Your Georgetown Hoyas lost to their hated rival Syracuse Orange, 83-64, in a game where the Hoyas really weren’t all that close for the last 25 minutes. Georgetown did start out with a 9-0 run, but Syracuse, like Texas Tech the week before, tightened up the defense and left the Hoyas in the dust. Syracuse went on two separate 12-0 runs in the first half and Georgetown was kept beyond arm’s reach for the rest of the game.
With each passing loss—25 in a row to Power 6 programs, by the way—fewer and fewer fans are interested in how the Hoyas lost. The reasoning doesn’t seem important anymore when the product has too many flaws to keep putting out there game after game. Why bother checking the air in the tires when the brakes fell off 2,500 miles ago?
But a look at the box score reveals issues that the Hoyas faithful may have seen more than once. For instance, Syracuse scored 22 points in the paint in the first and 24 in the second. Hoyas scored 14 points in the paint in the first and 8 in the second. Syracuse scored 15 points off turnovers in the first and 9 in the second. Hoyas scored 9 total points off of turnovers. Akok Akok, Jay Heath, and Primo Spears each played 37+ minutes, with Brandon Murray only playing 23 due to foul trouble. Was there really any surprise when they could not amount a comeback?
Last Wednesday, after the Siena win, Patrick Ewing spoke to the minutes distribution, saying:
I played 48 minutes in the NBA and we played 82 games ... they [Spears and Murray] want to get to the NBA they want to get there. Hey, look it’s all about winning by any means necessary and then we have to adjust the way that either we practice or we give them opportunities to rest during the game while we develop our bench. But it’s about winning and they  play great, they play smart, and we’re going to do whatever we have to do to  be able to win.”
Ewing on minutes: "I played 48 minutes ... they want to get to the NBA"— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) December 12, 2022
Georgetown vs. Siena 12-7-22 https://t.co/XrQQglGpHL
For the record, Ewing averaged 30.8 minutes per game in college and 34.3 minutes per game in the NBA. During his peak, between 1988 and 1998, Ewing’s mpg averages for the Knicks were between 36 and 38 minutes before dropping down.
Unfortunately, 11 games into the season, continued clamor for better spread of minutes will be met with criticism of individual bench players when they do see their limited minutes. Perhaps playing some bench guys will be risky, but this desperation to use your “best” players to win hardly justifies burning out the starters night in, night out. Georgetown used to be known for developing athletes into two-way ball players, but now there’s no time for that.
For instance, the Syracuse game saw Brad Ezewiro get 6 minutes on the court and at least two very rough defensive plays as the big guy failed to follow a pick-and-roller and let a man get an easy bucket behind him.
If your bench guy thinks he can get away with this, we’ve got some accountability issues pic.twitter.com/S8xeIagqMa— Nolan (@NationWideNolan) December 10, 2022
Not only were these learning mistakes that should have been ironed out against earlier opponents, they represent miscommunications from the coaching staff to the individual players about scheme and defensive accountability. Ezewiro is supposed be an athletic small-ball center but Ewing’s protocol for hedging, dropping, or switching on a screen seems to be a mystery for everyone on defense. It doesn’t matter how many times the players have been told, if it’s not sinking in, there must be an issue with the communication.
For many fans, it comes back to the word “discipline.” Outside of a few weeks in 2020, discipline has largely been missing in the program built by John Thompson Jr. Inconsistent discipline is how Georgetown lost the points-in-the-paint battle so poorly. Inconsistent discipline is how Georgetown loses the points-off-turnovers battle. Inconsistent accountability is how Georgetown allows two 12-0 runs in the first and fails to ever get enough stops for a counterpunch. Pulling within seven with five minutes left means nothing if you’re too gassed to close it out.
Georgetown is headed into BIG EAST play with ghosts from last season looming large—and after having many chances to shake them. All the Hoyas had to do was not blow halftime leads to Northwestern, Loyola Marymount, American, and South Carolina. This is a new Georgetown team, with 8+ different faces from the 0-19 squad from last year, but fans are seeing the same lack of discipline, especially on the defensive end. The coaching staff has to dig deep and find new strategies or, at least, new ways to communicate their plan.
An eternal optimist, these defects could be fixable in conference play. But a “win at all costs” and “I played 48 minutes a game” attitude from the head coach is likely not the winning ticket to establishing a disciplined defense.
The Hoyas have almost a week before the Xavier game on Friday at 6:30PM. Maybe something clicks soon, but no one would bet on it.
I'm a firm believer that Ewing is overselling Murray. The team can be competitive and, yes, win when Murray isn't having a stellar game. It takes some creativity... that's all. Teams win without their best player having a good game. #Hoyas https://t.co/gMHHurk890— MTCWithMook ️ (@MTCwithMook) December 10, 2022
And maybe the Hoyas will beat Syracuse next year, as the rivals have reportedly agreed to a two-year extension of the series. Who knows if Boeheim or Ewing will be on the sidelines then.
Here are the links:
Primo Spears scored 22 points to pace the Hoyas (5-6), who shot just 37.3 percent overall and 24 percent (6 of 25) from the 3-point arc. Jay Heath added 14 points for Georgetown.
After leading by 11 points at halftime, Syracuse scored the first five points of the second half to go ahead 50-34. Georgetown responded with 10 of the next 12 points, including six by Spears, to make it a 52-44 game.
Edwards then scored the first four points in a quick 6-0 run as the lead swelled back to 14 with 12:34 remaining.
The Hoyas clawed back within 64-57 with under five minutes left. However, seven straight points by the hosts — the final four by Williams — ended any chance of a comeback.
That’s a wrap from the Dome…— The Marshall Street Podcast (@MarshallStPod44) December 10, 2022
Syracuse takes down Georgetown 83-64
It’s 3:04 ‘Cuse Fam… pic.twitter.com/roaEnblsrW
The Georgetown men’s basketball team cut the lead to as few as seven with a little more than five minutes remaining, but it was not enough as they fell 83-64 to Syracuse at the JMA Wireless Dome. With the setback, the Hoyas slip to 5-6 on the season while the Orange improve to 6-4.
“They play zone. We don’t face zone very much, especially not the entire game. I just thought we got impatient at times, turned the ball over at times. Those turnovers led to 24 points off our turnovers and 14 fast break points … they were able to feed off our mistakes.”
- Head Coach Patrick Ewing on what Syracuse did to limit GU’s offense
Complete recap of the win over Georgetown, including stats, highlights, photos & morehttps://t.co/KclbQOdxLE— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) December 11, 2022
As the Orange improved to 53-45 in its all-time series against Georgetown, the ‘Cuse did a lot of positive things.
On offense, Syracuse basketball didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc, but the Orange was aggressive in getting out in transition, and the ‘Cuse focused its schemes in the interior.
That helped enable the Orange to shoot 50 percent from the field as a whole, and the squad went an impressive 20-of-21 from the free-throw line. Syracuse basketball also had 10 steals, eight blocks and only committed nine turnovers, while the Orange forced Georgetown into 15 turnovers...
Syracuse basketball limited Georgetown to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and 24.0 percent from 3-point land. The Orange held its own on the glass.
Here’s some video from Coach Ewing’s postgame press conference.— Patrick Waring (@WaringPatrick) December 11, 2022
Turnovers were an issue for Georgetown in yesterday’s game.
The Hoyas will host Xavier on Friday to open BIG EAST play. #Hoyas pic.twitter.com/1IpZmq6zJx
The Hoyas, who, despite losing their last 21 games last season and suffering defeats against mid-majors American and Loyola Marymount earlier this year, looked prepared to handle SU and the 2-3 zone, specifically, early. Part of that was SU’s poor defense — with wings out of position and well-timed screens wiping guards out of plays — but Georgetown also used the free-throw line well, using Akok Akok to generate open midrange looks or pass inside to Qudus Wahab, with Edwards forced to guard both. One play just like that led to a Wahab dunk that put the Hoyas up 14-4.
Syracuse got back in it, though. There were differences of opinion postgame on why the tide changed — Chris Bell and Ajak said the defense’s energy picked up, Edwards pointed to the bench’s play, Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said it was the Hoyas’ number of turnovers (nine in the first half, 15 in total) — but in any case, the Orange worked their way into a comfortable lead.
Jesse Edwards after he put up 20/11/5 in the win over Georgetown pic.twitter.com/UDRQPwusz5— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) December 11, 2022
When Syracuse was struggling to start the game, Jim Boeheim sent in Symir Torrence and John Bol Ajak, both of whom shored up SU’s 2-3 defense and helped get the ball moving on offense.
The Orange continues to struggle to make 3-point shots (with one exception noted below). SU needs to move bodies and move the ball to find open spots in the shifting, helping defenses. Torrence and Ajak did that.
Ajak, too, helped Syracuse counter Georgetown’s twin tower offerings of Wahab (6-foot-11) and Akok Akok (6-10). When he paired with Edwards or Hima in there, he helped on the boards and helped clog up the inside.
Syracuse got back in the game with those two guys in the lineup. A key to the surge was SU’s ability to turn Georgetown over.
Syracuse's 19 point win (83-64) is the largest margin of victory in the series with Georgetown since 1996. Had the Orangemen not shot 30% in the first 10 minutes of the second half, it could have been worse.— HoyaSaxa.com (@hoyatalk) December 10, 2022
Georgetown switched to a full-court press in the second half to make things interesting, but once the Orange got settled, Syracuse continued to be patient with the ball and take the right shots.
Jesse Edwards’ two-way presence proved to be the deciding factor in the Syracuse versus Georgetown contest. Defensively, Edwards was a force in Sunday’s game with hit shot-blocking and quick hands, forcing the Hoyas into difficult shots and multiple stretches without scoring a basket. And on offense, he was efficient from the field and crashed the glass on both ends of the court. The biggest surprise was Edwards’ decision-making to wait for the help to arrive before making the right pass.
Syracuse kept a double-digit lead for nearly 10 minutes in the second half, but the Hoyas weren’t going away with just five minutes remaining. Despite the comeback efforts by Georgetown, Syracuse’s late-game defensive pressure, some timely dunks from Benny Williams, and a handful of momentum-shifting plays ultimately powered the Orange to victory.
Syracuse forward John Bol Ajak discusses his role, beating Georgetown, team improvement and more. https://t.co/KFZ2dRyBht— Mike McAllister (@McAllisterMike1) December 10, 2022
The wide variety of players who chipped in offensively was a breath of fresh air. Jesse Edwards, Joe Girard and Judah Mintz were all vital at various points of the game. Girard was the heartbeat of the Orange offense in the first half with 12 points.
Edwards was an absolute nightmare for the Georgetown defense, especially in the second half. The senior finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Edwards also put tremendous pressure on the Hoyas because he was able to draw fouls on their big men. Finally, Edwards was excellent on the defensive end. He tallied 5 blocks throughout the contest and some of them came at very important parts of the game.
This is not sane, right? https://t.co/GqQdR4igmV— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) December 10, 2022
Pitino to Georgetown has legs. I did Iona /St Bonaventure today and Iona people think it’s a possibility.— Troy Benjamin (@TroyBenjamin06) December 11, 2022