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Rapid Reaction: G'town 61, Syracuse 39

3/9/2013
Play1:05
Georgetown Tops Syracuse For Big East Title

Markel Starks led the Hoyas with 19 points, helping Georgetown close out its Big East rivalry against Syracuse with a 61-39 victory.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A quick look at Georgetown’s 61-39 win over Syracuse on Saturday.

Overview: The rivalry is officially closed. Syracuse will head into the record books with the overall series lead. But Georgetown took the last two, and trust me, the Hoyas won’t forget.

The first was the Otto Porter show. The second: simply a show. Georgetown all but mopped the floor with its archrival, leading by as many points as it wanted and proving it is more than just Otto Porter Jr. The national player of the year candidate was good, but he had help. The Hoyas' backcourt helped carve up Syracuse’s zone, with Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera combining for 34 points.

The win secures at least a share of the Big East regular-season crown for Georgetown and assures the Hoyas of the top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

As good as Georgetown looked, Syracuse looked that bad, and that has been a problem for the Orange of late. Yes, they got off the losing wagon by beating DePaul, but really that doesn’t count. Truth is, Syracuse has looked terrible for the past two weeks, as has its senior leader, Brandon Triche. Triche was 1-for-9 in this game, and he is 7-for-29 over the past three games. He has to get out of his own head for the Orange to win.

Turning point: The Hoyas controlled this from the tip, but they really took over at the start of the second half. Already up seven, Georgetown scored nine unanswered points, finishing the run with a Nate Lubick bucket in transition off a sweet pass from Starks. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim called a timeout. It didn’t help. The game was all but over.

Key player: Split the difference between Starks and Smith-Rivera, who started the game with all of Georgetown’s 16 points and finished with 19 and 15, respectively.

Key stat: Pick one from the Syracuse box score -- 1-of-11 from 3-point range, 14 turnovers. It just wasn’t pretty for the Orange.

Miscellaneous: The last Big East regular-season game between these two rivals brought out the cleverness in the fans and the Hoya glitterati. Patrick Ewing, Michael Graham and Alonzo Mourning were among the players on hand for the game. Like most folks, Ewing said he was "disappointed" to see the Big East and this rivalry end. “I’m sad to see it go," he said. … A big banner during player introductions read, "Our hatred will never end." One student lofted a "Porter for Pope" suggestion, and another suggested the Hoyas’ Otto (Porter) was > than Syracuse’s (the Orange). Then there was the definitive: "Officially closed: Manley, Dome." … The Verizon Center was packed with 20,972, the largest college basketball crowd in D.C. metro history. To which Syracuse (35,012 for its game against Georgetown) says, "eh."

Next game: It’s on to the Big East tournament for both teams.