It’s the game every Syracuse fan was waiting for. Ever since Syracuse beat Georgetown at the Garden to advance to the Big East Tournament Final, we wondered, when will these two teams play again. And it was a real uncertainty and a true question. Last year, we found out the series was renewed. And now it is time to see the reincarnation of a rivalry on the court.
Georgetown has been Syracuse’s biggest rival for about 35 years, and now that they are continuing the series, it should be fair to continue to consider them the biggest rival, with Duke a close second. Look, this rivalry was one of the tops in the country, maybe only Duke-UNC was above it. Maybe.
They played twice a year, sometimes three times. It had great moments from the start with Big John Thompson “closing Manly.” Syracuse fans threw Orange’s at Patrick Ewing! Pearl heaved a half court winner. Thompson was ejected. GMac hit the game winner. And so many more moments, including by the way, that semi-final at the Garden.
This rivalry was a burning fire from the very start to the very end, remember what Georgetown did to the Orange last time they played in Washington? If not, don’t click this link.
Of course this rivalry is full of fresh blood. But there are a select few players on both sides who did play that night in the Garden, bridging one era of Syracuse-Georgetown to another. While 3 Georgetown players and 2 Syracuse players suited up last time these two teams met, only three played, and DaJuan Coleman only played 4 minutes.
The two hold outs, well the senior leaders on each side of course. Trevor Cooney and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Cooney played arguably his best game of his freshman year, scoring 10 points on 4-6 shooting in 15 minutes. And Smith-Rivera played 29 minutes in probably his worst game of the year, shooting just 1-6 from the field.
No doubt, these two will be the players to watch in this game, and they are important players not just on the court. As mentioned earlier, they bridge one era of Syracuse-Georgetown to another. They are the last two to have played meaningful minutes when Syracuse and Georgetown were Big East rivals. Now, they are their respective teams’ senior leader as the Hoyas and Orange move into a new era of their rivalry, the opportunity to create the best non-conference rivalry in all of College Basketball.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg