Georgetown ends Syracuse's 38-game home win streak
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- In 1980, coach John Thompson Jr. and the Georgetown Hoyas officially closed Manley Field House, where the Syracuse University men's basketball team used to play.
On Saturday, the Hoyas and Thompson's son, coach John Thompson III, repeated history by officially closing the Syracuse half of the Georgetown-Syracuse Big East Conference rivalry.
With an NCAA-record crowd of 35,012 looking on at Carrier Dome, the No. 11 Hoyas defeated the No. 8 Orange 57-46 Saturday afternoon in the final Big East game between the two longtime rivals in Syracuse.
They'll play again March 9 at Georgetown in their final regular-season game as Big East foes before the Orange moves to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Big East Player of the Year candidate Otto Porter scored a career-high 33 points Saturday on 12-for-19 shooting, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Porter, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, played all 40 minutes and added eight rebounds and five steals for the Hoyas.
"It was special. That's the only way to categorize it," Thompson III said of Porter's performance. "You saw the show that I saw. To play that way up here, (that's what) special players do, and he's a special player."
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was Georgetown's next-highest scorer, with seven points, as all of the other Hoyas besides Porter shot 20 percent (7-for-35) from the floor.
On Feb. 13, 1980, after Georgetown defeated Syracuse 52-50 to snap the Orange's 57-game home winning streak in the final game at Manley Field House, Thompson Jr. kindled one of the fiercest rivalries in college sports by declaring "Manley Field House is officially closed!" The comment incited Syracuse fans and rallied the Hoyas, who celebrated in the locker room that night by repeatedly chanting the phrase.
More than 33 years later, the Hoyas snapped Syracuse's 38-game Carrier Dome winning streak, which was the longest in the nation and a Dome record. The Hoyas were the last team to win at the Dome, a 64-56 victory on Feb. 9, 2011.
"I'm sure you guys are waiting for a Manley Field House-type of statement, but you're not going to get it," Thompson III said. "But it feels good to win here. We were the last team to win here, but there's still a lot of ball to be played."
Saturday's crowd broke the previous NCAA record of 34,616 set at Carrier Dome on Feb. 27, 2010, when the Orange defeated Villanova 95-77. The crowd was loud and waiting to explode, but Syracuse's poor shooting (17-for-50 from the floor, 4-for-20 from 3-point range) contributed to the Orange's lowest offensive output at the Dome. Syracuse's previous Dome low was 50 points in a 51-50 loss to Connecticut in January 1988.
"Everybody was fired up to play, but you've still got to go out there and play basketball, and that's something we didn't do well," said C.J. Fair, who led the Orange with 13 points. "Our offense wasn't good the whole night, and our defense was better in the first half than the second half."
Georgetown, which has won 11 of its last 12 games, improved to 21-4 overall and 11-3 in the Big East. The Hoyas are in first place in the conference with four games remaining.
Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) faces another prime-time showdown Monday at Marquette, which was 10-3 in the Big East entering Saturday night's game at Villanova.
Syracuse added to Saturday's hoopla by retiring Carmelo Anthony's No. 15 jersey during a halftime ceremony. Anthony, now one of the NBA's top stars with the New York Knicks, was at the game and joined by several of his former Syracuse teammates from the 2003 national championship team.
With the score tied at 29 early in the second half, the Hoyas went on a 10-2 run to take a 39-31 lead. Porter sank two 3-pointers and Smith-Rivera added one during that spurt as Georgetown moved ahead to stay.
"I thought was Porter was so good today that he just dominated the game," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Their other players really struggled, and he had to make plays, and he made them all day."
The Orange started to press, and Fair stole the ball and fed it to Michael Carter-Williams for a dunk that sliced the Hoyas' lead to 41-37. But Brandon Triche fouled Porter on a made 3-pointer, and Porter completed the four-point play to boost the Hoyas' lead back to 45-37.
The Orange closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 23-21 lead at intermission. Carter-Williams' steal and three-point play started the run, and James Southerland finished it with a 3-pointer.
Trailing 12-4, the Hoyas went on a 17-3 tear to build a 21-15 lead. Porter, who entered the game averaging 15.1 points, scored 12 points in that run and 16 of Georgetown's 21 first-half points.
"It's a team thing," Porter said. "Our guards just made it possible for me to get open and get open shots around the 3-point line. Jabril (Trawick) penetrating and hitting me was huge."
NOTES: There have now been 72 Syracuse basketball games at the Dome with a crowd of more than 30,000, and Georgetown has been the opponent for 17 of those games. The schools with next highest number of games at the Dome with attendance over 30,000 are Connecticut, St. John's and Villanova, with seven apiece). ... The Orange is 48-24 when playing in front of crowds of more than 30,000 at the Dome. ... The series between Syracuse and Georgetown now stands at 48-40 in favor of the Orange. ... Entering Saturday's games, Georgetown's Porter and Syracuse's Fair were the only players in the Big East who ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
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