Syracuse-Georgetown: Orange Come Through with Must-Win in OT

Matt ReaganCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2009

Syracuse, N.Y.: In a battle between two teams whose seasons were on the brink, the Orange just put their foot on the Hoyas's head and pushed themselves up, while Georgetown continued to sink.

Before the most-attended college basketball game of this season, Syracuse excited the crowd of 31,841 with an excellent offensive performance.

Led by Jonny Flynn's 25 points and career high 13 assists, the Orange out-gunned the Hoyas on Saturday 98-94 in OT.

Eric Devendorf's torrid shooting also continued as he chipped in 23 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three point stripe. His most glaring stat though was the one turnover he committed in 43 minutes of play.

The biggest difference for the Orange, was the finally healthy Arinze Onuaku, who had been playing a limited role, but was clearly hindered from his knee problem.

The knee looked great today as Onuaku scored 15 points and hauled down 13 rebounds (his first double-double in over a month.)

Chris Wright led the Hoyas with 25 points before fouling out late in regulation. Center and freshman sensation Greg Monroe, also came up big for the Hoyas, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

In a game that loomed so large for both teams, there wasn't a shortage of physical plays and fouls which climaxed when Senior Kristof Ongenat was ejected after an altercation between himself and Dajuan Summers.

"What can you say, We play hard," said Onuaku after the game.

Coming in to today's game Syracuse had lost five out of their last seven and Georgetown had dropped five of six.

"Obviously this is a difficult stretch, but I think we played (today)," said coach John Thompson III (probably played their way into the prestigious NIT).

With the loss, the Hoyas drop to 13-10, 4-7 in the Big East. And with the victory, the Orange improved to 19-7, 7-6 in the Big East.

After a nice week off, Syracuce will get its next chance to avenge an earlier loss, when the Villanova Wildcats come to the dome on Sunday, Feb. 22. Back on the seventh, the Wildcats became the second team to score over 100 points against the Orange in one season during the Jim Boeheim era with a 102-85 beatdown.

The break comes at a crucial stretch for Syracuse because it will allow time for Andy Rautins and Onuaku to fully recover from the rash of injuries that have been plaguing them over the last several weeks.

But don't worry too much, Hoyas, the NIT isn't that bad. Just ask the Orange, who have had the pleasure of being invited the last two years.