Georgetown faces another most important basketball game Monday night when the Hoyas take on Big East opponent Syracuse at 8 p.m. (WTTG-TV-5) in front of probably more than 20,000 in the Carrier Dome.
A unique angle is that should Georgetown prevail, it would be the Hoyas' sixth straight victory over the Orangemen on six different courts. The previous five came in Providence Arena, Maryland's Cole Field House, Capital Centre, Syracuse's old Manley Field House and GU's McDonough Arena.
When the teams played three weeks ago in McDonough, the Hoyas took a halftime tongue-lashing from Coach John Thompson before overcoming a lethargic first 20 minutes and eventually coasting in.
In that game, Syracuse center Dan Schayes had a field day in the first half, scoring at will from the inside. But Hoya reserve center Mike Frazier, playing better offensively and defensively now than ever before in his four-year career (spanning five), came off the Georgetown bench to stop Schayes, the Orangemen's leading scorer.
Schayes versus Frazier shapes up as the key matchup once more. The teams match well by position, with guards Eddie Moss and Marty Headd and forwards Erich Santifer and Leo Rautins filling out Coach Jim Boeheim's starting lineup.
Besides Frazier, Sleepy Floyd, Eric Smith and Gene Smith have played exceptionally well during the Hoyas' four-game winning streak. Freshman guard Gene Smith has been coming in to frustrate opposing guards with his relentless defensive pressure. He could have his toughest test of the season against Headd and Moss, two smart, unflappable seniors.
The game is so important to second-place Georgetown because the Big East race is squeaky tight. First and fourth place are separated by a half-game. Syracuse (4-4, 13-7 overall) is sixth in the standings and one game behind GU (5-3, 15-8), which is tied for third with Connecticut. The Hoyas play three of their next four conference games on the road.
Another reason Georgetown would like to finish high in the standings is because the top two conference finishers most likely will avoid having to meet Syracuse on its home floor in the first round of the Big East tournament next month.
Georgetown has won 15 straight games in February over the last three seasons. After struggling through December and January, the Hoyas seem to be building to an end-of-season peak.