They say that defense wins championships, and on Saturday the Georgetown Hoyas won at least a share of The Big East regular season championship by playing great defense and blowing out their arch rival, the Syracuse Orange. The Hoyas have played great defense all season, but they took it to a whole new level on Saturday, as the suffocated the Orange, holding them to just 39 points.
Of course, the Georgetown offense did its part as well. The Hoyas did a masterful job of screening the vaunted Syracuse zone defense, which gave them open looks from the perimeter. As a result, Georgetown made nine three-pointers, including five from starting point guard Markel Starks. Making shots early on gave Georgetown the lead, and their defense did the rest, assuring a comfortable win for the Hoyas in addition to a championship.
The Syracuse offense faced invasive ball pressure, physical play inside the paint, and challenged jump shots all day long. The orange had great difficulty getting clean looks and often had trouble just holding onto the ball. Only point guard Michael Carter-Williams stood out for the Orange offensively with 17 points, but even that was at the expense of four turnovers. Syracuse’s two seniors, Brandon Triche and James Southerland, combined for just three points and just one made field goal in 16 attempts. Most of the credit for those struggles belongs to the Georgetown defense for a phenomenal performance.
In the biggest game of the year up to this point, and arguably the most important game in program history, the Georgetown defense played as well as humanly possible. They held a top-20 team to less than 33% shooting and a season low 39 points. Such suffocating defense has helped to deliver one championship for the Hoyas, and if they keep it up, it just might help deliver another.