Thursday, January 15, 2009

Georgetown 88, Syracuse 74

Well, that was downright satisfying.

For reasons outlined in yesterday's post, I couldn't keep more than half an eye on the first half. I did catch most of the second, but by that point the game was, amazingly, blissfully in hand.

Hoya Prospectus' recap points to unusually strong offensive rebounding and outside shooting in the first half as reasons for the early lead. They also cite a second straight strong performance from the bench, in particular Henry Sims, who really could make a major difference if he begins to contribute with any kind of consistency.

Orange Basketball's take is that the Hoyas' interior defense was too much for Syracuse early. Evidently, the Orange have become used to some level of success near the basket as they've beefed up on a weaker early conference schedule, and they weren't prepared to have those shots challenged quite so much.

And overall, the rebounding numbers came out lousy, because Syracuse pounded the Hoyas on the boards in the second half. But the second half, for Georgetown, was about control -- controlling tempo, emotions and the clock. And they did that well, as the always do. Give this team an early lead, it's going to be tough to come back on them. (Unless you have Stephen Curry, but that was last year's team...)

Hoyas are 3-2 in conference so far, with home wins over Providence and Syracuse, a road win at UConn, a road loss at Notre Dame and a home loss to Pitt. We're going to file that under "Just Fine." Assuming they get past Saturday's out-of-conference folly without anybody getting seriously hurt or irretrievably embarrassed, they can almost start to breathe. They have a home game against West Virginia, followed by road games at Seton Hall and Cincinnati before they have to go to Marquette on Jan. 31. The schedule will never get easy -- not this year -- but at least it's got a chance to make it to manageable.

Only conference game tonight is UConn at St. John's, which should be a massacre on the order of Little Big Horn. But just ask Notre Dame what happens if you go into St. John's and starting assuming stuff.

No conference games Friday, in preparation for a big six-game Saturday slate highlighted by Pitt's trip to Louisville, Luke Harangody's visit to Syracuse and a Georgetown visit to Durham, N.C., the reasons for which have yet to be adequately explained to me.

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