Positive PostGame Prognosis: Syracuse

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Austin Freeman #15 of the Georgetown Hoyas reacts to a basket during a college basketball game against the Syracuse Orange on February 26, 2011 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC The Orange 58-54. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Look, no one likes losing to Syracuse, but as far as losses to Syracuse go, this one was fairly tolerable for me. Given the circumstances of this game, Georgetown performed admirably.

Despite not having Chris Wright, Georgetown showed it has what it takes to compete with one of the elite teams in the nation.  The Hoyas were in position to win this game even without its point guard, emotional leader, and arguably most valuable player.  Clearly, this was a very encouraging sign.

The Hoyas had to overcome a lot of things in addition to the loss of Chris Wright, and most of the Hoyas' difficulties were self-created. Georgetown turned the ball over entirely too much which led to easy baskets for Syracuse.  This was clearly the direct result of the absence of Wright. Reduce those 21 points off of turnovers and Georgetown wins that game.  The second major reason for the loss, was just that our shots were not falling. We got plenty of good 3pt opportunities that just did not fall.  Another thing that would've lead to a Hoya win is the refs calling any fouls in this game, but unlike Cuse fans I can realize this was not the primary reason we lost.

The fact that we were able to compete and nearly win with a subpar performance and without our best player speaks volumes about the capabilities of this team.  The Hoyas did a lot of things well in this game that not only bode well for the rest of the season, but also for next year.  For starters, the Hoyas did a great job on the boards in this game. The Hoyas outrebounded Syracuse 39-30 including a 13-9 edge on the offensive glass.  More impressively, Syracuse was only able to gather 25.7% of their misses for the game. The Hoyas did great on the defensive glass throughout the game.  They also did a great job 43.8% on the offensive glass in the second half.

On Senior Day, the Hoyas got some huge contributions from the youngsters. Markel Starks, Vee Sanford, Henry Sims, Jason Clark, and Nate Lubick all played huge minutes and showed that the Hoyas a lot to look forward to for years to come. The young guards did a great job helping out in the absence of Chris Wright and Henry Sims had one of his best games of the year. Jason was one of our only consistent 3pt threat and did great defensively, while Nate continued his solid all around contributions.

The Hoyas Fought! This was extremely encouraging. Down 10 at half with the shots not falling, without Chris, and the calls not seeming to go their way it would be fairly easy to go quietly into the night.  But, the Hoyas refused to do so.

Player Evaluations:

Austin Freeman: He fought valiantly in his final home game. He led the Hoyas in scoring with 16 points. Unfortunately his 3pt shot was just not falling with consistency. He had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Austin did us proud.

Julian Vaughn: Struggled against a Syracuse team that was allowed to be physical with him. His shots were not falling. Hit 3-4 from the FT line and grabbed a team high 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Picked up a huge charge in the final minutes.

Jason Clark: Hit 3 of 7 from deep spurring Georgetown to the run that helped them take the lead. He was also the best defender of people who played real minutes. He posted a great 77.4 defensive rating. He scored 11pts had 7 rebounds and a steal.

Nate Lubick: His stats belie how well he played and how clutch as his 4 points were to tie and to take the lead halfway through the second half. He also had 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Hollis Thomson: Was not his best game. His shot just was not falling in this game. He did manage to grab some rebounds(3) and block 2 shots. He was also the only Hoya who was able to get fouled shooting half of the Hoyas 12 free throws.

Henry Sims: Great great game for Hank.  6 points 4 rebounds an assist and a block for the game is very good. His stats did not do him justice as he did a great job moving the ball in the center of the zone. he had the second highest offensive rating for the hoyas at 119.9. He was also very good defensively: 82.3.

Markel Starks: Best game of the year for Markel who stepped up well with Chris on the bench. He drained 2/3 form 3pt range. He also played very good defense: 83.7. He also had a team high offensive rating of 136.6. He had 2 rebounds an assist and no turnovers.

Vee Sanford: Did an admirable job in this game he hit his patented runner and did a good job moving the ball on offense. Also grabbed a rebound and had an assist. He also played well defensively: 86.3.

Jerrelle Benimon: Only saw 2 minutes of playing time. He did not have a turnover and recorded a rebound. Again Statistically was very good defensively during his 5 defensive possessions: 16.0.

Georgetown's late season slide has mirrored the slide to start the Big East season rather remarkably.  The early season stretch was mostly due to poor shooting, as has the late season slide. They have both gone: loss, win, loss, loss. The wins were both against two of the worst teams in the conference. I think it's very possible that the Hoyas can make a similar 8-0 run following what could be a 1-4 or a 2-3 slide.  Winning @ Cincinnati will be tough as ball-handling will be tested by Cincinnati's pressure.

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