In final Big East meeting, Orange top Hoyas in OT

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- It was only fitting that the last meeting between Georgetown and Syracuse, two cornerstones of the Big East Conference foundation that is crumbling, went into overtime.
No. 19 Syracuse prevailed in the Big East tournament semifinals, taking a 58-55 win over No. 5 Georgetown on Friday night before a frenzied, sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd.
Syracuse's Brandon Triche scored three points in the extra session, including a free throw that put the Orange up 58-55 with 18 seconds left.
With the top-seeded Hoyas looking to tie the game, Otto Porter Jr.'s pass from the corner was picked off by C.J. Fair with 3.2 left. Fair was fouled, but he missed both free throws.
Jabril Trawick's heave for the Hoyas from just beyond half-court bounced off the backboard as time expired.
"We tried to run Otto off a screen along the baseline to give him the ball on the other side of the court," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of the turnover. "They played it well."
The fifth-seeded Orange meets second-seeded Louisville on Saturday for the conference title.
Syracuse (26-8) advanced to the Big East tournament final for the 15th time and the first time since 2009, when they fell to Louisville 76-66 in the title game.
Triche's layup in traffic 10 seconds into the overtime gave Syracuse a lead it never lost. Baye Keita's follow with 2:47 to go provided the sixth-seeded Orange a 55-51 advantage.
Mikael Hopkins scored on a drive to draw the Hoyas to within 55-53 with 2:28 left, but Fair's dunk moved the Syracuse cushion to 57-53 with 1:58 left.
Keita, James Southerland and Triche topped Syracuse with 13 points apiece. Hopkins led the Hoyas (25-6) with a career-high 15 points.
Southerland hit four 3-pointers in the game (on 10 attempts), and he has tied the tournament record with 16 made 3-pointers in three games.
"Everyone was eager to go out there and prove to everybody what we could do," Southerland said. "The coaches did a great job staying on us."
Porter, the Big East Player of the Year, was held to 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim acknowledged that Porter was the focus of the Orange's 2-3 zone.
"We cheated on Porter a little more," Boeheim said. "I hate to say this in some ways, but I think he's the best all-around player I've seen in this league.
"He couldn't get much accomplished against C.J., but I don't see a weakness in his game. I don't think I've seen a better small forward. If we were still in this league, I'd being saying this to try and get him out."
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving the Big East in favor of the ACC, while Georgetown will remain in a modified version of the conference.
"It's a shame (the Orange) are heading down to Tobacco Road for a few dollars more," lamented Thompson. "I could give you my spiel about intercollegiate athletics is going through an evolution and this is a part of it.
"This rivalry has meant a lot to both programs. It's a shame that we are no longer going to have the same relationship. "
The semifinal was the 14th Big East tournament meeting between the schools. The only other Big East series with more tournament games is Syracuse vs. Connecticut with 15.
Porter sent the game into overtime when he sank both ends of a one-and-one with 7.3 seconds left. Michael Carter-Williams' 15-foot jumper went off the side rim for Syracuse as time expired.
Keita gave the Orange a 51-49 lead when he sank two free throws with 1:23 left to play.
The Hoyas trailed by as many as seven points in the second half, but they methodically climbed back until finally tying the game at 49-49 on two free throws from Trawick at the 1:47 mark.
Georgetown's next possession came up empty due to a shot-clock violation.
Syracuse erased a 17-14 Georgetown lead by going on a 15-3 run to grab a 29-20 halftime lead. The run started with 8:05 left and featured little-used Trevor Cooney.
The sophomore swingman provided the spark off the bench, draining two 3-pointers and a layup in the burst. Cooney came in because Triche picked up two fouls with 13:58 left in the half.
"Trevor was a surprise," Boeheim said. "Nobody saw this coming. He was the best player in the first half for either team."
The Hoyas sank just eight of their 26 shots from the field in the first half. Both teams wound up shooting worse than 38 percent for the game.
"This was just a great win," Boeheim said. "We didn't shoot that well. We didn't score that many, but we scored just enough."
NOTES: Georgetown has won seven Big East tournament titles. Syracuse has claimed five. ... Fair passed the 1,000-career point mark in overtime. ... Sitting behind the Syracuse bench were former Orange player, Derrick Coleman, Pearl Washington, Sherman Douglas and Billy Owens. ... In the first two tournament games, Syracuse point guard Carter-Williams dished out 21 assists. He added six more Friday. ... Syracuse leads the series with Georgetown 49-41.

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