Syracuse’s inconsistency erases momentum in 89-79 loss to rival Georgetown

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — After the ball fell through the net, Elijah Hughes hopped towards the backcourt, where he came to a screeching halt. Over the past few games, the intended go-to player for SU found his rhythm. But Hughes, by himself, can’t always dictate an outcome. A whistle filled the silence which the crowd soon erased. Marek Dolezaj’s illegal screen nixed the shot attempt, and Hughes collapsed onto his knees.“I really don’t know what happened there,” Dolezaj said. “He told me I moved.”The shot would have put Syracuse (5-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) up by one, but in the Orange’s 89-79 loss to Georgetown (7-3), a failure to make plays come together on both ends undid Syracuse as they sunk further into an already historically bad season. Against a Georgetown team that dismissed three players and lost another two to transfer in the week leading up to the matchup, the Orange not only lost but were dominated. The Orange wasted another strong game from Hughes and inched closer to possible postseason doom just a third of the way through the season.Coming into Saturday, with the Hoyas’ roster turnover, it seemed Georgetown might be easily handled, as SU has done with lesser opponents so far on their young schedule. After a dominant win over Georgia Tech, the Orange’s next four games offered a chance at momentum entering the conference slate. This Syracuse season was once filled with optimism, but after another slide, ten games into the year and a .500 record, the constant stream of inconsistencies provide a new concern nearly every game. Will it be the shooting? The defense? The fouls? Each game is a question as to what will hurt the Orange.Syracuse matched the Hoyas early intensity in front of the Hoyas’ home crowd and Hughes shot well out of the gate. On Omer Yurtseven’s first attempt at the rim, he rose to dunk the ball but rimmed out due to the outstretched arms of Dolezaj. But, in a play indicative of the future of the Orange’s inconsistency, the ball bounced back to Yurtseven and several passes led to a quick open 3-pointer in the corner. The first of many breakdowns for SU’s 2-3 zone.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They were spacing us out early,” Buddy Boeheim said.Saturday, the problems arose in many areas. Boeheim said the Hoyas are a completely different team when they commit themselves to an inside approach. The Orange came into the game with a clear focus on stopping GU’s points leader Omer Yurtseven. And, they did. The big man was held to just three points in the first half. His ferocious dunk attempt over Dolezaj produced a fear-mongering affect despite the misfire, but several attempts thereafter SU’s thinner bigs went right at him. He forced shots, was blocked and misfired on layups that typically contribute to his standing among the top scoring bigs in the Big East.“If we would have played them the way they were playing earlier in the year,” Boeheim said, “we would have won the game.”But as Yurtseven disappeared, Mac McClung and Georgetown’s perimeter game awoke. After Hughes hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the half, McClung led a charge up the court for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer of his own. He turned, roared and pointed repeatedly to the Block “G” at mid-court while SU players sauntered toward the locker room. The Hoyas, behind McClung’s 26 points, shot 11-of-25 from 3-point range. Syracuse looked unprepared for the way in which Georgetown played, and it contributed to their worst defensive performance of the year – a game after their best.On offense, Hughes stayed hot all game, Dolezaj paced SU by “(making) plays” like Jim Boeheim wished during the NIT Season Tip-Off he would and Joe Girard III found his shot for the first time in almost five games. But, the hot-shooting of Buddy Boeheim that pulled the Orange away against Georgia Tech vanished in the first half of Saturday’s matchup, and by the second half, his resurgence had come too late.But for Syracuse, the biggest failures and inconsistencies arose in the little things: Free throws, foul calls, shots that hit every part of the basket but the net. Syracuse hit more shots and shot better from the field but the loss was lopsided. The Hoyas converted on 18-of-26 free throws, a place where the Orange found just five points of their own. “We need to just chill out and make (free throws),” Dolezaj said.Down by twelve with three minutes remaining in the game, Syracuse picked up its pressure at half court in hopes to swing the tempo their way. As the Orange pranced back for another offensive set, blinking lights held by the jumping fans produced an epileptic effect from the Georgetown student section as Syracuse’s offense again buffered and never fully returned. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 14, 2019 at 3:20 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcClearylast_img

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