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Georgetown Loses To Syracuse In Front Of Largest Recorded Crowd, 58-51

With an untraditional offense, missing its star guard Chris Wright, and in front of a record largest crowd for a Georgetown game with 20,276 in attendance at Verizon Center, the Hoyas made a run against Syracuse that kept going without them for their second loss in a row, 58-51.

“We got some good looks that didn’t go in,” coach John Thompson III said. “We fought, we scrapped, and the ball just took some bad bounces.

“We had a few looks. We missed some easy bunnies that when you’re playing against them that once you get it in there, you can’t miss those. [Julian Vaughn] missed some shots he doesn’t normally miss; Nate (Lubick) missed a couple runners, a couple layups. We got what we wanted, but it didn’t go in. You have to give them credit for that.”

Both teams played hard defensively, but Syracuse’s zone was playing tricks on the Hoyas, who shot 34.6 percent (9-for-26) and made only two of 12 attempted three-pointers. Though the output wasn’t nearly as poor as Wednesday’s showing against Cincinnati, it was the Hoyas second worst game in terms of shooting percentage.

“Julian was extremely effective tonight on the defensive end (7 boards),” Thompson said, “but on the offensive end, the ball didn’t go in the basket.”

The calls were minimal for the most part; both teams only made four free throw attempts in the first half while the majority of Syracuse’s second-half attempts came in the remaining four minutes.

Things picked up for the Hoyas three minutes into the second half when they started what turned into a 10-1 run to bring them within 3. Consecutive three-pointers by Jason Clark, followed by an Austin Freeman layup got the Hoyas to within 5. Freeman gathered the defensive rebound off a missed Orange three, made the half-court pass to an open Vaughn, who was unable to make the layup but was fouled and easily added two free-throw points to the mix.

Freeman and Clark each added another three to keep it close before Lubick, who had not played well until this point, scored a layup following a steal by Freeman to tie the game at 43. Clark got a steal to give the Hoyas possession. After missing two shot attempts but gathering both rebounds, Lubick made a bucket on the third try for the Hoyas’ first lead since the opening minutes.

“We were making a good run at that point,” Clark said. “We were making stops and getting a run in. Nate made a good play.”

But that would be the last basket Georgetown would see until the waning moments of the game. The Hoyas missed 11 of 12 shots attempted in the last 10 minutes of the game.

“At points we were holding the ball a little bit too long looking for something instead of just passing it around and looking for each other,” Freeman said.

“[Scoop Jardine] made some big shots,” Thompson said of Syracuse’s sophomore guard who ranks third on the team in scoring and second in the Big East in assists. “He managed the game for him; he controlled the game for them. When we made a run, he answered with a couple of key baskets.”

The loss of Wright due to a broken left hand suffered in Feb. 23’s game against Cincinnati was obviously a big blow to the Hoyas’ strategy, but Thompson said he is confident, with a little more preparation, his team could be prepared to face Cincinnati a second time, when they travel to Ohio March 5 for their regular-season finale.

“You come into this game and it’s a loss,” Thompson said. “There’s no doubt about that, it’s a loss. … I’m not trying to look for something good, but we responded. It’s not like you pack it in, we didn’t take a woe-is-me attitude. … We’ve got a week to go to get ready. Are we in a position where we thought we would be five days ago? No, but it is what it is. That group in there, I got confidence that we’re going to figure it out.”

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