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NOT ENOUGH JUICE: Syracuse Pulls Away in Second Half for Win Over Hoyas, 80-68

Georgetown shooting 5-27 from three (18.5%) could not close the gap

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas battled their forever rivals, the Syracuse Orange, this December afternoon and came out on the wrong end of the 80-68 score after a tough second half for the Hoyas. With both teams in the midst of building back to a once-prominent status, rankings didn’t mean anything for a physical first half in Washington, DC. Up only one point at intermission, with a score of 35-34, Syracuse managed to pull away with a pair of second half runs (9-0 and 11-2) that put away a poor-shooting Georgetown effort (5-27 3PT, 18.5%).

Ed Cooley started Jayden Epps, Jay Heath, Dontrez Styles, and Supreme Cook, with a now-healthy Ismael Massoud getting his first start. New head coach Adrian Autry started JJ Starling, Chris Bell, Justin Taylor, Naheem McLeod, and DMV-local guard Judah Mintz (Fort Washington, MD) for Syracuse.

The first half started at a quick pace, after the 11:30 am tipoff, with the Hoyas and the Orange both scoring swiftly and staying close. It looked like neck-and-neck and that both teams could hit 90 points by trading layups. The game was tied at 11-11 with 15:41 left, 14-14, and 17-17 at 11:12 before Syracuse pulled ahead for a few minutes until Georgetown took a 28-27 lead on a Ismael Massoud three pointer with 3:06 left.

In between, the game transitioned from a free-flowing pace to longer, more physical possessions. Rowan Brumbaugh came off the bench to have four first half steals, one of which was the spark that triggered a hard foul by Chris Bell and an ensuing double technical on Bell and Wayne Bristol, Jr.

Syracuse led by only one point, 35-34, at the half and there was promise that the Hoyas might shoot better than their 3-12 from the perimeter in the latter half. Jay Heath, Epps, and Massoud were each 1-4 for three and the looks were there. The Hoyas led at intermission on points in the paint 18-14 and had one fewer turnover 8-7. Syracuse led on rebounds 18-15 (5-4 OREB), second chance points 6-4, bench points 6-4, steals 7-6, and fastbreak points 8-0. The Orange were 10-14 from the line at this point and the Hoyas only 5-6.

The second half started well enough for the Hoyas for two buckets but they quickly got behind. Georgetown’s last lead was 38-37 at 17:28 before a SU 9-0 run over the next 1:44.

The Hoyas kept it around a 6-point deficit for a bit and fought back to 63-58 with 6:57 left before another Syracuse run (11-2) took it to 74-60 with 2:25 left capped by a Quadir Copeland dunk.

Turnovers and second-chance points killed the Hoyas in the second half. Whether it was Syracuse’s length or hustle, their different-look in man-to-man defense had the Hoyas—especially Epps (2-8 FG, 0-5 3PT) and Styles (0-3, all threes)—struggling in the latter half. The Orange led the second half in turnovers (6-7), points off turnovers (12-6), bench points (20-10), points in the paint (28-20), steals (5-2) and fastbreak points (12-2). Georgetown had a slim margin on rebounds (18-17, 10-6 OREB), and second chance points (10-6).

Overall, a poor shooting day for the Hoyas (25-59 FG, 5-26 3PT) spelled trouble. Epps had 6 assists and scored 17 points (6-17 FG), but he was 1-9 from three and 4-7 from the free throw line. Styles was 1-5 from the field and 0-3 from three, scoring most of his 7 points from the charity stripe (5-5 FT). Heath (2-7, 1-5 3PT) and Massoud (3-10, 1-6 3PT) each had 7 points.

The brightest spot for the Hoyas may have been another double-double from Supreme Cook with 16 points and 10 boards in 30 minutes. He also scored his 1,000th career point.

Drew Fielder played 10 minutes and shot 1-2 for two points with 3 rebounds. Brumbaugh (3 points, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3PT) and Bristol (9 points, 3-5 FG, 1-1 3PT) had some decent minutes off the bench with Rowan making 4 steals. and Bristol haing a nice three.

Syracuse didn’t have to shoot incredibly well (29-54, 53.7%) and only took 11 threes (5-11, 45.5% 3PT) to salt away their second-half lead. Mintz led all scorers with 25 points (6-12 FG, 0-2 3PT) and JJ Starling poured in 21 points on 8-14 from the field and 3-3 from the perimeter. Copeland score 14 off the bench shooting 6-7 in 25 minutes. Starters Bell and Taylor were held to 5 points and 3 points, respectively, and the 7’4” McLeod played only 4 minutes.

The Hoyas are set to resume play on Tuesday, December 12, as they host Coppin State at Capital One Arena. The game is slated to tip off at 8:30 p.m. and will be on FS1. Georgetown visits Notre Dame a week from today (Dec 16, 2PM) before BIG EAST play starts at Butler on Dec 19th (6:30 PM).