Syracuse’s final Big East bout with Georgetown at the Carrier Dome ended in much the same way the first one did — with Georgetown spoiling the end of an era.
Saturday’s clunker in the Salt City, exacerbated by the lowest single-game scoring output (46) at home in SU’s Big East history, sent more than 35,000 fans home smarting from the loss and imbued one Syracuse player with a warped sense of reassurance (i.e., false bravado / bluff and bluster).
Senior sharpshooter James Southerland was not dissuaded in the least by the egg his team laid against its longtime nemesis, nor was he intimidated by Otto Porter’s virtuouso performance, which both sealed the game and locked up the Big East Player of the Year Award two weeks in advance. Southerland, who tied C.J. Fair with a team high 13 points in the contest, took to Twitter after the game to make a bold, and certainly ill-timed, guarantee.
Of course, Southerland’s bombastic, off-balanced, fadeaway 30-foot 3s — six of which missed the mark — helped dig Syracuse into a hole in the first place. The embattled forward, who missed six games earlier this season as a result of an academic investigation into a paper he wrote in a previous year, is one of several Orange players in need of rectifying his game to get the team back on track. Shooting more isn’t the tonic in his case, either.
Syracuse and Georgetown will write the final chapter of their conference-enduring rivalry in two weeks, when the two teams meet for likely the last time (barring a rematch at Madison Square Garden) as Big East foes at the Verizon Center in the season finale. On top of eternal bragging rights — and the right for Southerland to save face — a Big East regular season title could be on the line as well.
Syracuse has saved its best work thus far for the social media trash-talking forum, where Michael Carter-Williams chimed in earlier this week with bulletin board material of his own. For the Orange to legitimize Southerland’s brash talk, the on-court play must mirror in forcefulness the verbal barbs.
If not, Southerland’s Twitter account may join Manley Field House on the list of Syracuse properties closed down by Georgetown.