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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Syracuse falls to Georgetown 89-79

By Nick Kuzma

CitrusTV Men’s Basketball Reporter

WASHINGTON — Georgetown’s Mac McClung was red-hot to start the game. He put up 21 points in the first half, including a back breaker with five seconds left before halftime.

Elijah Hughes had just nailed a big jumper that kept Syracuse within nine points. But McClung got the ball off the inbound, took it coast-to-coast and buried a three pointer over Joe Girard III as time expired in the first half.

Those three points were a microcosm for the Orange’s struggles during the entire game– they could never get a big stop to creep back in the game.

“I think, by far, this is the best team we’ve seen from Georgetown – that I’ve seen in the last few years,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought we fought hard, we came back, kept doing things, but we really just couldn’t get stops at the other end when we needed it.”

Syracuse (5-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) dropped its 95th meeting with Georgetown (7-3, 0-0 Big East) 89-79, the Orange’s third loss in its last five games against the Hoyas. This was also Patrick Ewing’s first victory over the Orange as the Hoyas’ head coach.

Another issue for the ‘Cuse was Georgetown’s ability to get to the foul line. The Hoyas got to the charity stripe 31 times, making 24 of them, good for 77.4%.

On the other hand, Syracuse only made five of their nine free throws attempts, putting them at 55.6% for the game.

That 24-to-five difference proved another reason why the Orange could never completely climb out of their hole.

SU had its moments where the game was within ten points, but the Orange could never tie the game after the five-minute mark in the first half.

“You know, it’s tough, you gotta to fight those. Those are plays you need to capitalize on,” Buddy Boeheim said. “That was a good fight though, there were games we ended up sometimes losing by 14-plus, 15-plus, we were able to fight, get back. We just got to be able to capitalize.”

Boeheim picked up the slack offensively from Elijah Hughes, who had a tremendous first half with 18 points, but could only muster three in the second half. The sophomore finished with 25 points, shooting 53.8% from three.

The loss pushes the Orange back to .500 for the third time this season. Saturday was the team’s fourth non-conference loss of the season.

“The teams we lost to this year are a lot better than the teams we lost to last year,” Jim Boeheim said. “So, we’re not in great position, but we’re not in as bad a position as everybody thinks we’re in.”

Syracuse also mustered four non-conference losses last season after the true ACC slate began.

Next up, the Orange face three non-conference, non-power five foes. The stretch starts on Wednesday at 8 o’clock against Oakland (5-6, 0-0 Horizon) in the Dome.

“We’re all in on [the same mindset] we’re going to take [it] one game at a time,” Elijah Hughes said.

npkuzma@syr.edu | @nkuz71