A record crowd that included Carmelo Anthony witnessed the Syracuse Orange fall to the Georgetown Hoyas, 57-46, in their last Carrier Dome showdown as Big East foes.
Georgetown forward Otto Porter torched the 'Cuse for 33 points in front of 35,012 stunned spectators. Syracuse didn't have any answers offensively, and it was outplayed down the stretch by a Hoyas squad that was ready for the moment.
For Orange Nation, it was a stinging defeat. Georgetown got the last laugh in the Carrier Dome and ended the Orange's 38-game home winning streak.
The two teams will square off once more at Georgetown March 9th, but Syracuse will never again get the chance to beat the Hoyas as a conference rival at home.
Fans and media alike reacted to the Orange loss, what it means to the rivalry and the team's outlook moving forward.
Otto Porter's Dominance
Ultimately, the day belonged to Hoyas sophomore forward Otto Porter, who was by far the best player on the court. It's bitterly ironic that he shares a name with the Orange mascot:
Losing to Georgetown is bad enough. But because of a guy named Otto? The Basketball Gods were cruel today.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 23, 2013
Otto Porter, a villain impossible to hatem.espn.go.com/extra/ncaa/sto…— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) February 24, 2013
I know I'm a Cuse alum and Ill get crushed for this... But I really like this Georgetown team. Porter might be the smoothest player in CBB— Anish Shroff (@AnishESPN) February 24, 2013
#Hoyas 57 Cuse 46. Otto Porter 33 points. 38-game home win streak, over. In this series, the Carrier Dome is officially closed.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) February 23, 2013
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated asserts that Porter deserves to be mentioned alongside the best players in the country. After a game like that, it's hard to argue:
Is it time to throw Otto Porter into the POY conversation? He is certainly the best player in the Big East.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 23, 2013
ESPN icon and Syracuse alum Mike Tirico tips his cap to Porter and likens his performance to that of David Robinson's 35-point, seven-block effort for Army in the Carrier Dome in 1986:
Syracuse's Offensive Power Outage
Jim Boeheim's crew had trouble getting the ball in the hoop all afternoon, as the team struggled against Georgetown's zone. He noted that even when his players found open looks, the shots weren't falling:
JB: "We didn't attack their zone well and when we did we missed shots. 2nd half we just didn't do a good job defensively. Porter dominated"— Matt Park (@MattPark1) February 23, 2013
46 points for Syracuse...fewest points scored by Orange at Carrier Dome since 2004— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 23, 2013
Syracuse, a team that plays zone, tends to struggle vs. solid zone defenses: ow.ly/i03G0— Syracuse Basketball (@PSBasketball) February 24, 2013
Staying positive tough loss on to the next one...focusing on Marquette— Michael Carter-Willi (@MJCWilliams) February 24, 2013
The Orange had a total of eight assists on the day. Let that sink in.
If the team wants to go anywhere in March, it must learn how to play efficient offense against good defenses. There won't be any Big East bottom-feeders for them to demolish in the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight.
The Bright Spot: Carmelo's Return
Carmelo Anthony's presence and halftime jersey retiring ceremony turned out to be the most positive note to an otherwise glum day.
The 2003 Final Four Most Oustanding Player relished his time at the Dome and his Orange roots, while friends, fans and current Syracuse players celebrated his legacy:
"Real men wear Orange." - @carmeloanthony— Syracuse University (@SyracuseU) February 23, 2013
Carmelo's return wasn't enough to inspire an Orange victory, though, and thousands of fans went home unhappy with the outcome of the game.
But the season isn't over, and there is a lot of basketball to be played between now and the Big Dance...including a visit to Georgetown for a chance at revenge.
A trip to Marquette is Syracuse's first chance to get back on track.