SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Given a reprieve by Brandon Bowman’s size-17 feet, Syracuse made sure surprising Georgetown didn’t pull off another upset on the road.
The Hoyas won at Pittsburgh and Rutgers, threatened at Connecticut before falling 66-59, and were coming off a last-second win at Villanova, and Bowman nearly made the seventh-ranked Orange the next victim.
But when he hit a jumper from the top of the key with 2.3 seconds left in regulation, his feet were barely on the 3-point line and it left the score tied at 67, forcing overtime. Syracuse then scored the first seven points of the extra period and held off the Hoyas 78-73 for its 11th straight victory.
“Thank God he was on the line,” said Gerry McNamara, who scored 17 points and made five 3-pointers to run his career total to a school-record 251. “We knew we were going to play a tough team.”
The victory kept Syracuse (18-1, 5-0 Big East) atop the Big East, but Georgetown (11-5, 3-2) gave the Orange their toughest game of the season despite serious foul trouble for its top three scorers.
Hakim Warrick had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Josh Pace had 13 points, and Craig Forth had 10 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season, for the Orange. McNamara was 5-for-12 on 3-pointers and broke Preston Shumpert’s school record for 3-pointers by two.
Syracuse took charge early in the overtime. Louie McCroskey hit a 15-foot baseline jumper to start the biggest run of the game for either team, McNamara drained a 3 from the right corner after Bowman missed two free throws, and Warrick sailed in alone for a resounding one-hand slam dunk after a turnover in the lane by Jonathan Wallace.
That gave Syracuse a 74-67 lead, the largest for either team in the game.
Wallace atoned with his fourth 3-pointer of the game to pull the Hoyas to 74-70 at 2:34, but McNamara, who had seven assists, hit a push shot in the lane and Warrick converted two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to ice it.
Bowman, who was whistled for his fourth foul with 5:31 left in regulation, just shook his head in dismay afterward while lamenting his big feet.
“I saw an opportunity and knocked it down,” said Bowman, who scored 19 points before fouling out in the final seconds. “I thought it was a 3, but I guess my shoes are too big. I wish I was a size 14.”
It was so close the officials looked at the replay before ruling it a two-pointer.
“We wanted to put the ball in his (Bowman’s) hands and let him decide,” Hoyas first-year coach John Thompson III said. “I thought he was behind the line, but the replay showed he wasn’t.”
When Syracuse blitzed the Hoyas in the overtime, Thompson’s first visit to the Carrier Dome turned into a bitter disappointment. But it might have started to rekindle what once was one of the fiercest rivalries in college basketball when his father prowled the sidelines as coach for 27 years before retiring in 1999.
“I’m kind of sorry Coach Thompson is back at Georgetown,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said with a smile. “That was a tremendous performance. They played with tremendous poise. They did all of the things you have to do to win on the road. Our guys just wouldn’t let the game get away.”
Freshman Jeff Green, who fouled out with 4:44 left, finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Ashanti Cook, who was called for his fourth foul less than 2 minutes into the second half, had only seven points in 18 minutes for Georgetown. Roy Hibbert, one of three freshmen starters for the Hoyas, finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.