Syracuse nips No. 11 Georgetown
Orange top Hoyas at own game, hold GU to 36 percent shooting
WASHINGTON -- Chris Wright's name boomed over the loudspeakers, just as it always does before Georgetown's home games. Except this time, he was being introduced for a "senior day" ceremony - not the Hoyas' starting lineup.
With Wright's 93-game starting streak snapped because of a broken left hand, No. 11 Georgetown's offense slowed to a halt for stretches, and No. 17 Syracuse beat its Big East rival 58-51 on Saturday behind 17 points and seven assists from Scoop Jardine.
The Orange (24-6, 11-6) won their fourth consecutive game by pulling away down the stretch after the teams were tied at 45 with 7 minutes left.
Austin Freeman scored 16 points for the Hoyas (21-8, 10-7).
Georgetown ranks No. 6 in the country in field-goal percentage at 48.9, but Syracuse limited the Hoyas to 36 percent (18 for 50).
Wright hurt his non-shooting hand during a collision early in the second half of Georgetown's 58-46 home loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday night. He had surgery the next morning, and the Hoyas are hoping he will be available to return in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament in mid-March.
They'll need to figure out something in the meantime.
Wright is averaging a team-leading 5.4 assists and ranks second to Freeman in scoring with a 13.1 average. He had been playing particularly well recently, averaging 21.7 points and shooting 50 percent over the three games leading up to Cincinnati.
But against Syracuse, his play and leadership clearly were missed. No one on the Hoyas had more than two assists. Hollis Thompson started in Wright's place and was 0 for 5 from the field.
It was Georgetown's last home game of the season, and so tipoff was preceded by the traditional "senior day" celebration of departing players. Wright, Freeman, Julian Vaughn and Ryan Dougherty were honored.
Then, during the layup drill that followed, Wright stood at midcourt, his hands in the pockets of his blue-and-gray Georgetown warmup jacket. He chewed gum while he watched his teammates prepare for a game it seems safe to say he would have preferred to be participating in.
Wright kept his bandaged left hand tucked safely away and extended only his right for palm slaps with assistant coaches and teammates.
The Hoyas began the game with Freeman standing at the top of the 3-point arc, directing the offense from there. But eventually they tried moving him into the key, and also used young guards Markel Starks and Vee Sanford at the point.
When the freshman Starks made his first shot, a 3-pointer that pulled Georgetown to 17-16 midway through the half, he backpedaled with a wide smile and found the sophomore Sanford to slap palms.
That was their highlight, however.
James Southerland scored seven points in a 9-2 run by the Orange that put them ahead 33-23 at halftime.
The visitors held the Hoyas to 9-of-26 shooting in the half, including 2 of 12 on 3-pointers.
Syracuse led by as many as 12 points - 37-25 on Rick Jackson's dunk 2 1/2 minutes into the second half - but Georgetown kept whittling away.
When freshman Nate Lubick scored his first two baskets of the game on consecutive possessions - the second a putback of Freeman's missed 3-pointer with 10 minutes to go - the hosts were ahead 45-43.
That was Georgetown's first lead since 25 seconds into the game, and at a timeout moments later, Wright raced in front of a parade of Hoyas streaming off the sideline, running to greet the guys on the court with right-handed pats on the back.
But Syracuse was the better team the rest of the way.
Jardine's jumper with a little more than 5 1/2 minutes left put the Orange ahead 49-46, and he followed with a 3-pointer a half-minute later to make it 52-46.
The Hoyas had a chance, though, coming out of a timeout with the ball trailing only 54-51, with 36.9 seconds remaining.
Freeman passed the ball to Clark in a corner, but he missed a 3-point try. Brandon Triche made two free throws with 23 seconds left to pad Syracuse's lead to 56-51, and Freeman missed a 3 at the other end, sealing the outcome.
Former President Bill Clinton, former Hoyas and NBA star Alonzo Mourning, and Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis were in the crowd. Tickets were so popular that Georgetown sold seats in the up-near-the-rafters press box used for media during Capitals home games.