1984 Big East championship game, Madison Square Garden, Georgetown 82, Syracuse 71 (OT): Ewing and Washington each scored 27 points, the Hoyas’ Michael Graham punched Syracuse’s Andre Hawkins and Boeheim fumed, “The best team did not win tonight.”
ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico, 1988 Syracuse graduate: “They were going to throw out Michael Graham and they didn’t, and he hit Andre Hawkins. Jim Boeheim, back in one of these media rooms said, ‘Michael Graham punched my player in front of 19,000 people, and [official] Jody Sylvester didn’t have the guts to call it! The wrong team won tonight.’ He walked off, picked up a chair and tossed it as he walked out of the press room. To this day, I’ll never forget that.”
Boeheim: “We played better that night. When the foul was called, there was a foul and then the punch was thrown. It was really a foul and then another punch after the foul. So it should have really been four free throws and the ball [for Syracuse], and they ended up with just a two-shot foul. At that stage of the game, if we had gotten the four free throws and the ball, we would have won the game.
“Georgetown made a great comeback, but it was a disappointing call at the end of the game, which sometimes happens. In the heat of the moment you’re going to be very upset.”
Shapland: “If you ask a Syracuse fan about this game, he will refer to ‘Graham throwing a punch.’ If you ask a Georgetown fan, he will tell you to look at the Daily News photo of Patrick [Ewing] being punched in the groin by Pearl Washington.”
Jan. 28, 1985, Syracuse 65, Georgetown 63: A frenzied crowd of 32,229 packed the Carrier Dome, where a fan threw an orange that hit the backboard when No. 2 Georgetown’s Ewing was on the free throw line. Washington hit the game-winner with eight seconds left.
Michael Jackson, Georgetown point guard, 1982-86: “You go into the arena, the Dome, and as we’re in the locker room, you can hear the crowd reverberating in the locker room because there were just so many people there.
“[Pearl Washington] was special — very good ballhandler, fun to play against, as well. You like those challenges as a competitor. It was a challenge that we all were looking forward to, and when I say we all, I mean the entire team.”
Bud Poliquin, Syracuse Post-Standard columnist, 1984-present: “This is the time when it got really stupid and ugly. There were signs that said, ‘Patrick [Ewing], can you read this?’ They were making fun of his intellect. That’s when Thompson was very, very sensitive of all that. So when the fruit goes off the backboard, an orange, he took the team off the court immediately. . . . Boeheim grabbed the microphone, and that was a great moment. He asks the crowd to calm down.”