GU wins the last game in Manley Field House. This was one of the most historic games in all of college basketball history. It was the game that launched the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry. Even though Georgetown had upset Syracuse and the Louie-Bouie show a year earlier at Cole Field House, the Orange faithful were confident the #2 ranked Orange would dispose of the Hoyas in the frenzied atmosphere of Manley Field House. I remembered the Syracuse game in the prior year, as there were several fellow residents of 4th Loyola dormitory on 35th street from Syracuse, New York. They had grown up as die hard Syracuse basketball fans, but it would take this victory at Manley Field House to change them permanently to "Heart Attack Hoya" fans. The Orange came out on fire in the first half looking to avenge their loss to GU at Cole Field House. They played up to their #2 national ranking as Marty Headd and company could not miss in the first half. The Hoyas were caught by surprise and only shot a mere 21 percent from the field before halftime. In a brilliant move, Coach John Thompson, Jr. slowed the pace of the game at the end of the first half. Craig "Big Sky" Shelton, and "Fast Eddie" Spriggs scored some key inside baskets to close the half.
In the second half Syracuse came out hot again looking to extend the nation's leading 57 game home winning streak. All the emotions of the past great Syracuse teams led by Dave Bing, et al. fueled the crowd's emotions. Indeed the Orange fed off their great fans, and pushed the lead to 17 points. Georgetown dug down deep, and slowly chipped away at the lead. As I watched the game with my housemates in Village A I boldly predicted that the Hoyas would prevail. The Syracuse fans at Manley began to sing Auld Lang Syne prematurely. They taunted the Georgetown players at every opportunity. However, in one of JT, Jr.'s most brilliant coaching performances, he tightened the Georgetown defense knowing that if he could neutrallize Syracuse center Roosevelt Bouie the game was up for grabs in the final minutes. Sure enough the Hoyas closed the game to 49-44 with two minutes left. Those last two minutes seemed like two hours. Finally, Eric "Sleepy" Floyd knocked down two free throws to win the game as the Orange faithful sat stunned in Manley. I will never forget seeing Coach Thompson and the Hoyas walk off the court as Coach Thompson made the famed statement, "Manley Field House is officially closed." That game was a sign of the many heart attack moments to come in the inaugural year of the Big East Conference. It fueled the modern era's greatest college basketball rivalry. The Hoyas needed all of their experience, focus, and determination to prevail in this game of "Ruthian" proportions. That "Heart Attack Hoya" evening cemented Georgetown's place in college basketball history as the true "Beast of the East."
We are Georgetown! Hoya Saxa!
Dr. Thomas A. Wong
Hoya Hoop Club Vice-President--Communications
Proud Member of Generation Ewing