Syracuse lost a heart breaker 64-62 to Georgetown in overtime last night, with Jonny Flynn's three pointer at the buzzer going half way down before rattling out. It was a surprising performance by a young Orange team that has struggled on the road in conference play, and while no one expected them to play so well, it was a game they should have won.
Why Georgetown Won
* This one is pretty simple, as good as Syracuse played, at the end of the game they were spent. A look at the box score shows that Syracuse's starters played 209 minutes. In a regulation game there's only 200 minutes of floor time. Scoop Jardine (who had a terrible game by the way) played the least of the guys who started, and he logged 39 minutes. The other 4 guys all played over 40 minutes, which is crazy - then again, there aren't a lot of other options this year.
* This quote in the Post Standard story by Mike Waters from John Thompson III sums it up best - "This is what we do," Georgetown coach John Thompson said. "We slowly grind it out. We have the bodies to be physical." And it is precisely what Syracuse does not have - the bodies to grind it out, or desire to always be physical. Last night they had the desire, just not the bodies.
* The man to man pressure at the end of the game really disrupted Syracuse's offense, as a result they only scored 4 points in the last 9 minutes of the game (also due to fatigue).
* Some combination of a lack of decent play calling and a lack of execution lead to Syracuse not getting good looks when they needed them at the end.
* Donte Greene's abysmal shooting performance and shot selection (especially in the first half) certainly limited the Orange's options on the offensive end.
Things I Didn't Understand
* I'm not sure why Georgetown played so much zone. It allowed Syracuse to stay in the game. Tough, pressure man to man defense has given Syracuse fits this year (Cincinnati and West Virginia especially) and when Georgetown needed stops at the end of the game, they went man. Why they played zone for a large portion of the game is beyond me - but I'd like to thank them for it.
* Why SU doesn't run more sets with Greene down low, especially early. Champ said it best last night, when Carmelo was struggling with the jumper, he always went straight down to the block to get himself going. I know Greene isn't Carmelo, but it's a good lesson to learn - the last time I checked, Melo did pretty well for himself and his team.
* I think it was Axe that openly questioned why Syracuse players get the ball stripped from them so much - and I've got a theory. I'm not at practice and I could be 100 percent wrong, but if they are practicing against each other - and we know they don't play a ton of defense, it's pretty hard to get used to people raking your arms when it never happens. Again, maybe they beat the crap out of each other in practice, but if they don't, I'd suggest having every walk on physically abuse the starters every day.
* For the life of me, I can't figure out why they don't set better screens. The guy setting the screen, especially up top, is too quick to roll to the hoop, rendering the screen ineffective - simply holding the screen another second would make all the difference in the world.
* Complaining about the officials after every game gets old and is something losers do to justify losses, however, last game it was warranted. This game, I'll let the Axeman take the honors, because I agree with every single point he made about the way last night's game was called when he states - "Lesson: Don't expect the officials to help you." Amen Axe.
The Good News
* Syracuse took it to Georgetown and beat them up on the boards, out rebounding them by 10. Syracuse was as aggressive and physical as they've been all season.
* Jonny Flynn carried the team for large stretches of the game - without his play in the first half, the cuse is down 15 at the break and the game is over.
* Arinze missed those 4 crucial free throws and the put back in OT, but it's still hard to be critical of him, he played 41 minutes and played well, he controlled the boards pulling down 13 rebounds.
* Kristof! the Belgian Waffle gave them some good minutes in the first half and even scored 4 points.
The Bad News
* Scoop Jardine - that was a rough game, let's just move on and hope it doesn't happen again.
* Many times in half court sets, if teams sag on AO, Flynn and Greene are the only guys who can score. Jardine and Harris are very limited in what they can do in half court sets.
* If every college basketball game was called by Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, I would be a happy man. There's no comparison between these three and some of the other clowns that get paid to call games.
* Nice work by SU fans at the Verizon Center last night, the large Orange contingent really made themselves heard.