The big man for Georgetown is gone, off to the National Basketball Association to make his fortune.
But the big men were more than the Syracuse Orangemen and their center Rony Seikaly could handle tonight as Georgetown defeated Syracuse, 73-70.
"We didn't think their inside game was as strong as it was last year with (Patrick) Ewing," said Syracuse point guard Dwayne (Pearl) Washington. "We can't underestimate the big men."
Indeed, four Hoyas were directly responsible for neutralizing Seikaly, who may be the best post man in the Big East, and the rest played an indirect role.
Starting center Ralph Dalton and reserves Grady Mateen, Johnathan Edwards and Ronnie Highsmith pushed, pulled and drew fouls from Seikaly, which rendered him ineffective in the second half (two points, two rebounds), and scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds of their own.
"We allowed too many baskets inside, to Mateen and Dalton and Highsmith and the rest of them," said Syracuse's Wendell Alexis, who had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Seikaly finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Dalton had 11 points and four rebounds to lead the Hoyas' big men. Georgetown outrebounded Syracuse, 36-27.
"The key to the game," said Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, "was that their big guys did a good job inside."
Seikaly had two fouls by halftime, when Syracuse led, 34-31.
If Boeheim wasn't thrilled at intermission, the second half was downright depressing.
Geogetown grabbed its first lead of the game when Dalton muscled up a shot from the lane to make it 37-36 with 16:54 to go. Seikaly got his third foul 47 seconds later and picked up his fourth with 11:58 to go.
Faced with being sent to the bench, Seikaly had to back off, both offensively and defensively. The Orangemen's 2-3 zone was now soft in the middle. It was exploited by the big men and by forwards David Wingate and Reggie Williams, who snuck behind for alley-oop passes. Wingate finished with a game-high 18 points, 12 in the second half, and Williams was right behind with 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
"They have five big guys," said Seikaly, who lost track of how many different players he was facing. "They can play with 25 fouls. Every time I looked up, there was a different guy against me."