The Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas face off once again on Saturday, in a game that holds minimal importance for most current students, but gets those of us that remember the Big East days at least a little excited.
When these two teams last met, SU came back from an early deficit and ended up winning in overtime down in D.C., 86-79. Despite being the superior team for the last three matchups, the Orange have somehow lost two of them. In general, things have been pretty weird against our old Big East brethren since we left. I don’t get it.
But when fans talk about what made ‘Cuse vs. Georgetown so special, it’s less focused on the recent events of little consequence, but the past ones at the height of our old conference’s powers. You can go much further back than the moments below, too. We just weren’t around for them ourselves. If you were, chime in below.
Some of our favorite Syracuse vs. Georgetown moments:
I remember listening to the radio in the car when I was a kid and a jingle came on. The only lyrics I recall go something like “your mom is a Hoya!” That was in the build up to Syracuse’s game with Georgetown in the Dome back in March of 1990. I hadn’t fully grasped the hatred between the two programs; I was only nine at the time. But by the time they tipped off, I was in a full lather. And then John Thompson Jr. started going nuts, received three technicals and was booted from the game. This was all in the first half! The mayhem resulted in a 10-point possession and eventually helped the Orangemen take down the Hoyas. From that moment on I knew that all Big East games were big, but Syracuse vs. Georgetown was something more. It truly was appointment television. Sure, the other games probably never lived up to that game in ‘90, but they all meant something a little extra because of it.
Mine would be the February 8, 1997 game when foul trouble forced Jim Boeheim to turn to Donovan McNabb. After losing both Etan Thomas and Otis Hill to fouls, Boeheim had to put Todd Burgan at center and McNabb played a career-high 19 minutes, scoring 10 points and blocking a Jahdi White dunk attempt. It was surreal watching SU’s starting QB respond in that situation and it’s one of those Dome moments that 44,444 people claim they were there to witness.
Personally, (aside from all the times of Georgetown losing to double-digit seeds in the NCAA Tournament) my favorite Syracuse vs. Georgetown memory would have to be from the 2006 Big East Tournament when Syracuse came from behind double-digits at the half to beat Georgetown at MSG behind the brilliance of Gerry McNamara. G was of course battling through a groin injury and somehow he managed to build upon his already magical run from the previous two nights. And then the guy dishes in the game’s waning moments to a freshman in Eric Devendorf for the lay in that ultimately led to a win. I always thought that play was so telling. Gerry nailed the game-winning and game-tying threes the prior two nights but had the unselfishness to pass the ball in that sequence without feeling like he was the guy that needed to score.
Other than that moment though, the 2013 Big East Tournament win over Georgetown was one for the books. That game is a close second and a distant third would be the win over Georgetown at home in 2007. I was in high-school then and was at that game. It was a fitting send off for the seniors for a win like that over tenth-ranked Georgetown in the last home game of the season that seemed to put Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament for sure. We’ll end there.
My favorite moment involving Georgetown is the Florida Gulf Coast game and the TNIAAM thread that chronicled the entire affair for us to look back at fondly whenever we’d like.
But for Syracuse vs. Georgetown, my best memory is the 2007 game at the Carrier Dome. The Hoyas were No. 9 in the nation and Syracuse was on the bubble, needing a big win to potentially seal up an NCAA Tournament bid. They’d run past Georgetown, 72-58 in a weeknight game that I was only at because I purposely failed a Spanish quiz to get to the Dome instead. Students, of which I was one, stormed the court after and it was something surreal to be a part of.
We’d end up missing the NCAAs, sullying this moment in hindsight, of course. But it did kick off a stretch of Syracuse beating Georgetown at the Dome all four years I was at SU.