points per game, and tops in defending the long ball, allowing
a conversion rate of just 27.6 percent. The Hoyas also had limited
four Big East opponents to under 50 points, including their last
two triumphs, over Connecticut and South Florida.
- Bob Donato
- Sean Corbin