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Georgetown-Syracuse Big East rivalry closes in fitting fashion

Mar 15, 2013, 11:35 PM EDT

georgetown syracuse AP

NEW YORK — Georgetown already beat Syracuse.

In fact, they did it twice. And in devastating fashion.

Georgetown defeated the Orange by 11 in front of a record crowd at the Carrier Dome. They then followed it up by dismantling the Orange by 22 in the regular season final. The Hoyas had sent Syracuse off into the sunset in the best way possible, a season sweep of their bitter rivals in embarrassing fashion.

But that’s not how a rivalry should end, let alone one that laid the foundation for the very conference that is coming to a close this weekend.

Sure Hoya fans would disagree, but the college hoops game deserved better. The Big East deserved better. This rivalry needed to end at Madison Square Garden. This rivalry needed to close with a postseason show down with Championship implications. This final game needed to be decided in overtime, on the final shot of the game.

So when Jabril Trawick’s desperation heave caromed off the iron to give Syracuse a 58-55 overtime victory, Hoya fans languished, Orange fans celebrated and the legacy of the classic Big East shined through one final time.

“This is big time, the Big East Tournament, Georgetown versus Syracuse” said forward James Southerland, who finished with 13 points, including four key 3-pointers. “Everyone was eager to go out there and prove to everybody what we could do.”

Syracuse was not about to let their bitter rivalries embarrass them for a third time, especially not in Madison Square Garden, in an event that the two schools had help put on the map.

“Just us losing last time by 20, that meant a lot for us to even get to play against them again, said Brandon Triche, who scored the final field goal of regulation and the final point of overtime. “Just reading comments from them, talking trash about us, it made it even more important to win a game like this.”

Jim Boeheim agreed that this was a big tournament for his team. Not just because the Orange had been slumping, losers of four of their last five regular season games, but because this was the final trip to Madison Square Garden for postseason play.

“This is a monumental tournament for us to get our confidence back and what we can do and what’s ahead of us. We fully got that back. So that’s why this tournament is so valuable for us this year. We really needed to have this kind of a tournament.”

This is how the Big East was meant to go out.

This is how the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry was destined to finish.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

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