Many Vegans became quite mirthful when hearing news that the Verizon Center hosted its first annual Carrots and Veggie Expo last night. The Carrot Expo, which was sponsored by Georgetown University, encouraged fans to come support the Hoyas dressed as Carrots to promote healthy eating habits. Many doctors believe that carrots are an underrated vegetable, and do wonders for the body. Ok hoax up! There is no such thing as a Carrots Expo, there is a much darker reason on why hundreds of fans were dressed in nothing but orange last night at the Georgetown game: they were Syracuse fans.
There should be a certain rule put in place that says the visiting team cannot buy tickets to nearly the entire 400 level in the Verizon Center. These Syracuse fans metamorphosed the Hoyas’ home court into a rowdy but neutral site. For most of the game, Georgetown fans were out-cheered, out-costumed, and embarrassed by a drunk but knowledgeable Syracuse crowd that cheered as if their season was in limbo. No matter the situation, one Syracuse fan would sporadically yell “take it to them”. And that’s exactly what his Orangemen did as they bolted out to an early double digit lead, that would eventually get as high as 23 points in the second half. With Georgetown trailing 60-37 with 12:37 left to play in the game, somebody somewhere, lit a fire under the home crowd and they cheered like never before. They cheered their Hoyas on, as Georgetown came back with a furry, making this one of the most exciting games ever seen in the Verizon Center.
With 5:08 to play in the second half, the arena was rocking to the music of “We will rock you!”. The Hoyas come back had fully ignited everyone dressed in blue and grey, as the score board read: Georgetown 60 vs. Syracuse 65. The crowd would get even louder, and Georgetown would get even closer. Down by only 1 point, with 1:07 to play many fans could envision celebrating with their players as they stormed the court. However, Jason Clark missed a wide open, potential game winning three-pointer, which lead to a resurrection of cheers from the carrots. After a couple of fouls and clutch free throws by Andy Rautins of Syracuse the come back failed, No. 10 Georgetown loss to No. 5 Syracuse final score 75-71.
Syracuse (25-2, 12-2 Big East) never trailed. They got off to a quick start, while the Hoyas (18-7; 8-6 Big East) got off to quick foul trouble. Greg Monroe picked up his second foul within the opening few minutes. And Syracuse’s big men certainly capitalized. But Andy Rautins of Syracuse who scored a season-high 26 points, was the truth, and the reason why the Orangemen took the win.
Andy Rautins and his dynamic three point shooting might to the naked eye resemble ex-Duke guard J.J. Redick. However, Rautins is much quicker, has more spring to his step, and his release may be even faster than Redick’s. Combine Andy Rautins with a somewhat rejuvenated Wesley Johnson and you have a Syracuse team who Dick Vitale has selected to be in his final four. Jim Boeheim, Head Coach of Syracuse, stated that Wesley Johnson’s various ailments were bothering him so much in practice yesterday that he literally couldn’t get his shots to hit the rim. Well Johnson must have received some form of super-natural healing, because he showed no signs of that practice, playing 40 minutes and scoring 16 points.
On the Hoyas side of the equation, if you look at the statistics they played well enough to win. Chris Wright finished with 20 points, Austin Freeman had a strong second half and ended up with 21 points, and Greg Monroe dominated the low blocks in the final minutes as he finished with 20 points. The Big Three for the Hoyas scored 61 of the teams 71 points. And for the most part this season, that has been the winning formula. But when playing against a championship caliber team such as Syracuse, you must play well for 40 minutes, not 10 minutes. However, Georgetown’s film session for this game might be short, as there is not much material to analyze.
Members of the media like to analyze games by breaking down the X’s and O’s. Die hard fans like to study set plays, formations, and various defenses. But this game was simple, make open shots and you win. Jim Boeheim was blunt saying that “In the first half we made shots, and in the second half we didn’t make as many”. Moments later, Chris Wright of Georgetown echoed similar comments, “We attacked the zone we just didn’t make shots”. And that’s all it took for the Hoyas to get down, and finally lay down. “Loosing this game is pain and misery”, said Coach Thompson. But he confidently followed up that quote saying, “But I’m not worried”.