And it ended exactly as every SU fan wanted.
At Madison Square Garden.
In the City that never sleeps.
In front of a sold out crowd.
On live television.
Before millions of viewers.
SU 58-55. Bye bye, Georgetown. How does it feel to want?
Now, I’m not a sportswriter by any stretch. I’m no Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, or Kevin Maher. I don’t have ESPN-savvy facts and figures to dazzle you. And I don’t know which team won more games.
What I do know, is the contentious Big East clash between SU and Georgetown has stressed me out for decades, back to the days of Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, Sherman Douglas, and Roni Seikaly. The shorts were shorter, but the nights were just as long.
I’m just one drop of a voluminous sea of SU fans who knows exactly what the past nearly 30 years of sitting — or should I say standing — on the edge of this gnarly, gritty, grimy rivalry, anxiously watching the Orange and Hoyas ‘out slay’ each other on the hardwood.
It was never pretty. It was always pretty ugly.
And in the end, at the end, it would be the end of a war unmatched in collegiate basketball history. And in a way, while SU won, Big East fans lost. Because it’s the end of an era. And they don’t make ‘em like SU vs. Georgetown these days. You can’t make them. They just are.
They are — because students dutifully slept outside in sub-zero temps for tickets.
As alumni flew cross-country to lay witness.
And local fans braved miles in sleet and freezing rain for 9 p.m. tip offs.
As a Salt City, with long winters and short summers, came together every season to wave the Loud House.
To watch Boeheim and his boys press their orange thunder against greyly blue.
Without fail, fans tethered to heart pounding, nail biting, soul swearing hoop in the Carrier Dome, in our living rooms, in man caves, and on the road.
Because there was just something about playing Georgetown.
Because every time the two giants stood on that court, they brought their entire history with them, making it so much, much more than a game.
It was strength. It was power. It was fierce dedication. It was unwavering intimidation. It was a persevering, bloody, backboned, stamina-driven, tenacious, purposeful sweaty scrum of endurance.
Every Salt City sweaty drop. Every scooped basket. Every buzzer beater.
Now, sports reporters will have to search for new headlines while Orange and Hoyas fans try to replace that confrontation we came to love to hate.
It’ll never be again. Not like this.
It was personal, for all of us.
There’ll be more games to come. New teams to slay. New rivalries to be had. We’ll win some. We’ll lose some.
But it’ll never amount to that thing about Georgetown.
That got under your SU skin.
And ran through your veins.
And made your blood boil.
And made you BLEED ORANGE.
And set your soul on fire.
So yeah, Hoyas, you closed Manley.
And you spanked us at our last rivaled home game at the Dome.
And put the Orange crush at your Verizon Center.
But we clocked you at the Garden. For the final time. And it was beautiful.
Revenge never tasted so good.