The Carrier Dome is always a tough place to visit, and that’s especially been the case for Georgetown in recent years.
The No. 7 Hoyas look to end their five-game slide in the dome Monday night when they meet fourth-ranked Syracuse, which is seeking a seventh straight win.
Syracuse (19-1, 6-1 Big East) has won 10 of the last 11 home meetings with Georgetown (15-3, 6-2). The Orange’s 98-94 overtime victory over the Hoyas on Feb. 14 drew 31,841 fans to the Carrier Dome, and a similar crowd is expected Monday.
“We have great fans here in Syracuse,” forward Kris Joseph said. “Our fans are die-hard fans and I think them being here and being so loud helps us a lot. I think it scares a lot of teams.”
The home team has won the last seven meetings, not including a 58-57 victory for the Hoyas in the 2006 Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown guard Austin Freeman scored 19 points in each game as the teams split two in 2008-09.
The Orange continued their winning ways Saturday with a 76-71 home victory over Marquette. Syracuse pulled away from a 34-all halftime tie to build a lead as big as 16 before holding on.
“We knew we had a big size advantage and I thought we really exploited that,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “We played probably the best basketball, defensively and offensively, we’ve played all year, for those (first) 16 minutes in the second half.”
Syracuse won’t have a size advantage when it uses its 2-3 zone to try to contain 6-foot-11 center Greg Monroe. The Georgetown big man, averaging 21.0 points and 13.7 rebounds in his last three games, made 10 of 12 shots and had 21 points and 11 boards in an 88-63 rout of Rutgers on Saturday.
Monroe averaged 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds against Syracuse last season.
Georgetown’s lack of depth has been an issue all season, and Saturday’s lopsided game gave coach John Thompson III a chance to use a bench that has played sparingly in Big East contests. Vee Sanford and Henry Sims became the third and fourth Hoyas subs to score in a conference game this season.
“We were focused for the most part,” said Thompson, whose team jumped five spots in the AP poll. “They came out with a cohesiveness and an energy which was a good for us. That’s something we’ve stressed that we want to maintain.”
The Orange will have to be wary of Chris Wright, who scored 27 points in a 74-66 win at No. 9 Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Wright has excelled in Big East road games against Top 25 teams, averaging 17.0 points on 54.2 percent shooting in seven contests.
Syracuse showcased its depth Saturday, winning despite getting no points from second-leading scorer Andy Rautins. Wesley Johnson had 22 points and 15 rebounds while Joseph added 14 and 11 off the bench.
The Orange have five players who average at least 10 points.
“That just shows how good of a basketball team we are,” Joseph said. “Andy being shut down today was a great thing to see, because now we know what everyone else is capable of.”
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