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No. 5 Georgetown Beats Syracuse, 61-39, Wins BIG EAST Regular Season Championship
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III said that after most wins, they would enjoy it until the team got back to campus. On Saturday afternoon, after the fifth-ranked Hoyas beat long-time BIG EAST Conference rival Syracuse, 61-39, in the final regular season meeting as conference members, Thompson said he was going this one for the rest of the day.
The Hoyas 22-point win over the Orange not only closed a chapter in the series between the teams, it clinched the third BIG EAST Regular Season Championship under JTIII and the No. 1 seed in next week's league tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Georgetown closes out the regular season with a 24-5 overall record and a 14-4 record in the BIG EAST. The Hoyas have won 14 of their last 15 games. Syracuse is now 23-8 overall and finished league play 11-7.
The game was played in front of a capacity crowd at Verizon Center of 20,972, the largest college basketball crowd ever in the D.C. Metro area.
Junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) scored a game-high 19 points - hitting a career-best five three-pointers - and led four players in double figures as Georgetown out-scored Syracuse 36-21 in the second half for the win. It was the widest margin of victory against Syracuse since a 90-63 win over the Orange since March 3, 1985.
Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./Oak Hill) scored 15 points and had five assists, while sophomore guard Jabril Trawick (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) chipped in 11 points and four rebounds and sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./Scott County Central) scored 10 points, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and tied his career-high with seven assists.
The Hoyas led by seven points, 25-18, at the break, but free throws from Porter Jr. and a three-pointer from Starks pushed the lead to 12 points, 30-18, and forced Syracuse to call a timeout. The Orange would use a 7-2 run to pull within 32-25 on a dunk from Michael Carter-Williams, but the Hoyas responded with a jumper from Porter Jr. and another Starks three to make it 37-25 with 16:02 to play in the game.
Syracuse got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way. A jumper from Porter Jr. made it 43-27 at the 12:49 mark and a three-pointer from Smith-Rivera gave Georgetown a 52-31 lead with 7:25 to play in the game.
The Hoyas led in the early going, but neither team was able to pull away. A three-point play from Carter-Williams tied the game at 11-all midway through the first half and Georgetown held a 16-15 lead after Rakeem Christmas hit a jumper with 5:42 left in the half. Georgetown, however, used a 7-2 run over the final 3:43 of the first half and took a 25-18 lead on free throws from Porter Jr. with 24 seconds to play.
Georgetown finished the game shooting 42.0 percent from the floor (21-of-50), hit 40.9 percent of its three-pointers (9-of-22) and connected on 83.3 percent of its free throws (10-of-12). The Hoyas held a 32-27 advantage on the boards, handed out 18 assists and committed only nine turnovers, including two in the second half.