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Four takeaways from Syracuse’s 89-79 loss to Georgetown

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Defensive rotations and rebounding haunt Syracuse. The Orange lose again despite Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim making shots.

Syracuse v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In Syracuse’s 89-79 loss to Georgetown on Saturday, the Orange shot well on the back-end of their finals-separated road trip, behind 14 three-pointers from Elijah Hughes, Joseph Girard III and Buddy Boeheim. Boehiem managed to shoot 9-for-13 second half after going scoreless in the first. Syracuse converted 48 percent from the field and still lost in an 89-79 blowout to embattled Georgetown, revealing deeper issues on SU than making shots.

Here are our takeaways from the game.

Buddy Boeheim silent early but loud late

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Syracuse at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jim Boeheim substituted his son out first, leaving Joe Girard in the back court as Howard Washington checked into the contest. Boeheim shot 0-for-5, fouled Jagan Mosely on an early three-point attempt and manned the top of the zone while the Hoyas started 4-of-5 from three.

Georgetown shot 4-for-7 from three with Boeheim as the closest defender in the game, but his offense in the second half kept the Orange within 10 points for most of the second half after a devastating 14-2 Hoya run to close the first half. He hit back-to-back threes to open the second, kicked to Girard on the drive for an open look and traded elbow jumpers with Mosely to keep the game at 62-53.

Omer Yurtseven emerged late as well, which prevented Boeheim’s shot from inflicting much damage, but as Yurtseven scored seven straight points through Syracuse’s press, Boeheim hit a layup on an in-bounds and two more threes with less than 2:30 remaining before fouling out with 25 points. His efforts kept Syracuse in it, but the Orange never edged closer than nine.

No quieting force for Georgetown’s runs

Syracuse traded shots with Georgetown for the first 16 minutes before Mac McClung separated GU for the rest of the game. He hit a pair of free throws, ran an errant pass by Hughes to the rim after Mosely hit a three and GU led 41-34. Hughes responded with a three-pointer from the left wing that Mosely sent backward and Quincy Guerrier launched a three off the back of the rim.

Bourama Sidibe blocked a shot by Qudus Wahab that McClung scooped up and scored, then he scored two more in transition on a failed kick-out by Guerrier. Hughes broke up the run with an elbow jumper, then McClung one-upped him at the buzzer with a three. SU never pulled within a possession again, with their late press collapsing into a 7-0 run by Yurtseven. Syracuse couldn’t stop Georgetown’s vital runs, largely due to a disastrous zone.

Zone is still a mess

Syracuse v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Georgetown shot 8-for-16 from three against Girard and Boeheim, as Syracuse struggled to respond from penetration by Terrell Allen, who’s dished at least five assists in three straight wins. Bourama Sidibe and Jesse Edwards, who played rotation minutes for an ailing Guerrier, largely held down the interior on initial defensive stands. But Georgetown grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

Yurtseven hauled in five of them, and while the Hoyas only scored five points off them in the first half, they added eight more in the second to maintain GU’s lead.

Center a big problem

“Our center scored 2 points and their center scored 19,” Boeheim said after the game. Marek Dolezaj scored six quick points and finished with ten, then him and Sidibe combined for five points in the second half. With Hughes falling into a 1-for-7 slump in the second, the offense fell nearly entirely into Boeheim’s hands.

Syracuse largely looked away from Sidibe and Edwards as Georgetown’s defense did what most of SU’s opponents have, slid up on the shooters and dared them to kick it low to the bigs. Dolezaj tried to kick it to Sidibe from the high post, but it slid through Sidibe’s hands low to the ground and out-of-bounds. Edwards attempted zero shots in the game.

As Kofi Cockburn, Akok Akok and Isaiah Stewart thrive elsewhere and SU lost the matchup down low in four of the last five games, it’s hard not to look at this as the single greatest issue on the team. Especially as Boeheim turned to Edwards for 11 minutes.