Streaking Orange going for fourth straight

Syracuse will be looking for revenge when it takes on Georgetown Saturday at the Verizon Center. The Hoyas beat the Orange at the Dome less than three weeks ago.

Following a win at Villanova Monday, Syracuse will have another chance to avenge an earlier home loss Saturday against a depleted Georgetown squad. The Orange could be playing for a bye in the upcoming Big East conference tournament.

The Hoya’s will be without senior leader Chris Wright who recently broke a finger on his non-shooting hand. Wright is not expected to return until mid-March.

Monday’s win was SU’s third in a row, and the Orange are hoping to maintain their late season momentum. The Hoyas are led by the feathery shooting touch of senior guard, Austin Freeman. Freeman averages 17.8 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the field. He is currently one of the leading candidates for Big East Player of the Year.

Freeman is complimented by jet-quick junior guard, Jason Clark. Clark, like Freeman, is an efficient scorer. He shoots 50 percent from the field and has made 46 3’s this season.

The high-scoring guards are helped inside by a group of role-playing and bruising big men. The best of the bunch is 6-foot 9-inch senior forward Julian Vaughn. Vaughn averages 8.8 points per game to go along with his team-leading 6.3 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Hollis Thompson provides a scoring punch off the pine, as he chips in nearly nine points a game in 22 minutes of action. 

The Hoyas’ unsung hero may be forward Nate Lubick. The freshman doesn’t score much, but he makes his presence felt on the court. Lubick is known as the one of the best screener’s in the country, and he is vital to Georgetown’s offense because there are so many screens involved in the complex sets it runs.

To beat the Hoyas, the Orange will need to limit the amount of 3’s Georgetown takes. This has been an issue all year, but against Villanova, the Syracuse 2-3 zone chased the shooters off the 3-point line and into the lane where help was available. This effectively limited Villanova to 5-of-26 from long range.

“We did a great job containing their 3’s,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said.

Georgetown has plenty of long-range threats, so the SU zone will need to extend to the Hoyas’ shooters. Freeman, Clark, Thompson, and sophomore guard Vee Sanford can all be deadly from beyond the arc.

Syracuse (23-6, 10-6) also will look to maintain its offensive firepower that it has had during its three-game win streak. In each of those wins, the Orange have shot at least 43 percent from the floor.

The resurgence of senior forward Rick Jackson has been key during the stretch. When he is aggressive and getting touches in the post, the Syracuse offense is at its best.

Junior guard Scoop Jardine has also been playing much more composed basketball as of late. Along with Jardine, sophomore guard Brandon Triche has also turned up his game. The play of SU’s backcourt duo will be one of the deciding factors Saturday.

Tipoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised on CBS.

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