Georgetown's cardiac Hoyas Battled back from 21 percent first-half shooting tonight and upset Syracuse, 52-50, on Eric Floyd's two free throws with five seconds to play.
This was the finale in Manley Field House and supporters of the nationally second-ranked Orangemen started singing Auld Lang Syne when their team led by 15 points with 14 minutes to play. Syracuse's 58th straight home-court victory appeared well in hand.
"We heard and we've heard before," Georgetown center Ed Spriggs said.
"The game isn't over till the buzzer goes off."
And, when the buzzer went off, Louii Orr's desperation30-footer had bounced off the rim.
"Manley Field House is officially closed," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said a few minutes later.
May it rest in peace. Syracuse will play both football and basketball in the new Carrier Dome.
The nation's longest Division I home court winning streak -- this was the first loss here for Syracuse's seniors and Coach Jim Boeheim -- ended because the Orangemen missed five of their last eight free throws.
When guard Eddie Moss missed the first of his one-and-one with 26 seconds to play, the stage was set for Georgetown to hand Syracuse its first Big East Conference defeat and only its second loss in 23 games this season. b
Craig Shelton, who scored 15 points the second half, grabbed the rebound and the Hoyas started to play for the final shot. With five seconds left and the Hoyas looking for what Thompson called "potluck," Floyd cut to the ball.
Marty Headd, who had missed three of four free throws in the waning moments, reached in and referee Vince Pugliese called a foul. Floyd did not miss.
Floyd, who made three of 13 shots, and John Duren, three of 12, had most of Georgetwon's trouble shooting tonight. The Hoyas had the open shots, but made only six of 28 in the first half.
"The money's on the line," Floyd said. "You have to come through, you just concentrate. My shots weren't falling in the first half. I knew I'd make the free throws."
Georgetown's record is 18-5, 5-1 in the Big East. Syracuse is now 4-1 and faces first-place St. John's (4-0) Saturday in a regionally televised game at Jamaica, N.Y.
Through out this game, Georgetown played well defensively, especially in keeping the ball away from Syracuse center Roosevlet Bouie.He had just six shots and nine points.
But the Hoyas, who earlier this season trailed Boston College by eight points with 69 seconds left in regulation and won in overtime, trailed by 30-16 at intermission. It was their worst half shooting in recent memory, with Duren and Floyd making only one of 13 shots.
Thompson's halftime speech dwelt on continuing to play that same tough defense.
"We played good defense, we had the open shots and they wouldn't fall," Thompson said. "If we were albe to get the same shots in the second half and they dropped, we could win."
Georgetown made 53.6 per cent of its shots the final 20 minutes and many were inside power moves by Spriggs, in his first extensive playing time since an ankle injury last month, and by Shelton.
It was still 48-40 in Syracuse's favor when the Orangemen, so aggressive in the first 30 minutes, started playing cautiously to protect their lead.
Floyd brought the Hoyas within 48-42 on a 20-foot jumper, the last outside shot the Hoyas would take.
Then Shelton bulled inside to cut the margin to four points.
That's when Syracuse began having trouble shooting free throws.
Bouie, a 6-foot-11 senior likely to be among the first picked in the nest NBA draft, drew a shooting foul from Spriggs, but made only the second of two free throws. Syracuse led, 49-44, with 2:10 to play.
Then Spriggs took a nifty pass from Floyd and his layup made it 49-46. Headd missed on the first of two bonus situations on which he would falter.
Again Floyd looked inside. This time Shelton drew a foul and made both free throws. It was 49-48 with 1:15 to play. Georgetown pressed on the in bounds pass and the Orangemen broke the press with a long pass to Headd.
But Terry Fenlon, shuttled in for defense in the late stages, made sure Headd would not get a shot off as he went to the basket. Headd sank the first free throw, missed the second, and it was 50-48.
Spriggs, who finished with nine points and six rebounds, powered his way to an offensive rebound and Bouie was called for goal tending on his hook shot. That tied the game with 34 seconds to play.