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Preview: Georgetown and Syracuse Renew Rivalry

Reigning Big East Player of the Week Mac McClung leads the Hoyas into battle with bitter rival.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One of college basketball’s best rivalries will open its latest chapter on Saturday afternoon when the Georgetown Hoyas (6-3, Big East) host the Syracuse Orange (5-4, ACC) in the nation’s capital. The game will be broadcast nationally on FOX at 1:00pm ET. This will be the fifth-consecutive year in which Hoyas and Orange do battle after a two-year break following conference realignment in 2013. Each team has won two of the last four games, with one win coming at home and one on the road.

The Hoyas, who have lost four players—James Akinjo, Josh LeBlanc, Galen Alexander, and Myron Gardner—to the transfer portal in the last two weeks, managed a 2-0 road trip in their last action. Led by Mac McClung’s stellar play, which saw the sophomore score 26.0 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting, including 52.9 percent from deep, the Hoyas took down a pair of undefeated opponents, Oklahoma State (7-2, Big 12) and SMU (8-1, American). The Georgetown offense was particularly prolific against SMU, scoring 91 points on the night on 26 assists. Jahvon Blair tied the Georgetown single-game record with seven made three-pointers, while Terrell Allen, who has started both games since Akinjo’s departure, notched a career-high 10 assists. Allen has thrived in his starting spot, having scored a season-high 15 points in his first game starting at Oklahoma State. Georgetown also managed to hold its opponents to 74 points in both games, down from its season average of 78.1 points allowed per game.

The Hoyas will have to bring their hot shooting back home with them if they are to crack the Syracuse 2-3 zone. The Orange are allowing just 63.3 points per game on 38 percent opponent shooting. Georgetown’s preference since head coach Patrick Ewing’s arrival in 2017 has been to play quickly and get out in transition when possible. If the Hoyas can control the glass (39.3 rebounds per game to the Orange’s 35.6) through the likes of Omer Yurtseven, McClung will have ample opportunities to get out in transition. Elijah Hughes leads the way for Syracuse with 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Buddy Boheim chips in 14.1 points per game for the Orange, who dismantled Georgia Tech (4-3, Big East), 97-63, in their last game. That was the second time in five games the Orange hit 97 points, but in the three games enveloped, the team averaged just 63.7 points. A hot-and-cold Orange team will take the floor on Saturday, and Syracuse will hope its momentum from last Saturday’s game carries over.