One of the keys to throwing any good party is the guest list.
Knowing who to invite is really important.
Knowing who not to invite, as it turns out, can be just as vital to a party’s success.
Syracuse, it seems, has yet to learn that last lesson.
For the third time in their bitter rivalry, Georgetown ruined another special occasion for Syracuse, this time behind Otto Porter Jr’s career-high 33 points in a 57-46 win over the Orange before an on-campus record crowd of 35,012 at the Carrier Dome.
No. 11 Georgetown (21-4, 11-3) extended its winning streak to nine games and ended a 38-game home winning streak for No. 8 Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) in the process. Syracuse last loss at home came in 2011, also against the Hoyas.
Georgetown now sits alone atop of the Big East standings, breaking a three-way tie it held entering the day with Syracuse and Marquette, who lost at Villanova.
As if the final possible Carrier Dome match-up between founding and now exiting members of the Big East wasn’t enough, Carmelo Anthony was on hand to see his jersey retired in a ceremony at halftime. The former Orange and current New York Knicks star led Syracuse to its only National Championship in 2003.
Going back further – 11 years to be exact – Georgetown was again in town to defeat Syracuse on Feb. 24, 2002 when Syracuse dedicated the naming of the Carrier Dome court to coach Jim Boeheim.
And as has been told over and over again, the origin of the rivalry can be traced back to Feb. 13, 1980 when Georgetown scored a 52-50 win to snap Syracuse’s 57-game home court winning streak in the final game played at Manley Field House. Then Hoyas coach John Thompson, the father of current coach John Thompson III, famously proclaimed that Manley was “officially closed”.
History lessons aside, the Hoyas are living in the now and the now is all about Porter Jr who put on a performance Saturday afternoon that will live on for as long as Georgetown continues to play basketball.
Unlike many of the great players that have played in this series over the last 30 years, Porter Jr didn’t exactly grow up in the shadows of the confernece. But for Porter Jr, a Missouri native who seems to have a very tight grip on Big East Player of the Year honors with just four regular season games to go, it didn’t matter.
Just check the numbers.
Porter Jr put up 33 points. Georgetown had 57 as a team. That’s more than half.
Porter Jr made 12 field goals. Georgetown had 19 as a team. That’s more than half.
Porter hit five three pointers. Georgetown had seven as a team. That’s more than half.
Get the picture?
Of course for as much of an impact as one player can have, it was a team effort as Georgetown held Syracuse to its second lowest point total at home since the Carrier Dome opened in 1980.
After going down 12-4 early thanks to long three-pointers from James Southerland (13 points) and Brandon Triche (10 points), Georgetown switched to a zone defense with reserve big man Moses Ayegba patrolling the middle of the lane.
The Hoyas bounced back to trail by just two, 23-21, at the break.
Ayegba replaced Mikael Hopkins to start the second half and responded by finishing with a career-high 10 rebounds, with five coming on the offensive glass.
Also having a huge impact on the game was Jabril Trawick.
The sophomore guard was limited in the first half with two quick fouls but made his mark after the break. Trawick’s ability to drive into the Syracuse zone helped eliminate some stagnant perimeter ball movement by the Hoyas.
Trawick ended the game with five assists – one shy of the career high he set earlier in the season at Notre Dame – and none were bigger than his drive and kick to set up Porter Jr’s four-point play with 4:52 remaining.
Georgetown’s lead had just been cut to four but Porter Jr’s three pointer in front of the Hoyas bench and subsequent free throw pushed it right back up to eight at 45-37.
From there Georgetown never let Syracuse get closer than six and led by as many as 13 in extending its longest conference winning streak since the 2006-07 season.
Whether Georgetown and Syracuse continue their series as members of different conferences still remains to be seen. If the series does continue, the Orange might be wise not to plan any special ceremonies given Georgetown’s knack for party crashing.
Notes: After losing in each of his first five trips to the Carrier Dome, Thompson III has now won two out of three, with the lone loss coming in overtime. Porter Jr is just the second Georgetown player to score at least 30 points in the Carrier Dome. Mike Sweetney had 32 in a losing effort in 2003. Georgetown is 12-1 with Jabril Trawick as a starter.
Up Next: Georgetown will travel to Connecticut on Wednesday for its only match-up of the season against the Huskies at 7 PM on ESPN2. The Hoyas last win on the road against UConn came during the 2008-09 season.