WASHINGTON (AP) — Four players left Georgetown with plans to transfer, and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim thinks his old rival is better for it.
Georgetown beat Syracuse 89-79 on Saturday afternoon after a rash of transfers plunged the once-proud program in scandal and depleted the roster. After coach Patrick Ewing told players they still had enough to put together a good season, Mac McClung scored 26 points in 35:45 of playing time, Jagan Mosely scored 16 in 36:46 and Terrell Allen scored 14 in 37:35.
The Hoyas were left with seven scholarship players in their rotation after Josh LeBlanc, Galen Alexander, Myron Gardner and James Akinjo decided to transfer. LeBlanc, Alexander and Gardner were accused of burglary and harassment, and while Akinjo had no involvement in the legal situation, Boeheim credits Georgetown's winning streak to his departure.
“They got rid of a guy that wouldn't pass the ball to anybody and just shot it every time, and that's why they're good now,” Boeheim said. “They've got seven guys who are as good as anybody's, and two guys weren't really contributing at all and another guy was just throwing the ball up all the time.”
Losing four players in quick succession forced Georgetown (7-3) to use walk-on George Muresan, son of retired 7-foot-7 NBA player Gheorghe Mursean. In front of their best crowd of the season, the Hoyas didn't look depleted and gave Ewing his first coaching victory against Syracuse.
“It has been a difficult week,” Ewing said. “A lot of things have happened, a lot of things were swirling around, but I thought my guys stepped up.”
Syracuse dropped to 5-5 for its worst 10-game start in 44 seasons under Boeheim, who said, “We're not in a great position, but we're not in as bad a position as everybody thinks we're in.”
Son Buddy Boeheim scored 25 points, but the Orange committed 24 fouls to the Hoyas' 14.
“We're not going to win games if somebody shoots 31 free throws and we shoot nine,” Jim Boeheim said. “That's not going to happen."
McClung, who chestbumped teammate Jahvon Blair after hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first half, believes the players left at Georgetown will rally around each other.
“That's what happens when you face challenges,” McClung said. “You either break apart or come together, and I think we've came together.”
Syracuse wasn’t all that happy with the officiating most of the afternoon, and it boiled over when Marek Dolezaj was whistled for a blocking foul in the middle of the first half. Boeheim and the rest of the bench erupted and was assessed a team technical foul.
“I have no idea,” Boeheim said. “I guess that's a technical.”
Late in the second half, injured Syracuse guard Jalen Carey was ejected while sitting on the bench for tripping Allen. Carey is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.
“I saw (a similar situation) somewhere in some other game a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month ago,” Ewing said. “Those things need to stop.”
Rebounding has been a problem all season so far for Syracuse, and it hurt again Saturday. Georgetown had 14 offensive rebounds to Syracuse's five and dominated 16-5 in second-chance points.
This was the 95th meeting between Georgetown and Syracuse, who used to play in the Big East together. Hoyas radio broadcaster Rich Chvotkin was calling his 80th Georgetown-Syracuse game.
World Series-winning Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer took in the game from courtside and received a standing ovation when shown on video screens during the first half.
Syracuse: As if it wasn’t obvious enough following double-digit losses to Oklahoma State, Penn State and Iowa, it’s going to be a tough slog for Syracuse once ACC begins after some winnable home games the rest of the month.
Georgetown: The Hoyas beat Syracuse at a low point in Boeheim’s tenure, but it only gets harder from here. Despite Boeheim's endorsement, a lack of depth could hurt Georgetown as it gets into Big East play.
Syracuse: Moves into a soft part of the schedule when it hosts Oakland on Wednesday.
Georgetown: Hosts 2018 NCAA Tournament upset darling UMBC on Tuesday.
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