Georgetown has historically owned the Syracuse Orangemen when they’ve been at the top of their game, delivering upsets that the Syracuse alumni will never forget. Syracuse has been rated in the Top 5 in four previous games with the Hoyas. The Orangemen’s record in those games is 0-4. John Thompson III invaded the Carrier Dome looking to carry on the legend of his father.
The game kicked off looking like the Hoyas were once again going to deflate Syracuse’s season. Two turnovers and three missed jumpers in the first 3 minutes of the game left Syracuse trailing 14-0, not knowing what hit them. Jim Boeheim rallied his troops for the next 37 minutes for a 31 point turnaround that turned an imminent Syracuse blowout loss into a blowout victory against a highly regarded Hoyas basketball squad.
Boeheim earned his 819th career victory, moving into 6th on the all-time wins list, passing the currently idled Jim Calhoun of Connecticut. The victory was also the team’s 20th, extending Boeheim’s NCAA record of 32 20-plus win seasons in 34 years.
The way the Orangemen won the game was not as Boeheim had charted out. “We recovered from the worst start I can remember,” Boeheim said. “Our defense picked up and our offense got going. To go into halftime ahead was really unbelievable. To dominate a top-10 team after giving them 14 points is quite an effort. That’s as good as we can play. Everybody was looking for each other.”
Very true words.
What makes this Syracuse team intriguing this year is how they are putting away teams with major scoring runs driven by their defense. The offense maintains the run and doesn’t give it back going into scoring lulls. Its the type of basketball you usually don’t see at the college level. Where most teams are driven by a superstar with an NBA future, Syracuse doesn’t feature any one star that is looking beyond his college basketball days.
The comeback against Georgetown was fueled by the stunting 2-3 zone defense that Boeheim and Syracuse have become famous for. But it was their lack of selfishness on offense which was the difference maker. Their seven players rotation shared the ball, with no player on the Syracuse squad taking 10 shots or more from the field.
This selfless display comes on the heels of Syracuse’s definitive victory over Marquette on Saturday. In that game, Syracuse’s second leading scorer Andy Rautins played 36 minutes, taking only 2 shots and scoring no points. A refreshing change by a team leader within a sport where shameless self-promotion is the norm.
After the game, Rautins shrugged off questions from the media about his 0-for-2 performance, focusing instead on his teammates. Rautins noted how well the forwards took advantage of the mismatches down, “If you can’t score in one aspect, you find other ways to win.”
With that type of attitude living in the locker room, the rest of college basketball better take notice. The Orangemen are the most dangerous team in the NCAA.