Orange come back from 13 points down, defeat Georgetown in Overtime

Syracuse scored 17 points in overtime.

Washington D.C -- Offensive struggles and defensive mishaps led to a low-scoring first half, but Syracuse came back strong from 13 down to beat Georgetown 86-79 in overtime.

There were as many Syracuse fans as Georgetown fans at the start of the game. Any time the hometown Hoyas tried to get a chant going early, the visiting fans silenced them by cheering louder.

Points were hard to come by for the former Big East rivals. Sophomore guard Tyus Battle scored the first points of the game, drawing a foul on a midrange jumper and hitting the basket. Battle and junior guard Frank Howard scored the first nine points for the Orange, however this was in the opening eight minutes. Syracuse instead insisted on missing simple reads and having turnovers.

To make up for the lack of points, there were an abundance of fouls for both teams that found themselves in the bonus.

When talking about the first half offense for both teams, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim described it all in one word: painful.  

Midway through the first half, Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing instructed his players to break out the press defense to try and prevent a Syracuse run. This worked for the Hoyas as they went on a 10-2 run.

Players were heated, with Georgetown guard Jagan Mosley pushing freshman center Bourama Sidibe on a screen. The center from Mali wasn’t able to make his lone free throw, though. Both him and junior center Paschal Chukwu combined for zero points and five fouls.  While this wasn’t a conference game, the players played as if it was.

The second half began with both teams drawing unnecessary fouls. Georgetown guard Jonathan Mulmore tried to steal the ball off Howard but got contact. Moyer fouled forward Pickett on a baseline jumper, where the Hoya scored both free throws.

Freshman forward Oshae Brissett grabbed his first field goal off a jump step drive to the basket, which were the first points for the Orange of the half. However, Georgetown grabbed the first double digit lead for either team of the game. 

Brissett scored 10 of the first 16 points for Orange as they cut the lead to seven. But six consecutive missed field goals led to Georgetown increasing their lead to 13.

The Orange tried to get back into the game. A layup by Howard and three by Brissett saw the lead cut to eight, but a blocking foul on Dolezaj saw the lead go back to double digits. They tried to get back into it using the full court press and while there was some success, it wasn’t enough.

“Sometimes you go for the press and just hope, it was one of those days,” Boeheim said.

Syracuse clawed back into this game, trailing by two with ninety seconds left after a corner three from Battle. 

“We never doubt ourselves. We trust ourselves and we know whatever Coach draws up on the board, we have to do that,” Brissett said.

A steal by Howard tied the game at 69-69. Syracuse had multiple chances to take the lead, however three missed chances led to the game being tied.

Brissett won the overtime tip for the Orange, who took their time and drew up the perfect play for Battle to hit his fifth three-pointer of the game. 

“I was playing with a lot of confidence. It was great,” Battle said.

Boeheim saw that with his play, too.

“I knew he was looking for it," Boeheim said when talking about his back to back three point shots in overtime.

Chukwu fouled out with 2:06 remaining in overtime, bringing Dolezaj back into the game. Battle continued to be hot from three, scoring one from the free throw extended. He previously injured his back, however it wasn’t affecting him towards the stretch.

“I’m feeling good so far, and I just got to continue rehab and stay healthy and I’ll be ready to go,” Battle said.

The biggest difference in overtime was free-throw success. Syracuse went to the line and were 6 of 8 from the line, increasing the lead each time. An air ball on a 3 pointer by Pickett deflated the Hoya crowd, asking themselves what went wrong.

“I’m proud of how our guys came back in this game. It was not looking too good for a while,” Boeheim said.

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