That way, the Orange would have had an answer for Georgetown’s Otto Porter.
Porter, whose previous career-high was 22 points, exploded for 33 against SU to spoil what was otherwise a record-breaking and historic day.
The No. 11 Hoyas defeated the No.
8 Orange 57-46 before a Carrier Dome crowd of 35,012—an NCAA on-campus record. It was also the final Big East Conference game in Syracuse between the two longtime rivals, because the Orange is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
The Orange, which entered the game shooting 45 percent from the field and averaging 75.2 points per game, shot just 34 percent overall (17-for-50) and 20 percent from 3-point range (4-for-20) as SU recorded its lowest offensive output ever at the Dome. Syracuse’s previous Dome low was 50 points in a 51-50 loss to Connecticut in January 1988.
Coach Jim Boeheim said he didn’t know if his players got too caught up in the emotion of the game. What he did know was that SU’s offense never solved the Hoyas’ zone defense.
“There’s a lot of emotions. Sometimes you try too hard maybe. It looked for a little while like we were trying a little bit too hard on offense,” Boeheim said. “I don’t think we ever got comfortable offensively, really. But that’s happened when there was 15,000 people here, so it doesn’t matter how many people are here. You have to play, and we didn’t play at a very good rhythm today at all.”
The loss snapped the Orange’s 38-game home winning streak, which was the longest streak in the nation and a Dome record. If that sounds familiar, it should.
On Feb. 13, 1980, Georgetown defeated Syracuse 52-50 to end the Orange’s 57-game home winning streak in the final game at Manley Field House. After the game, then-Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. famously ignited 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 their locker room by repeatedly chanting the phrase.
A little more than 33 years later, Georgetown—led by Thompson Jr.’s son, John Thompson III—snapped another long SU home winning streak in the game that officially closed the Syracuse half of the rivalry.
The Hoyas, incidentally, were the last team to win at the Dome before Saturday (64-56 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 (this season).”
In fact, SU and Georgetown will play March 9 in their final regular-season game as Big East foes and their final game before the Big East Tournament starts March 12.
“We want to win the Big East Conference championship, especially since we’re leaving this year,” SU’s Brandon Triche said. “After beating us in front of our crowd, we want to return the favor (March 9).”
Saturday’s crowd broke the 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 always on the verge of exploding, but like SU’s spotty offense, the fans could never get into a rhythm with the slow pace of the game.
The SU players were disappointed that they didn’t play better in front of the record crowd.
“Everybody was fired up to play, but you 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.
“They beat us on our home court, and it is the first time we have lost at home in a long time,” SU’s Michael Carter-Williams said. “It definitely hurts.”
Syracuse retired Anthony’s No. 15 during a halftime ceremony that featured some of his former teammates from the 2003 national championship team. Former assistant coach Troy Weaver, who recruited Anthony out of Baltimore, also attended the ceremony and Anthony told the crowd how he initially told Weaver he wasn’t going to Syracuse because it was too cold.
“The next day, I come home from school and I see Jim Boeheim sitting on my front step,” Anthony told the crowd. “Once I saw Jim Boeheim sitting on my front step, something just clicked in my mind: Real men wear orange.”
Anthony and Boeheim will forever be linked because of the national championship and the two Olympic gold medals
Team USA has won with Anthony on the team and Boeheim as an assistant coach. Accompanied by his wife, La La Vazquez, and son, Kiyan, Anthony was clearly touched by the ceremony and said, “I’ll never forget this day and this moment.”
“I felt like it was yesterday,” Anthony said when asked about what was going through his mind. “I felt like I was going to run out there on the court play a basketball game.”
If only he could have.Orange Slices: There have 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 the next highest number of games at the Dome with attendance of more than 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.
In addition to Anthony, the other SU players who have had their jersey retired are Dave Bing, Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Gabor, Vic Hanson, Billy Owens, Rony Seikaly, Wilmeth Sidat- Singh and Pearl Washington.
Never Say Never? “I don’t think it necessarily is the last game (against Georgetown in Syracuse),” said Boeheim. “We’ll see what happens. I hope it’s not.”