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GAME PREVIEW: Syracuse Orange at Georgetown Hoyas

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Game 10: Syracuse Orange (5-4) at Georgetown Hoyas (6-3)

When: Saturday 1 pm

Where: Capital One Arena

Series: Syracuse leads 51-43

Last Meeting: Syracuse won 72-71 in the Carrier Dome last season

TV: FOX

Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)

KenPom Rankings: Georgetown 47, Syracuse 50

KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 75-71 (63 percent)

Line: Hoyas – 3, 148.5 o/u

ATS: Georgetown has yet to cover as a favorite in five games and has lost twice (PSU, UNCG).

It’s next man up mentality. That’s the mentality that I’ve had on every team I’ve ever played on. It’s next man up no matter what happens, no matter what goes on the next man has to step up because you have to continue to try and get a win every single night.

– Hoyas senior grad transfer guard Terrell Allen

The latest edition of the Georgetown – Syracuse rivalry could very well be decided by player that just a few weeks ago might not have seen much time on the court at all. Grad-transfer Terrell Allen has been thrust into the spotlight due to some major roster turnover and he’s handled it really, really well. Now he’s going to be a major player as the Hoyas try to break a two-game slide to the Orange and get coach Patrick Ewing his first win in the series.

But first, let’s backtrack to find out more about Allen.

Last year at this time Allen was starting for Central Florida and working on leading the Knights back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. Ultimately Allen was successful as UCF earned an at-large bid for the first time in program history, won their first-round game and then took Duke and Zion to the buzzer before just falling short.

With a year of eligibility remaining, Allen made what seemed to be a curious decision at the time in coming back home to play for Ewing at Georgetown. With both Mac McClung and James Akinjo expected to take a lion’s share of the minutes at guard and with upperclassmen Jagan Mosely (senior) and Jahvon Blair (junior) back in the fold, playing time was no certain thing.

The DeMatha product only scored 16 points through the first seven games. Since moving into the starting lineup he has 17 and is averaging 31 minutes per game. More importantly he’s dished out 15 assists since Akinjo said goodbye to the program.

How was Allen, who is now at this third college in five years, able to transition so well from reserve to starter?

“Coach Patrick wants me to play my game,” Allen said on Wednesday.

“He knows what I’m capable of doing. I know what I’m capable of doing. I just try and go out there and play my game every single night.”

With the roster dwindling by the day, Allen knows that he’s going to need to play more and look to score more even though he’s playing the point.

“He talked to me about it,” Allen said about Ewing’s instructions to become more involved and look for his shot. “Those are going to be there at times especially with a lot of teams being targeted on Mac and Omer. There will be open shots for me.”

Allen went on to talk about his on-court philosophy in running a team.

“I feel like I’m easy to play with and I’m fun to play with,” Allen explained.

“I just want to make everybody on the court happy and at the same just being able to get everybody involved and try to bring the team together with my leadership and try and go out there and get a win every single night.”

So, what was the deciding factor in Allen picking to play his final collegiate season under Ewing?

“I knew Georgetown was on the rise,” Allen said.

“They had two good seasons under coach Ewing so I knew the third year was going to be a good one for them so I wanted to come here and make the best impact that I could and try and help this team get back to the NCAA Tournament.”

Allen is going to be counted onto make a far bigger impact than everyone initialed figured. Allen went from being a veteran off the bench to having the keys to the offense in less than two weeks. Luckily, he’s seen a lot in his previous four years in college basketball.

SCOUTING SYRACUSE

Jim Boeheim avoided entering this rivalry game on a four-game losing streak by blowing out Georgia Tech last weekend. Before that the Orange had lost thee-straight in blowout fashion. They lost both games at the Barclays Center to common Georgetown opponents in Oklahoma State and Penn State before getting drilled at home to Iowa in the Big Ten – ACC Challenge. In their season opener they scored 34 points in a loss to Virginia which was also at home. Their best non-conference win to date is probably against Colgate.

Elijah Hughes leads the team in scoring at 19.6 ppg while Buddy Boeheim is the other double-figure scorer at 14.1 ppg. Freshman Joseph Girard came into Syracuse with similar hype as McClung as a local scoring legend in Glen Falls, NY.

Bourama Sidibe leads the team in rebounding with 6.8 rpg while Marek Dolezaj – who is someone still just a junior – averages about 9 ppg and 6 rpg. It seems like the forward from Slovakia has been there a decade.

Prediction: Georgetown 65, Syracuse 60

I’m really not sure how the rest of the season is going to go but I think the Hoyas will rally together and give Ewing his first win against the Orange.