Following are the infamous words that started the SU/Georgetown rivalry. IMO, this is what makes Georgetown the bad guys.
Manley Field House,” Thompson declared, “is officially closed."
Georgetown coach John Thompson III wasn’t at Manley Field House Feb. 12, 1980, when Syracuse University planned a festive night to say goodbye to its tiny home court before moving to the cavernous Carrier Dome.
He was 13 then and listened on the radio as his father’s unranked team stormed back from a 10-point deficit to stun No. 2 SU, 52-50, in what was going to be the last game at Manley. Then John Thompson Jr., the big man with the big white towel on his shoulder who SU fans grew to hate as the Big East took off in the 1980s, uttered the most famous line in the history of the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry.
“Manley Field House,” Thompson declared, “is officially closed.”
“Hoya Paranoia” was born, and 30 years later those six words still reverberate.
“Obviously, the post-game press conference is possibly the most memorable part of it. There’s no doubt that definitely fueled (the rivalry),” Thompson III said of the first time the clubs met as members of the newly formed Big East.
“But there has been so many things since then, so many tough games, so many tough players that have perpetuated it.”
The 82nd edition tips off tonight at the Dome, and if the Hoyas inch a bit higher when the new national polls are released today, it might be the first time in 20 years the rivalry features two top-10 teams. Not that rankings matter much when it’s SU versus Georgetown.
“Great games make great rivalries. You can’t structure that. You can’t schedule it. It just has to happen,” said SU coach Jim Boeheim, whose fifth-ranked club split last year’s meetings with the No. 12 Hoyas, including a 98-94 thriller in overtime at the Dome.
“We’ve had so many great games over the years … those games kind of fuel the fire.”
In his 34 years as coach, Boeheim’s teams are 33-32 against Georgetown, and he knows the Hoyas (15-3, 6-2) will be a tough out tonight. They handed No. 9 Pittsburgh its first loss last week, 74-66, at Pitt. The Panthers are the only team to top SU and they did it at the Dome, too.
Georgetown has won four of five since a loss at Marquette but the loss was at No. 4 Villanova, 82-77. Two weeks ago, behind 33 points from Austin Freeman, the Hoyas rallied from 19 points down to beat then-No. 13 Connecticut, 72-69. All UConn did Saturday was upset No. 1 Texas, 88-74.
“Georgetown’s playing as well as anybody in the league or better,” Boeheim said.
After going over the top of Marquette’s small lineup on Saturday and owning a whopping 46-21 rebounding and 56-22 points-in-the-paint advantage, SU faces a typically tall Hoya frontline. But Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson carry as much size and more bulk than 6-foot-11, 247-pound Greg Monroe (15.2 points per game, 10.4 rebounds), the super sophomore, and 6-9, 247-pound junior Julian Vaughn (8.5/5.4).
Georgetown ranks only 14th in the league in rebounding, but second in defense (61.4 ppg allowed). Freeman (15.6 ppg), junior point guard Chris Wright (15.1), sophomore guard Jason Clark (10.6) average in double digits. The Hoyas mirror SU’s balance and also have started the same lineup every game.
This will be SU top-scorer Wesley Johnson’s first Georgetown game and at 6-7 the Iowa State transfer should be a tough matchup. He has heard enough to know what the rivalry’s about.
“A lot of emotion’s going to be going around. It’s going to be fun,” said the Texas native who grew up with the Oklahoma-Texas rivalry. “I know what that means. I think it’s going to be the same gist. I’m just ready to be a part of it.”