NEW YORK (AP) -- Syracuse freshman Gerry McNamara had missed just
five free throws all season. So when he blew a pair in the second
half against Georgetown in the Big East tournament Thursday night,
it was a little scary for the Orangemen, who have had their foul
shooting woes over the years.
Kueth Duany, left, and Hakim Warrick celebrate Syracuse's win in the final seconds.
There were other misses as well. Carmelo Anthony and Hakim
Warrick let three-point play opportunities slip away from the foul
line and with Georgetown's Mike Sweetney dominating the backboards
and scoring almost at will, it seemed the Hoyas might spring an
upset. Then Anthony, Billy Edelin and McNamara made six straight free
throws down the stretch and the No. 11 Orangemen held off the Hoyas
74-69. The victory moved the Syracuse (24-4) into Friday night's
semifinals against Connecticut, which defeated Seton Hall 83-70 in
the final game of the day. "Down the stretch, we made big plays,'' coach Jim Boeheim said.
"It was just the way we played all year long, nothing new. Pretty
typical of our season.'' Georgetown scored 41 points in the first half, a day after
managing just 46 in the entire game against Villanova. The Hoyas
led 41-39 at the half but were shut down in the second half by a
persistent Syracuse defense. In a seesaw second half, Syracuse nudged ahead by three before
Brandon Bowman scored seven straight points for the Hoyas.
Georgetown was still ahead by a point thanks to Syracuse's foul
line problems, highlighted by McNamara's misses. "It was a shocker when Gerry missed those free throws,''
Boeheim said. Two of the freshman guard's other misses also came
against the Hoyas earlier in the season. "He's shooting about 100
percent against everybody else.'' The misses kept it close. But Syracuse found its foul line
shooting eye just in time to secure the victory. Anthony's two free throws gave Syracuse a 64-63 lead and
Edelin's pair made it 68-65. The Hoyas were still just one point
back when Kueth Duany hit a foul shot and then made a steal that
resulted in two more free throws by McNamara -- his only points of
the second half. "I just think we've got players that step up at key times
during the game,'' Duany said. "Carmelo, Gerry and Billy make
plays when we need it.'' Anthony led Syracuse with 21 points while Duany added 16 and
Warrick 14. Sweetney had 29 points and 13 rebounds for Georgetown
and Brandon Bowman scored 18. "Kueth was tremendous tonight,'' Boeheim said. "He stuck a
couple of jumpers. I thought he was really key in the first half,
keeping us in there.'' It was Syracuse's third victory this season against Georgetown. "I'm sick of playing them,'' Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said.