The Orange and the Hoyas continued their rivalry on Saturday with a game in Syracuse. This marked the first time that the Hoyas visited the Carrier Dome since the Orange left the Big East for the ACC after the 2012-2013 season. All 25,131 fans in the Carrier Dome were buzzing with excitement before tipoff in what promised to be a great game between two heated rivals. However, most fans left the game disappointed as Syracuse fell to Georgetown 78-71.
One of the biggest issues for Syracuse on yesterday was the play of sophomore point guard, Franklin Howard. Howard has struggled against quality opponents all season and continued the trend against the Hoyas. He finished the game with just 4 points on 2-6 shooting and missed both of his shots from behind the arc. Howard’s passing ability, which is typically his greatest strength, was his biggest weakness against Georgetown. For the first time all season, Howard had more turnovers (6) than he did assist (4). Howard consistently telegraphed his passes, making it easy for the Georgetown players to get steals. The point guard position has been a struggle ever since Tyler Ennis left for the draft following the 2013-2014 season. Having little point guard depth other than John Gillon, who also struggled this game, Howard needs to play up to his ability if the Orange have any hope of turning this season around.
In typical Syracuse fashion, the Orange were outrebounded on Saturday. The frontcourt is something that Syracuse has struggled with for a few seasons and nothing changed against Georgetown. With Pascal Chukwu out following eye surgery, the Orange once again lacked in size. Georgetown outrebounded the Orange 41-30 with 12 of the 41 rebounds being offensive. Free throw shooting was also a major issue for the Orange. While the Hoyas were consistent at the line (22-25), the Orange gave their worst performance of the year going just 14-25 from the stripe.
Andrew White, who has consistently been the Orange’s best player all season, also had a sub-par game. White, who averages 16 points per game, was held to only 12 on 3-11 shooting. Jim Boeheim returned to his old self and only played 7 players (8 if you count Tyler Roberson’s 6 minutes of playing time). This forced many of the SU starters to play more minutes than they are accustom to. This included Andrew White who played all 40 minutes on Saturday. Towards the end of the game many of the players, including White, looked exhausted which may have affected their play.
As bad as the Orange were, the play of Georgetown guard L.J. Peak cannot be overlooked. The junior was all over the court against the Orange. He had a double-double, finishing with a team leading 23 points and 11 rebounds. Peak shot consistently from the field and always seemed to hit a big shot when his team needed one. He took advantage of Syracuse’s defensive struggles and ripped apart the 2-3 zone. If the Orange allow other teams to take advantage of them just like Peak did, it will be a very long season.
Among all the faults in this game, there was a silver lining for the Orange. Tyler Lydon emerged from his season long slump and led the Orange in points and rebounds. Lydon was nearly perfect from the field shooting a total 12-13 from the field (29pts) and a perfect 3-3 from three point range. He was the only dominate figure on the boards for Syracuse, bringing in 9 total rebounds. For everything that the Orange did wrong against Georgetown, the resurgence of Tyler Lydon is a promising sign for the future. If the rest of the team gets out of the funk that they’re in, Syracuse may be able to turn the season around.
The Orange play their next game on Monday December 19th at 7pm at home against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.