Georgetown rallies from big deficit, only to fall to Big East rival Syracuse

By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 19, 2010

Regardless of rooting interest, it wasn't a game for the faint of heart Thursday at Verizon Center, where the wild swings of momentum that often mark college basketball were on extreme display.

After getting soundly thrashed by Syracuse through the first 30 minutes, Georgetown slashed a 23-point deficit against its bitter Big East rival to one with 1 minute 10 seconds remaining.

But the furious rally wasn't enough despite late-game heroics by the team's Big Three -- Greg Monroe, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright -- and Georgetown fell, 75-71, before a crowd of 19,976 that expended nearly as much energy as the players.

With his team's leaders standing behind him during the news conference that followed, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III broke from his traditional practice of asking reporters for questions, saying he wanted to first make a statement.

"I'm proud of our guys," Thompson said, head bowed, his voice low and somber. "Losing is hell. And after a loss, there is nothing but misery and pain. And there is misery and pain right now. I'm proud of how our guys responded. And in no way am I trying to imply it's a moral victory; we don't believe in moral victories. But I'm just proud of our guys."

With the defeat, Georgetown (18-7, 8-6) has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, Thursday's defeat coming on the heels of a 71-68 loss at Rutgers last Sunday.

Georgetown has now lost four of its last seven and finds itself slipping down the Big East standings just as it must hit the road for two of its next three.

Fifth-ranked Syracuse (25-2, 12-2), meantime, looks poised for a Final Four run. And Coach Jim Boeheim didn't hide his delight at his team's first-half play, in which it held Georgetown to 31 percent shooting and Monroe to only one field goal attempt.

"For 30 minutes, we played about as well as we can play," Boeheim said. "We were really good offensively, and defensively we played really well."

Things could hardly have gotten off to a worse start for Georgetown, with Monroe (20 points) picking up two fouls in the first three minutes.

Syracuse hit six of its first seven attempts from the floor; Georgetown managed just one field goal in its first five. With that, Syracuse took a 15-3 lead.

Georgetown never led and appeared hopelessly out of contention, falling further behind in the second half after trudging to the locker room at the break, trailing 44-31.

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