Hot damn did that feel good!
Georgetown went into a hostile road environment in the Carrier Dome and won with 27,000 of the most vile scum on Earth screaming their heads off. But when the final buzzer sounded, a perfect silence reigned supreme. It was music to Hoya fans' ears.
More positivity after The Jump:
The Hoyas were masterful as they carved up the Syracuse zone that had perplexed them for so many years. The way Georgetown tore up the zone towards the end of last year's matchup at home was the beginning, we did it for a whole game in the BET, and it seems that JTIII has finally learned how to beat it. I admit that even I was worried at one point that we would always have trouble beating Cuse because our styles naturally clashed. The Princeton Offense is designed to take advantage of man-to-man defenses and Boeheim, of course, employs a zone. If it had been another team that constantly had our number it would've been less concerning, but our struggles against Syracuse's zone was admittedly troubling. But no longer.
Georgetown got into the middle of the zone with passes and drives, hitting open cutters and shooters. It was beautiful to watch our ball movement. We rotated multiple players through the middle of the zone. I'm fairly certain every single player flashed into that area at some point, save Markel Starks and possibly Austin Freeman. Usually a team will employ a single player to be the zone buster in the middle, but we did a great job of rotating players in and out, and giving Syracuse different looks and not letting them get comfortable. Julian Vaughn did a very good job in this position as did Chris Wright. It was a brilliant move by JTIII to have Chris work in the middle of the zone. His lack of height would seemingly be a detriment, but his amazing court vision and quick decision making made him lethal in the high post.
The second brilliant twist coach employed was to post up Julian against the center of the zone. With our shooters spreading the floor, it left Julian one on one in the post as the zone was not able to collapse in fear of giving up an easy 3. Just like opposing fans, opposing coaches don't respect Julian's post game and are paying for it dearly. Julian hit shot after shot in these one on one situations. We don't have a post game my ass! The great thing about this team is our opponents have to pick their poison. I can't really blame teams for focusing our vaunted guard trio instead of our interior game, but do so at your own risk.
The third brilliant move JTIII employed was the way our defense neutralized Syracuse's two best players Rick Jackson and Kris Joseph. JTIII had Jackson's number. Jackson loves going to his right shoulder, so the Hoyas sat right on his right shoulder and waited for Jackson to lower his shoulder and bowl into them. Jackson of course complied and never adapted, lacking a counter move. The Hoyas had Joseph equally scouted. He can only drive to his right and once he starts driving he will go straight to the hoop. Our players did a great job knowing Joseph's tendencies and sliding in to take charges.
Our defense was excellent especially in the second half where we had a Defensive Rating of 81.9 and held them to 38.6% eFG% Forced them into 26.2% TO%, limited them to 26.7% Offensive Rebounding % 14.3% 3pt shooting and only 25 points. This was the only BE game to date where our opponent has had more turnovers than we did.
Meanwhile we did a great job on the boards on both ends, grabbing 57.1% of our misses in the second half and 45% for the game. We also did great shooting the ball - 50% on 3's in the first half and 58.8% from 2 in the second half. Most importantly, we had an 83.3% assist rate! 20 assists on 24 made shots is spectacular and a testament to how well we were moving the ball.
I was never really worried in the game because we were moving the ball so well and getting great shots all game. We didn't hit everything, but we were getting looks nonetheless. We turned up the pressure late and Cuse cracked while our players turned into diamonds. With 9 minutes to go we were down four 51-47. Cuse only scored 5 points the rest of the way a layup with 6:40 to go and 3 foul shots. That's a 17-5 run to end the game. We completely shut down Syracuse.
And the Most Positive Thing: WE BEAT SYRACUSE AT THE DOME!
Austin Freeman: This is Austin's 9th straight double digit game. It wasn't even an amazing game by Austin, we didn't need Awesome Freeman in this game. His mere presence is a valuable weapon against the zone causing the zone to have to shade his way. Austin still managed to hit two 3's and be our leading scorer with 14pts. He also had 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Chris Wright: Did an amazing job on both ends of the floor. He controlled the game beautifully and shredded Cuse's D. Chris did an equally good job defensively. The box score only credits Georgetown with 2 blocks, but Henry got 1 too. The two blocks they did count both came from Chris Wright, the most impressive coming against Jackson. Chris had 3 fewer assists than the entire Syracuse team (9 vs. 12). Chris also added 6 points and 5 rebounds to his amazing stat line.
Jason Clark: Did a very good job spreading the court. Knocked down two 3's and two layups down the stretch and two free throws to cement the win. Jason also had 3 rebounds 5 assists and a steal.
Julian Vaughn: This is Julian's 3rd straight double digit game. Julian is a beast. 12 points 8 rebounds an assist and a steal. He drew a charge against Jackson and generally forced him into 1-6 shooting. Just went to work on offense hitting layups and nifty hookers in the lane.
Nate Lubick: Set the tone against Jackson. Took the the early charge and did a good job defending him. He's also clearly learning as he dunked the ball without slapping the backboard.
Hollis Thompson: Great Great game for Hollis, going 3-3 from beyond the arc and hitting big shot after big shot. Kid is clutch. He also did a great job defensively. 5 rebound 2 assists 2 steals and 0 turnovers. Can't say enough about how well he played. He was +16 in +/- only equaled by Chris.
Jerrelle Benimon: Don't think he did anything bad yesterday his defensive numbers were good again. He didn't record a turnover.
Henry Sims: Well it wasn't Henry's best game. He did get a key offensive rebound and was fouled. He also blocked a shot but it wasn't counted.
Markel Starks: Played his best game as a Hoya. Knocked down a 3 early and finished on the break through contact. He also did a good job moving the ball up top while Chris was on the interior of the zone.
Georgetown has won 7 in a row. Might as well make is 8! Marquette is a dangerous team. They have an excellent offense and desperately need wins in order to make the NCAA tournament. Georgetown on the road would be a great scalp for them. The Hoyas will also be at a disadvantage because I won't be at the game. So everyone else is going to have to bring it in my absence.