No. 23 Syracuse 98, Georgetown 94
Stick a fork in the Hoyas—they’re done.
Another loss to a mid-pack Big East team diminishes any reason Georgetown should remain in tournament contention without a deep run at the Garden in March. With the way the Hoyas are playing, it’s looking like a four-day run from the bottom seeds to the top will be on the agenda.
A Georgetown loss couldn’t have come at a better time for the Orange or a worse time for the Hoyas. An overtime session capped off this fierce rivalry in the Carrier Dome, and Syracuse did its best to keep Georgetown out of bubble talk and itself in the top 25.
The turning point of the game came when Johnny Flynn sparked a run to bring the Cuse back from a seven point deficit to lead 33-32 at half. The Orange opened the final period with a 9-0 run that kept the Hoyas down most of the game.
Georgetown battled back to force five extra minutes, but youth fell to experience in overtime.
National attention will fall on this game for more than its tournament implications. Add Kristof Ongenaet to the list of elbow ejections after he was tossed for throwing a jab at DeJuan Summers in a first half scrum for a loose ball. Someone tell Jay Billis he has a column to write.
No. 7 Wake Forest 86, No. 25 Florida State 63
A different weekend and a different looking Wake Forest team stepped on the floor to take on now-formidable Florida State. The Demon Deacons love to play ranked opponents, extending their unbeaten streak against top 25 teams last Saturday.
Along with superior athleticism and depth, Wake excelled from the line in an easy home court win. The Demon Deacons hit 32-of-38 freebies while never trailing in the contest.
Add Wake Forest to a list of confusing teams loaded with potential. They shot over 50 percent for most of the game, led by 12 at halftime and then went up by 30 in the second half. There was no slowing up for a team that needed to show the country it could still ball with the best.
Wake center Chas McFarland said it best when talking about Wake’s mindset. “We seem to play to our potential when we play tougher competition.”
High-Impact Bubble Games
Boston College 80, No. 6 Duke 74: Amongst the settled dust of last Wednesday’s UNC-Duke game, Boston College is wondering what the big deal is over the two. The Eagles completed their sweep, scoring the final six points of the game in less than a minute’s time. Tyrese Rice wasn’t the leading scorer for Boston College, but he was the leading ball handler down the stretch.
Arizona 84, No. 11 UCLA 72: For all the good things Arizona is doing at a key time in the season, UCLA is doing them all wrong. The Bruins’ rise in the rankings has officially halted after being swept in the desert this week by Arizona State and Arizona.
Loyola of Chicago 71, No. 15 Butler 67: Loyola freshman Jordan Hicks is breaking out after a slow start to the season. Averaging just 2.9 points this season, Hicks threw in a career-high 23 against Butler.
No. 20 Purdue 49, Iowa 45: Inconsistent offense has Purdue performing below expectations in 2009, and the Iowa game was no different. Good defense will win games, but the Boilermakers are getting very little offensive production in league play that will hurt them in March.
Boise State 66, No. 21 Utah State 56: A basketball sort of Mark Sanchez (not to be confused with the former USC quarterback) put up 20 points to end the nation’s longest winning streak. Boise’s double team on State’s Gary Wilkinson held the league’s leading scorer to 12 points.
Baylor 72, Texas A&M 68: In the best bubble game the Big XII will see this season, Curtis Jerrels led Baylor over Texas A&M to regain their status as an at-large worthy team. A small scrum between teams ended the game after A&M attempted to fouled Jerrels as the buzzer sounded.
Wisconsin 55, Ohio State 50: Wisconsin is rolling, and as was the case Saturday, out-rebounding much larger teams. The Badgers grabbed 32 rebounds to the Buckeye’s 22 to make the five-point difference in the end.
Providence 78, Rutgers 68: In a game that was much worse than the scoreboard shows, Providence took full advantage of losses by Georgetown and Cincinnati. The goal: to start Big East Tournament play Thursday as opposed to Tuesday.
Kentucky 79, Arkansas 63: Jodie Meeks stepped up in the absence of Patrick Patterson, and in a big way. The junior guard shot 17-24 without his leading sidekick, pushing Arkansas further out of the picture after knocking off Oklahoma and Texas before conference play.
Penn State 68, Minnesota 63: Questions can now rise as to whether Minnesota ever deserved their top 25 status. The Golden Gophers put together a decent effort, but came up short in the final minutest against half decent Penn State.
Georgia 88, Florida 86: Two-straight losses have the Gators looking to just get a ticket to the Big Dance. Florida had a chance, taking the lead in the second half despite being down 14 multiple times in the first, but missed shots from Irving Walker and Walter Hodge drained the Gators’ chances.
Best Weekend Stat Line: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
40 points, 23 rebounds, two assists in 95-74 win over Texas Tech