In its biggest challenge of the season so far, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-1, Big East) fell to rival Syracuse (9-1, ACC), 86-79 in overtime. The first loss of the season, and the Patrick Ewing era, for the Hoyas came after leading for most of the second half.
Junior center Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 21 points to go along with his eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Jagan Mosely added 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists. For the Orange, sophomore guard Tyus Battle led all scorers with 29 and freshman forward Oshae Brissett finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
The game between these two historic rivals started off slow, with the Orange holding a 10-7 lead after 10 minutes of play.
“Both teams struggled so much offensively in the first half, it was painful,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “Some of it’s defense, but it was mostly really bad offense.”
Georgetown couldn’t seem to break down the Syracuse zone in the half-court, but were able to score points in transition through Mosely and led 28-24 after halftime.
“We wanted to get stops and try to run on them,” said Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing.
The Hoyas came out strong in the second half, continuing to push the ball in transition, while also finding more success against the zone. Mosely hit two free throws with 10:58 remaining to give Georgetown a 53-40 lead, their largest of the game.
To try and get back in the game, Syracuse began an aggressive full court press. The Hoyas looked vulnerable against the press, and while they were usually able to break it, the increased pace of play worked to the Orange’s advantage.
“Sometimes you go for the press and just hope,” Boeheim said.
Battle and Brissett made clutch plays down the stretch to narrow the gap.
To top it off, Georgetown junior forward Marcus Derrickson fouled out after an offensive foul with 5:15 remaining, and from that point on, the Orange dominated the glass, ultimately out rebounding the Hoyas 44-37 and grabbing 19 offensive boards to Georgetown’s nine.
“We had to play small, and that hurt us on the glass,” Ewing said of Derrickson fouling out.
With momentum now favoring the Orange, Georgetown’s lead continued to shrink, and Battle hit a three with 1:30 remaining to cut the lead to two. On the following play, Syracuse junior guard Frank Howard stripped Govan and ran the floor for an easy layup, tying the game at 69 a piece. A missed Govan jumper gave Syracuse a chance to win it, but the Orange couldn’t put the ball in the net despite two offensive rebounds on the possession.
Syracuse continued to look like the better team to start the overtime period. Battle hit two threes on the Orange’s first few possessions of overtime to help give his team a lead that it would not relinquish.
“That’s on me. That was two bad closeouts,” Mosely said. “It felt like four threes. That’s how bad it hurt for me.”
Battle and Brissett finished the game a combined 10-18 from deep and both played the entire 45 minutes.
Defensively, Georgetown used a zone for most of the game, something they had not done much of so far this season.
“It was something we needed to do, especially with their size,” Ewing said of using more zone.
The crowd at Capital One Arena was buzzing throughout the game, including the sizeable turnout of Syracuse fans. The attendance of over 15,000 was the largest for the Hoyas this season by more than 5,000.
“It was a great atmosphere but a bad outcome,” Ewing said.
The Hoyas’ next game is a home meeting with North Texas on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more game updates and breaking news.
Image Credits: Francis Kpue/The Georgetown Voice