Probably the only thing Pearl Washington likes more than playing Georgetown is beating Georgetown. And it was Washington's rafter-high jump shot with eight seconds remaining tonight that gave Syracuse a 65-63 victory over the Hoyas.
Georgetown, which had slipped to No. 2 in the national rankings today, lost for the second straight time and had its road winning streak ended at 26 games.
After Washington's 15-foot jumper with eight seconds left put ninth-ranked Syracuse ahead, 64-63, Georgetown (18-2, 7-2 in the Big East) had a chance to win and another chance to take the game into overtime.
But Reggie Williams' long inbounds pass sailed high, through David Wingate's hands with six seconds left. "There was nothing wrong with the pass," Wingate said. "I should have had it."
And, after Washington made only one of two free throws with four seconds left, Michael Jackson missed a desperation heave from about 35 feet with a second remaining.
That sent 32,229 in the Carrier Dome -- the third-largest crowd ever here -- into a frenzy. The fans had disrupted the game earlier by throwing oranges onto the floor. And at the end they stormed the court as if Syracuse (13-3, 5-3) had won the national title.
"This is a tremendous feeling," Syracuse forward Rafael Addison said after scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. "Georgetown may not be No. 1 anymore, but any time you beat them, it's a treat. I'm feeling pretty good right now."
So, undoubtedly, was Washington. Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim decided in the huddle, after calling time with 16 seconds left, that Washington would try and penetrate to the basket and either shoot or look for Addison, who had made 10 of 18 shots.
"It was so clogged in the middle, I thought I should shoot," Washington said. "I had four fouls, and so did Michael Jackson (the man guarding Washington). This is great. Yes, I love playing Georgetown."
Patrick Ewing's three-point play had given Georgetown a 61-60 lead with 3:07 left after the Hoyas had trailed by as many as eight points earlier in the second half.
Ewing led Georgetown with 21 points and 17 rebounds. And, on the three-point play, he went over and asked Coach John Thompson if he could play in the lane instead of getting back on defense like he normally does.
Ewing went hard after Bill Martin (15 points, six rebounds) missed his second foul shot, put in the rebound and a subsequent free throw.
Ewing also gave the Hoyas a 63-62 lead with just under two minutes left when he made a pair of free throws. Andre Hawkins committed a turnover for Syracuse, and Perry McDonald missed a shot for Georgetown with about 37 seconds left, giving Syracuse the ball to set up Washington's basket.
"I'm disappointed that we lost. But I'm pleased that we're playing better in many ways than we were when we were winning all those games," Thompson said afterward. "Would you count us out now? We've lost before. We're not ready to run home and cry."
Thompson, by that time, had even gotten over the way the Syracuse fans behaved in the opening minutes of the game.
The public address announcer had to plead with the fans just to sit down so the game could begin. And the game wasn't four minutes old before the first incident.
Ewing went to the foul line and had released his first free throw when a fan, back about 50 rows or more, threw an orange that splattered against the backboard.
Thompson immediately pulled his Hoyas from the floor. As soon as Ewing went back to the line, another orange hit the floor, and Thompson pulled the team off the court again.
When the second orange hit the floor, the fans only booed the P.A. plea for order, and Boeheim took the microphone. "If there's another orange thrown out here, I'm going to ask the officials to give us an automatic technical," he said. "And if there's another obscene cheer after a free throw, I'm going to ask the officials for an automatic technical foul to be called against us."
That quieted things for a while. The game didn't really get moving until midway through the half, when Reggie Williams scored two free throws, followed by a Ewing basket on a rebound and a Martin free throw that put the Hoyas ahead, 24-19.
The Orangemen broke Georgetown's ministreak with a jumper by Michael Brown. But Ewing scored on another offensive rebound, Jackson hit a jumper and Martin turned Ewing's blocked shot into an 18-footer for a 30-21 lead.
But Syracuse got five free throws from three different players, survived Ewing's three-point play that pushed the Hoyas' lead back to 33-26, then scored eight of the final nine points in the half.
Jumpers by Addison just after the 15-minute mark -- he had 18 points by then -- gave Syracuse a 46-42 lead and caused Thompson to call time. By then it was apparent this Big East game would have a lot in common with many others Georgetown has played this season.