Hoyas Overcome Adversity to Defeat Syracuse (photos)

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Starting sophomore guard Mac McClung, the reigning Big East player of the week, led all scorers with 26 points, 21 of which came in the first half. Photo by Jeff Malet.

Despite losing four players to transfer this month, including two in the last week, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (7-3) was able to defeat the visiting Syracuse Orange (5-5), a former Big East rival, 89-79, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Georgetown forwards Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner announced on Friday that they will transfer, stemming from off-the-court complaints by two Georgetown students. This followed news that sophmore starters James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc intend to leave the school. Akinjo was the 2019 freshman of the year in the Big East Conference and had been the teams second-leading scorer and leading assist man. The departures bring the number of scholarship players on the Georgetown roster down to nine, with just seven of those having seen the floor this season.

In this game, Gerogetown had a huge edge in free throws, converting 24 foul shots to only five for the Orange. The Hoyas also had a 41 to 29 rebounding advantage. Georgetown had 14 offensive rebounds to Syracuse’s five. “My guys stepped up,” declared Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing.

Starting 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Mac McClung, the reigning Big East player of the week, led all scorers with 26 points, 21 of which came in the first half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 12-point Hoya halftime lead. Syracuse would draw no closer than eight points in the second half. With the permanent absence of guard Akinjo, McClung has emerged as the defacto team leader. The Hoyas’ 7-foot center Omer Yurtseven finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds.

Jim Boeheim, 75, is currently working his 44th year as Syracuse head coach. His son, ahooting guard Buddy Boeheim, this day led his team’s scoring with 25 points.

For the Hoyas, the win over Syracuse follows victories over previously undefeated Oklahoma State and SMU on the road. “You either break apart or come together, and I think we’ve come together,” commented McClung.

The Hoyas next game will be against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers back at Capital One on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

View Jeff Malet’s photos of the game between Georgetown and Syracuse by clicking on the photo icons below.

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