In a game reminiscent of the glory days of the Big East Conference, Syracuse and Georgetown went down to the wire on a Saturday afternoon inside the Carrier Dome.
Unfortunately for the 25,131 fans in attendance on “Pearl Washington Day,” the Orange fell to its former Big East rival 78-71.
Sophomore standout Tyler Lydon broke out of his slumping start to the year with a career game, scoring a career-high 29 points on 12-of-13 shooting.
Ultimately though, SU couldn’t overcome the Hoyas’ size, a poor outing at the free throw line, and too many minor mistakes.
Georgetown out-rebounded Syracuse 41-30, while the Orange made just 14-of-25 attempts from the charity stripe.
SU also allowed the Hoyas to shoot 50% from the field in the second half after the game was tied 33-33 at intermission.
Orange starting point guard Frank Howard finished the contest with more turnovers (6) than points (4) or assists (4), while graduate transfer John Gillon — in his first career start at SU — struggled to finish against the much larger Hoyas. The fifth-year senior had 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
L.J. Peak led Georgetown with 23 points, while Rodney Pryor added 20 points.
Hoya big man Jessie Govan had a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
During halftime, Syracuse University honored one its greatest basketball stars, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, who passed away in the spring after a battle with brain cancer.
SU unveiled a “#31” logo at midcourt — the same spot from which Pearl famously sank a buzzer-beater against Boston College in 1984.
Several of Washington’s former Syracuse teammates were also on hand to present the Washington family with framed pieces of the SU court that Pearl made famous.
The Carrier Dome video boards played tributes to Pearl throughout the afternoon, including memories from former teammates, coaches, and famous alumni like ESPN’s Sean McDonough and NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico.
Syracuse is 6-4 this season, with just three games left before the start of ACC play.
It’s only the third time in program history that SU enters the conference schedule with more than 3 losses. The previous two times (2015 and 1982), the Orange failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
SU will also apparently be shorthanded going forward.
After the loss to Georgetown, head coach Jim Boeheim announced that redshirt-sophomore center Paschal Chukwu will be out a significant period of time, following eye surgery.
Coach Boeheim also added that freshman guard Tyus Battle had to miss the entire last week of practice, and was only cleared to return to the court on Friday.
Next up for Syracuse is Eastern Michigan on Monday night at 7pm.
The Eagles are coached by longtime SU assistant coach Rob Murphy.