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Georgetown gives up late lead, falls to Syracuse in overtime

Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett combine for 54 in the comeback victory for the Orange.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

With 2:46 remaining in Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Syracuse Orange, the Georgetown Hoyas looked primed to take their first win against a high-major opponent. But, a series of bad turnovers and cold shooting allowed for the Orange to climb back into the game and force OT, where they would win, 86-79.

The loss is a gut punch for the Hoyas, who had a chance to enter Big East play undefeated. But, they must now recover from the emotional drain of Saturday’s game before hosting North Texas on Wednesday evening.

The first 10 minutes of game action were ugly for both sides, to say the least. The Hoyas were unable to break Cuse’s 2-3 zone and failed to get a touch inside the 3-point arc in the opening 2:30. Two turnovers and an 0-4 mark from the field prevented the Hoyas from putting up a point prior to the first media timeout. Luckily for Georgetown, Syracuse was just as cold on the offensive end. They committed multiple turnovers and missed multiple contested jumpers. After 4:27 of play, the Orange held a slim 3-0 lead.

After the first media timeout, however, both teams found some offensive rhythm. They combined for 15 points in the ensuing six minutes as Georgetown jumped out to an 11-10 lead. The Hoyas maintained a steady lead for the remainder of the half, thanks in large part to Jagan Mosely and his inspired play off the bench. The sophomore pushed the tempo and finished in transition several times. His thunderous slam in transition with 1:49 remaining brought the Hoya faithful to their feet. At the half, Georgetown led, 28-24 behind Mosely’s 10 points.

Georgetown dominated in the opening minutes of the second half, using an 8-2 run to open the game’s first double-digit lead within 3:30. The Hoyas looked much more comfortable against the zone in the second half, with Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson converting on several big-to-big passes for open layups and dunks. But each time the Hoyas appeared to be on the cusp of truly breaking the game open, Brissett had an answer. He converted on several well-timed 3-pointers to keep the Orange within striking distance.

Both teams made defensive adjustments in the second half, with Syracuse deploying a fullcourt trapping defense to slow the pace and Georgetown reverting to a 2-3 zone. Brissett thrived against the zone, hitting open 3-pointers after excellent ball movement from the Cuse.

Meanwhile, Georgetown initially found success against the full court pressure, throwing deep balls over the top for easy layups and dunks. As the game wore on, however, Syracuse’s pressure got the better of the Georgetown guards, as the Orange forced several steals for easy layups to pull their way back into the game. Despite committing nine second half turnovers however, the Hoyas maintained a seven-point lead with 2:46 remaining following a mid-range jumper from Jamorko Pickett.

Georgetown could not sustain its offensive outburst down the stretch. They failed to score a single point following Pickett’s jumper. The Orange used clutch buckets from Oshae Brissett, Tyus Battle and Frank Howard to tie the game with one minute remaining. Govan missed a foul line jumper shortly after, giving Syracuse possession with little time remaining.

Battle dribbled the clock down to 10 seconds before taking a runner from the free throw line. His initial shot missed, but an offensive rebound led to an open three for Howard, who also missed, resulting in a scrum for the long rebound. Govan eventually came away with the ball and appeared to be fouled just before time expired. But the referees waived the call, bringing the game to overtime.

Brissett led the Orange’s comeback effort, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half, while Battle ensured a victory with eight of his game-high 29 points in the overtime period. In the overtime period, Battle and the Orange dominated. He drilled two 3-pointers by the midpoint of the period, and Brissett converted his free throw chances to put the game on ice.

Georgetown shot just 2-17 (12 percent) from deep in the game, well below their season average of 39 percent. Meanwhile, Cuse excelled from deep, hitting 43.5 percent of their chances. The Hoyas were also outrebounded for the first time this season, 44-37. It may not have been the result Georgetown had hoped for, but the team proved it can play with non-MEAC competition and can push bigger opponents to their limits.