94 - 98 Final - OT
  for this game

Syracuse hangs on after second-half collapse

Feb 14, 2009 - 10:42 PM SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Syracuse survived a stunning second-half collapse - and may have saved its season in the process.

Eric Devendorf's 3-pointer with 1:57 left in overtime put Syracuse ahead for good as the 22nd-ranked Orange escaped with a 98-94 victory over Georgetown on Saturday after squandering a 16-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation.

Devendorf's 3-pointer gave Syracuse (19-7, 7-6 Big East) a 91-89 lead, and Jonny Flynn hit a pair from the free-throw line to make it 93-89 with 49 seconds left.

Greg Monroe's follow pulled Georgetown (13-10, 4-8) within 96-94 with 8.5 seconds left, but Flynn made two more from the line with 6.5 seconds remaining to finally put away the Hoyas.

Flynn was 15-of-16 from the line to finish with 25 points, while Devendorf added 23.

"I think with five minutes to go, Georgetown really started to penetrate and just broke into our defense," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "I thought we broke down a little bit and got careful."

Having lost five of their previous six games entering Saturday's contest, the Orange were in danger of playing themselves out of the NCAA Tournament. But they stopped the bleeding and rebounded from Wednesday's 63-49 loss to top-ranked Connecticut.

Boeheim moved within one victory of his 31st 20-win season, which would break the NCAA record he shares with former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.

However, it came after the Orange fell apart in the closing minutes of the second half. Syracuse seemed on the verge of blowing out the Hoyas after Devendorf's 3-pointer made it 66-50 with 8:20 remaining.

"I thought Georgetown made an unbelievable comeback," Boeheim added. "They're 4-8 in our league and they were in the top 10 in the country. That just shows you what happens in our league. You just play game after game that are tough games."

A 3-pointer by Georgetown's Chris Wright, who scored a career-high 25 points, with 10 seconds left in regulation forced overtime at 83-83.

Georgetown even had a chance to win as Flynn's pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by DaJuan Summers. However, the Hoyas' leading scorer missed a jumper from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded.

The spirited comeback will be of little consolation for the reeling Hoyas, who now have dropped seven of their last eight games and seem a long shot at best to make the NCAA Tournament.

The battle of desperate teams turned chippy with just under eight minutes left in the first half when Syracuse's Kristof Ongenaet was ejected after hitting Summers in the back of the head with a swinging elbow.

Ongenaet was tossed for a flagrant foul, although replays appeared to show the elbow was inadvertent. While Ongenaet only averages 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds, his absence left Boeheim with a rotation of just six players.

"They didn't catch (Connecticut's Hasheem) Thabeet hitting us with an elbow so now all the refs are ejecting for elbows," Boeheim said. "It's supposed to be a flagrant, I think he came over the guy and elbowed him, but not on purpose. It was part of the basketball play.

"I thought elbows had to be intentional to be a flagrant foul ejection. I'm at a loss for that one."

Georgetown opened a 31-24 lead on Wright's runner in the lane with 3:48 left in the first half, but the Orange responded with a 9-1 spurt to take a 33-32 lead at the intermission and extended the run at the start of the second half.

The Orange opened the second half on fire, making seven of their first nine shots. Arinze Onuaku scored six of his 15 points in the first 4 1/2 minutes as Syracuse quickly built its lead to 46-36.

Onuaku, who scored a combined 12 points in his previous four games and is battling tendinitis in his right knee, also grabbed 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.

Austin Freeman scored 19 points and Summers added 17 for the Hoyas. But Summers, perhaps affected by the elbow, was just 6-of-17 from the field.