LANDOVER -- After Georgetown beat Seton Hall last week, Hoyas coach John Thompson joked about his team's lack of outside shooting.
"We haven't talked about outside shooting for 10 years," Thompson said. "Whenever we make an outside shot, we bless ourselves."
Thompson wasn't blessing his 22nd-ranked Hoyas after last night's 74-62 loss to No. 20 Syracuse at the Capital Centre. In fact, he was barely speaking to them.
As Thompson said afterward, "It was one of those games that it was a wonder we didn't lose by 50. One of those days that we pass and go on. Probably the most courageous act all night was me not saying anything to them after it was over."
What could he say to a team that shot 22 of 60 from the field and 12 of 21 from the free throw line? What could he say to starting forwards Robert Churchwell and Don Reid, who were outscored 42-5 by Dave Johnson (23) and Lawrence Moten (19)?
It was the third straight win for the Orangemen after nine consecutive defeats on the Hoyas' home court, and the fifth in a row for Syracuse over Georgetown. The victory gave the Orangemen a share of first place in the Big East with Villanova.
"I thought our defense was really good," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team, minus the all-Americans of seasons past, continues to be one of the biggest surprises in college basketball. "Our centers have been getting crushed and they decided they were going to come out a little stronger. That was the difference in the game."
From point guard Adrian Autry's opening drive, Syracuse took it right at Alonzo Mourning. Though Georgetown's senior center was effective early on defensively, he got into foul trouble and ended up playing only 29 minutes. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but just two blocked shots.
After a terrible first half offensively for both teams -- it was a tad better than the St. John's-Miami nightmare Tuesday night, with Syracuse leading by 29-24 -- the Orangemen got off to a good start and never looked back, leading 46-33 with a little less than 13 1/2 minutes left.
"We just picked up the intensity in the second half," said Johnson, who has become something of a Hoya-killer in the past two years. "We had some lapses when we allowed them to come back, but we made some shots when we had to."
Georgetown didn't. In what has become an unwanted trademark for the Hoyas, their shooting was again horrific. Except for a brief flurry by freshman guard Irvin Church and sophomore guard Charles Harrison midway through the second half, Georgetown continued to --uh -- bomb from the outside.
Three straight jumpers by Church, two of them three-pointers, helped cut the 13-point deficit to 52-46, but the Hoyas got no closer. Syracuse gave the Hoyas some chances to climb back even more, but Georgetown usually came up empty.
"The shots were there, and if they fall, we still have a chance to win," said Mourning. "There's no excuses. Syracuse hit some big threes and we weren't spotting up on them."
Said Harrison, who also scored 17: "When Alonzo got into foul trouble, it broke our backs. When they hit some of those threes, that broke our backs."
Bad shots weren't Georgetown's only problems. The Hoyas committed their share of silly fouls as well. Georgetown put Syracuse on the free throw line early and often in the second half.
The Orangemen went into the bonus with 13:29 to go -- it was Mourning's fourth -- and made 11 of its next 12 free throws. Only some shaky moments at the line down the stretch prevented it from being more of a blowout.
"If we made some free throws down at the end, we would have won by 20," said Johnson.
SYRACUSE (12-1, 4-1) -- Johnson 7-15 5-9 23, Moten 7-15 5-9 19, Siock 1-4 2-2 4, Autry 6-10 6-7 19, Hopkins 1-5 1-2 3, Edwards 0-2 0-0 0, McRae 1-3 2-3 4, Harris 1-3 0-0 2, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 21-32 74.
GEORGETOWN (9-3, 2-2) -- Churchwell 2-2 1-2 5, Reid 0-1 0-0 0, Mourning 6-12 5-7 17, Brown 2-6 0-1 5, Harrison 5-9 5-6 17, Jacques 0-4 0-0 0, Church 4-9 0-0 10, Harrell 0-1 0-1 0, Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Millen 1-5 0-2 3, Morgan 1-4 0-0 2, Kelly 0-3 1-2 1, Patterson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 12-21 62.
Halftime--Syracuse 29, Georgetown 24. 3-point shots--Syracuse 5-15 (Johnson 4-6, Autry 1-3, Hopkins 0-2, Moten 0-4), Georgetown 6-16 (Harrison 2-4, Church 2-5, Millen 1-1, Brown 1-2, Jacques 0-1, Harrell 0-1, Morgan 0-2). Fouled out--Mourning. Rebounds--Syracuse 42 (Johnson 9), Georgetown 39 (Mourning 10). Assists--Syracuse 9 (Hopkins 3), Georgetown 17 (Brown 7). Total fouls--Syracuse 22, Georgetown 28. A--15,141.