The Georgetown Hoyas flopped their way into the Carrier Dome tonight and came up with a 64-56 win over the Syracuse Orange. The Hoyas had a clear clear goal of trying to take more charges than a matador covered in red capes. The game was an uneven, ugly affair filled with a lot of contact and officiating that was less than consistent to put it kindly.
The bottom line is that Syracuse couldn't make a play on offense down the stretch and Georgetown, stymied by the 2-3 zone for the first 35 minutes of the game, executed and made plays when it counted. Give credit to John Thompson's team, they earned this win, as unpleasant as it was to watch.
Coming into the season an major, unaswered question was who would emerge as SU's "go to" guy down the stretch of close games. Well, 25 games into the season, we still have no idea. You don't have to be a MENSA member to know that's not a good sign. Let's break down the individual Syracuse performances.
Rick Jackson: Hampered by foul trouble and officials who were more than happy to blow the whistle against him while he was dribbling, but not on the opponent while he was shooting, Jackson had his worst game of the year. Rick doesn't shoot 1-6 from the field too often and the fact that the team seemed to play better while he was on the bench versus when he was on the floor says it all. Tonight was an anomoly. He's been SU's best, most consistent player all year long. I suppose a game like this was bound to happen, although it was shocking to see. Let's just move on.
Kris Joseph: Kris carried the team early in the first half with some big threes and just when it looked like he was settling for too many jumpers, he started taking the ball to the rim. Then he started running guys over and the trouble set in. Like the rest of him teammates, Kris Jo went cold down the stretch, but there's a bigger problem people don't seem to want to talk about. He's been a pretty terrible defender lately. Watch how many times a lapse comes from his area or his assignment in the zone -- and you'll see it happens too often. Plus he played 40 minutes tonight and had 1 rebound. That's terrible. It got James Southerland banished to the bench -- and rightly so. He's averaging less than 5 rebound a game on the season. Rebounding and defense are all about effort - and SU needs more effort from number 32.
Fab Melo: I thought he was really active in his 3 minutes of playing time. Seriously. He tipped a few balls on the offensive end and was going to the glass. Of course he got the extremely quick hook and never played again. I wish Boeheim had him on a little longer leash, but that's not in the cards for this year. I honestly believe he's going to be pretty good in a few years, but right now I don't see the point of starting him if he's going to play the first two minutes of the game and sit down. It's like he's a starting NFL quarterback and every game for Fab is the fourth pre-season game.
Scoop Jardine: Scoop faced a lot of ball pressure the whole game and while he was quiet offensively, he was steady and ran the team. Then the last four minutes of the game rolled around and Scoop puked all over himself. A bad forced pass to Keita, followed by hanging his head and not getting back on defense led to an Austin Freeman layup and the rest is history. He did have a few pretty assists, but sadly no one will remember those.
Brandon Triche: He ceded court time for a long stretch in the second half to Dion Waiters, but he had what is becoming a typical, steady Triche game. At this point he's the team's best three point shooter, although that's not saying too much.
CJ Fair: Fair probaby played his best game in Orange and that includes the Pitt game. If you've ever played basketball you know hitting those weird floaters in the lane isn't as easy as he makes it look. It's a gift really. What I really liked was how active he was on defense. He's got long arms and great timing which make up for being a little undersized.. He's also a good rebounder which allows Boeheim to go small with Rick Jackson at center. This is a good thing because Kris Joseph certainly isn't helping out in that area. CJ also got completely screwed early in the second half by the refs. At one point a guy fouled Blake Griffin in LA and they called it on Fair,
Baye Moussa Keita: He looked a little lost in the zone early tonight. In his first couple stints on the court he lost guys on the baseline and then all of a sudden -- boom goes the dynamite. He played very well in the second half when Jackson picked up his fourth foul, anchoring the zone, running the floor, blocking shots and getting some key put backs. I'm pretty sure he will be fighting CJ Fair this year as the fan favorite.
Dion Waiters: Dion played very well in second half, working hard on the defensive end to get a few steals and get his offense going. He was miserable from beyond the arc however, going 0-3 and posing after airballing a corner 3 in the first half. Not the best time to break out the pose Dion.
The Holy Shirt guys: Initially these guys with their "I Bleed Orange" shirts and Boeheim masks were enjoyable and I may very well just be a cranky old man, but I'm already tired of their shtick. That stuff doesn't have a long shelf life.