Syracuse basketball is riding a three-game winning streak after pounding storied rival Georgetown, 83-64, on Saturday afternoon at the JMA Wireless Dome.
The Orange (6-4) has snapped out of its funk, at least for the time being, and the ‘Cuse will go for four-straight victories when it hosts Colonial Athletic Association member Monmouth on Monday night.
Not too long ago, the Orange sat at 3-4, after having lost to St. John’s, Bryant and then at Illinois in a blow-out setback. But Syracuse basketball appeared to find some of its mojo last weekend, when the team squeaked by Notre Dame on the road.
The ‘Cuse, since then, has followed up that Atlantic Coast Conference conquest with wins over Oakland and now the Hoyas (5-6). I’m feeling better about where things stand with this young Syracuse basketball roster so far in the 2022-23 campaign.
Syracuse basketball dispatching of Georgetown was thoroughly enjoyable.
I recognize that the long-time rivalry among former Big East Conference adversaries the Orange and the Hoyas isn’t the same that it once was, with the ‘Cuse having moved to the ACC in 2013-14.
I also readily acknowledge that, these days, Georgetown is not a good basketball squad. However, when these rivalry games commence, I believe that you have to throw teams’ records out of the window.
Let’s not forget that in 2021-22, the Hoyas were dreadful, yet they managed to knock off the Orange at home by four points. On Saturday afternoon, at halftime, ‘Cuse head coach Jim Boeheim and legendary player Dwayne “Pearl” Washington were inducted into the SU Athletics Ring of Honor.
It would have left a really bad taste in my mouth if Syracuse basketball had lost to a poor Hoyas squad on the same day that it honored Boeheim and Pearl.
As the Orange improved to 53-45 in its all-time series against Georgetown, the ‘Cuse did a lot of positive things.
On offense, Syracuse basketball didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc, but the Orange was aggressive in getting out in transition, and the ‘Cuse focused its schemes in the interior.
That helped enable the Orange to shoot 50 percent from the field as a whole, and the squad went an impressive 20-of-21 from the free-throw line. Syracuse basketball also had 10 steals, eight blocks and only committed nine turnovers, while the Orange forced Georgetown into 15 turnovers.
Senior center Jesse Edwards is playing like an All-American at this juncture in 2022-23. He tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and three assists, while shooting 10-of-14 from the field, according to ESPN statistics.
Freshman point guard Judah Mintz had his most complete performance, finishing with 16 points, 10 assists, five steals and just one turnover. He facilitated for others, and he got to the charity stripe, where he connected on 10-of-11 attempts.
Sophomore forward Benny Williams came alive in the second half, and he produced several highlight-reel dunks. He had 13 points, four boards and one steal.
Senior shooting guard Joe Girard III didn’t shoot the rock great, but he did generate 15 points, four rebounds and one assist.
Let’s talk for a second about two ‘Cuse reserves, redshirt junior big man John Bol Ajak and sophomore center Mounir Hima. In 20 minutes, Ajak displayed some awesome passing in the paint. He had five points, five boards, two assists and two steals.
Hima, meanwhile, showed that he can man the zone’s middle when Edwards is out. In eight minutes, Hima collected four points, two rebounds and three blocks.
Syracuse basketball limited Georgetown to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and 24.0 percent from 3-point land. The Orange held its own on the glass.
Starting this Monday at 8 pm, the ‘Cuse will play four games on the Hill prior to the calendar year turning to 2023. The opponents are Monmouth, Cornell, Pittsburgh and Boston College.
The way that Syracuse basketball is performing at the moment, I think that the Orange has a real shot to sweep these four contests and move to 10-4. That would prove huge for the ‘Cuse as the team’s 2022-23 schedule moves solely to ACC competition.
One other quick thing. Mike Waters of Syracuse.com is reporting that the Orange and the Hoyas have agreed to extend their current series by another two years. I absolutely love that.