Georgetown Basketball: February 2010 News Archive
Austin Freeman sneezed, and Georgetown caught the cold.
John Thompson III called Saturday's 78-64 loss to Notre Dame "extremely disappointing". He's too much of a gentleman to say otherwise. But to most of the 15,992 in attendance, many of whom walked out the door as early as 5:00 before the finish, the score illustrated a shockingly disorganized Georgetown team, too often looking at each other as Notre Dame played the kind of basketball to which Georgetown, not the Irish, are best known.
Georgetown was beaten at its own game, and across the star-crossed jerseys du jour from Nike, there was no silver lining, just a dark cloud that was cast over this team from the moment the starting lineups were introduced.
For the first time in two seasons, Austin Freeman did not start a Big East game, befell by illness which led to him retiring at least twice during the game to the locker room for help. Coach Thompson chose to play Freeman for 23 minutes, most of which were largely ineffective--Freeman was a non-factor on offense (two layups, two air balls) and the normally outstanding free throw shooter got to the line just once, with one shot which had so little energy on it it sank like a rock. As Freeman labored, the collective spirit and will drained out of this team.
The Irish took the lead 51 seconds into the game and never looked back. ND hit three threes in a 3:14 period early in the first period to go up 11-4, and despite missing its final 10 three point shots of the half, they never trailed.
Georgetown took advantage of ND via the three point mark, hitting five to stay close in the half. But early on it was apparent that Georgetown's interior game, particularly the tandem of Julian Vaughn and Jerrelle Benimon, had no effect on Notre Dame cuts to the basket. The Irish scored dunks on three straight possessions to lead by five with 6:22 to play, and Georgetown could not get closer than two the rest of the half. With a 31-27 lead at the break, Notre Dame had shot 46 percent from the floor to Georgetown's 55 percent, but owned the boards, as the Hoyas gave up an unconscionable 10 offensive boards on ND's 15 missed field goal attempts.
GU shot 48 percent in the second half, which in almost every other game would have been good enough to win were it not for the complete lack of any defensive intensity in the game. Players were visibly out of position, late to the ball, and in some cases winded while chasing the Domers down the floor, wholly unlike Georgetown teams which prided themselves on conditioning and a 40-minute commitment.
Thompson has been consistent about avoiding bench help but this decision clearly hurt the Hoyas today. Freeman gave his all but he was, at best, playing at 50 percent and was not a factor. Vee Sanford played just four minutes in the second half, while Henry Sims didn't get off the bench as the starters tired.
Four Georgetown starters were in double figures but without effect. The Fighting Irish saw three starters (Ben Hansbrough, Tim Abromaitis, and Carleton Scott)combine for 57 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks.
The loss keeps alive ND's hopes for an NCAA bid and puts Georgetown on the outside looking in for a second round bye in the Big East tournament. Georgetown needs one win in its final two games to avoid an even more dire finish--a Tuesday first round game, where they were bounced last season by St. John's.
Inconsistency in late February is an early ticket to the off-season. With a couple more finishes like this, Thompson and staff will be on the road recruiting a few weeks early.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 39 2-8 2-4 0-1 1 6 3 10 Clark 33 0-0 4-7 0-0 5 2 3 12 Thompson 25 3-3 2-4 0-1 0 3 2 12 Vaughn 23 4-6 0-0 0-0 2 2 0 8 Monroe 35 4-7 0-0 7-8 4 2 4 15 Reserves: Sanford 13 0-0 0-0 2-2 1 0 0 2 Freeman 23 2-3 0-2 1-2 0 0 2 5 Benimon 15 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 Sims 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 15-27 8-18 10-14 20 15 14 64
Post game coverage follows below.
In 1982, the December meeting between #1 Virginia and #2 Georgetown was billed "the game of the decade". In reality, however, the true game of the decade took place Feb. 27, 1985.
Known as "the sweater game", the matchup of #1 St. John's and #2 Georgetown was the talk of the sports world. Considered one of the biggest events in Madison Square Garden history, a game where tickets were being scalped at Super Bowl prices, and before the largest cable TV audience in ESPN's young history, the game was no cliffhanger: the Hoyas' 85-69 win wasn't even close.
Reggie Williams led the Hoyas with 25 points in a game that set the tone for the remainder of the season. Two weeks later, Georgetown dominated St. John's to win the Big East title, and the Hoyas took a third game over the Redmen in the national semifinal in Lexington.
Patrick Ewing's last regular season game at the Garden, shooting 10 for 13 for 20 points, was a prelude of what awaited him in the NBA.
"I was behind him, there were guys on the sides of him," recalled St. John's center Bill Wennington. "We had five guys around him and he still put the ball in."
Readers of The Onion are well aware of the paper's mix of satire and contemporary news. The Feb. 26 issue has a "feature" on the obstructionist efforts of U.S. Senator Dikembe Mutombo--blocking bills in Congress.
"He stuffed the new jobs bill right back in Harry Reid's face," said Sen. John McCain. "And then when Reid tried to put the bill back up for consideration, Sen. Mutombo blocked it a second and then a third time. That's when I knew he had a chance at the record. He just completely dominates the Senate floor."
"You can try and alter your legislation or fake him out by attaching a rider to a bill, but in the end he's just too big," said Sen. John Kerry. "And fast. He's got surprisingly quick footwork."
While in good fun, this reminder: per the Constitution: "no person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States." Mutombo became a U.S. citizen in 2006, leaving him eligible for the Senate by 2015. (You never know...)
A disquieting trend, particularly in February, has been how early foul trouble has derailed the Hoyas earlier in games, particularly with Greg Monroe. For each of the past seven games before Louisville where Monroe has picked up fouls, the key second foul (in yellow) has come progressively earlier in games, limiting his first half effectiveness if the Hoyas stall on offense:
A column at ESPN.com takes a look at the coaching styles between head coach John Thompson III and his father's Georgetown teams.
"Like his father, he is, first and foremost, a marvelous coach," writes Roy S. Johnson. "Yet his scheme is more PC than JT2. In fact, it's a bit of a souffle, combining JT2's defensive passion with an offensive ballet learned under the tutelage of Princeton legend Pete Carril, his coach as a player and his boss when he was an assistant."
"Through it all, JT3 remains comfortable within the shadow. He's tamed the beast that could have overwhelmed him. And he's done so without being JT2, which is just fine."
"The Big East is a big mess. The only way you can stay out of that mess is to keep winning."--Greg Monroe
A month from now, when people look back on Georgetown's 2009-10 regular season, this may be the game where the Hoyas turned an important corner.
Staggered by two late losses and facing a Louisville team which had won 23 of its last 26 in the month of February, the #11-ranked Hoyas turned in a true team effort and overcame an 11 point deficit to defeat the Louisville Cardinals, 70-60, reasserting itself in the race for a top tier bid in the upcoming Big East tournament.
The Hoyas started off cold in this game, shooting 1 for 11 from the field as Louisville built a 16-5 lead in the first seven minutes of play. Georgetown got nothing offensively out of its starters and turned to the bench, where freshman Hollis Thompson came up big, hitting two three pointers in the three minute stretch that helped jump-start the Georgetown offense. The bench came up big in the run which closed the Louisville lead to three on three different occasions, including a pair of free throws by Vee Sanford and some fine defensive play by Jerrelle Benimon.
The Cardinals were able to score inside and out in the half, as Edgar Sosa and Reginald Delk combined for 24 points and the team did not commit a turnover for the first 17 minutes of the half. Georgetown's offense was highlighted by 12 points from Greg Monroe, but little from starters Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, or Jason Clark, combining to shoot 2 for 8 in the half. The bench helped spark a 9 of 10 shooting run that closed the score to 32-29 with 2:56 to play, but the Hoyas missed on each of its last six possessions of the half as Louisville carried a 35-29 lead into the break.
"We just missed two layups at point blank range and three jump hooks at point blank range," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino in post-game remarks.
"Samardo [Samuels] missed some shots he's probably never going to miss again in his life," said Thompson. "It was bouncing our way."
Freeman wasn't done. As the teams traded possessions without points over the next thee minutes, Freeman picked up a pair of free throws with 11:28 left, and sank a long three with 10:05 to play, 53-38--the Cardinals had now scored one basket in the first ten minutes of the half.
Sophomore center Samardo Samuels broke the ice with an inside basket with 9:36 to play and the Cards caught a second wind, scoring six straight to rally the home crowd with 7:09 left, 53-44, only to see the Hoyas answer with a huge Jason Clark three and a Julian Vaughn tip-in to push the lead back to 14, 58-44.
Louisville got the lead back to 11 but could not get back into single digits, and gave up a potential turning point of the game when Jason Clark nearly lost the ball on a press, but found Freeman, who was fouled nailing a three, and the Hoyas were back up 64-49. The Cardinals then forced two turnovers, picked up consecutive threes and closed to 64-57 before Chris Wright and Austin Freeman closed the game at the line with 6-6 shooting and a hard fought ten point win.
Austin Freeman's 29 points was four short of his career high against Connecticut on Jan. 9, his 24 point second half was the eighth most school history. But freeman was only one of a number of encouraging stories for the Georgetown staff.
Greg Monroe had an impressive night against fellow super-sophomore Samardo Samuels. Monroe successfully stayed out of foul trouble and scored 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists versus 11 points and six rebounds for Samuels. Chris Wright was not a factor offensively but helped with ball control and defense, with his four free throws late putting aside any hopes of a UofL comeback. Georgetown's 59 percent shooting in the second half helped it overcome a late push by the Cards, who shot 2-13 to open the half and 8-12 to finish it.
"You have to give a lot of credit to them," said Pitino. "We did everything we wanted to do in the first half and they did everything they wanted in the second half and that was the difference in the game."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 38 0-2 0-2 4-5 2 4 2 4 Freeman 38 4-6 5-6 6-6 4 4 0 29 Clark 34 0-0 1-4 1-2 2 0 4 4 Vaughn 19 2-4 0-0 1-1 3 1 3 5 Monroe 38 7-17 0-0 2-2 14 5 3 16 Reserves: Thompson 13 0-1 2-4 0-0 2 0 3 6 Sanford 4 0-1 0-0 2-3 2 0 0 2 Benimon 16 2-2 0-0 0-1 2 0 2 4 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka, Sims Team Rebounds 2 TOTALS 200 15-33 8-16 16-20 33 14 17 70
Post game articles follow below.
Georgetown University has a problem at Verizon Center.
Thursday's game, both as seen on TV as well as fan reports from the game, indicated the presence of large numbers of Syracuse fans sitting in season ticketed seats in the lower level, including the bottom 10-15 rows of seats. Aside from the public embarrassment that this brings to the University on a television broadcast, the fact that elite season ticket holders (some of whom donate as much as $2,500 per seat in Hoop Club giving) are selling their seats to soon-to-be-intoxicated Syracuse fans is unacceptable.
This is not a case of TicketMaster selling upper level seats first come, first served-- the presence of most of the 400-level as Orangemen fans is a separate issue which also needs some examination. However, the fact that the supposedly loyal fans of the lower bowl sections are openly selling seats to opposing fans for what is arguably the biggest Big East game on the schedule deserves public rebuke as well a future policy of action by Georgetown officials.
If a season ticket holder at the Carrier Dome is caught selling his seats to Georgetown fans at mid-court, you know what he is next year? A former season ticket holder.
Selling the best seats in the house to opposing fans should no longer be tolerated as a course of doing business.
There has been much discussion on Friday's editorial about the lack of judgment exercised by some Georgetown Athletics donors and their proxies in selling prime location seats to opposing and/or unruly fans. While my view was solely on the appearances shown on TV, the numerous complaints lodged on various Georgetown message boards was evidence that this was a problem in the lower level.
There is both a short term and along term answer to this issue. Short term (i.e. next year) Duke will not be a home game and "Gray Out" should, by all means, be Syracuse. The ticket office can't lock down the seats for every game but if you have to pick one, let's make this the one. Longer term, there is room for new ideas and approaches.
It is not enough to curse the darkness, so to speak, but to offer solutions. Fortunately, there are solutions already in use in facilities which GU could adopt next season and put this "orange market" of ticket trafficking to its knees.
At issue is the ticket itself. Season ticket holders are issued a 11 x 17 sheet of self-perforated tickets which are not unique to any one person and which can be subdivided at will. Concurrently, the presence of a paper ticket allows legalized scalpers like Stub Hub to use tickets as a form of scrip where any seat is available for top dollar. Lastly, there is no penalty a ticket holder to use his/her seats as a revenue source, because there is no easy way to tie a ticket to an individual.
At its foundation, tickets are bills of entry--whether they're strips of paper with a college logo is irrelevant. So it's time to consider a system successfully utilized in the UK that addresses the needs of the fan and of the venue--a scannable season ticket card in lieu of individual tickets for lower level fans.
These cards are not new but the technology is. Utilizing scanning technology, a season ticket holder would need just one card for an entire season and be admitted from that card, which would list the name and seat number of the rights holders. Cards would be much less likely to be subject to counterfeit, easier to keep, could be "recharged" each season and serve as an added value to Hoya Hoop Club members.
But what if you are not going to a game? Cards could theoretically be non-transferable but this is not realistic. Instead, treat the card like money--lose it and it's gone. The card holder has a decision--he/she can give the card to a spouse, friend or colleague for a game, but like a debit card, the card is the point of entry for all games going forward. If he doesn't get the card back, it's like he threw away his remaining tickets. Does a HHC member really want to give his card to a Duke or Syracuse fan, who may or may not not return it? If the card is lost or "stolen" (wink wink), the card holder would have to go to GU for a replacement and that bar code would be immediately invalidated.
The elephant in the room is StubHub, who negotiated an agreement under the previous athletic director that puts paper tickets on the market. But StubHub wouldn't be able to traffic cards any more than they would buy and sell student wristbands. Paper tickets in the 400's (another problem entirely) would still be eligible to StubHub, but lower level card-eligible seats would essentially be off the market unless someone posted their card for a game--and Georgetown would then know exactly who is engaging in this behavior. By limiting the comfort of using cards on the open market, wayward Hoya Hoop Club or Georgetown Athletics donors may think twice about giving up their seat --their card-- to strangers.
I understand that for a minority of fans (myself included) that are out of town ticket holders this may limit the utility of a season ticket package if they cannot sell mid-week seats. However, the ticket office already allows ticket holders to donate seats back to GU and I feel this could be continued under such a plan.
Again, this is not rocket science--it is being used right now in the UEFA, and even in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun, which offers card holders percentage off deals at Mohegan Sun. The card, then, is not only a ticket but a marketing tool, and one which can utilize existing Verizon Center scan technology to deter fraudulent or reused cards from getting people in the seats.
Sitting in the lower seats is a privilege and, well, membership has its privileges. A season ticket card is a step to both simplifying the process for HHC members and complicating matters for those who seek to abuse the system.
"Again, the lesson was a good one: Don't get down by 23 points to a potential national champion. At some point, a team like Syracuse will find their game, their rhythm and a way to send the Hoyas home unhappy, kicking themselves because they knew they could play with that big, strong, polished team right till the end."--Mike Wise, Washington Post
Two weeks from now, if a former Top 10 team in Georgetown is staring at a uncertain NCAA future in its regular season finale with Cincinnati and a Tuesday afternoon appearance in the Big East tournament, fans may rightly ask--what happened?
They can start with two minutes over five days.
Sunday, Georgetown entered the final 51 seconds of a game with Rutgers, surrendered a inside basket and took an ill-advised three point shot to lose.
Five days later, Georgetown entered the final 1:07 of its game with #5 Syracuse on the cusp of a historic comeback, only to take an ill-advised three point shot, give up precious seconds on the clock, and surrender an inside basket to fall to the Orangemen, 75-71, before 13,996 Georgetown fans and half as many Orangemen fans that presumably could buy all the good seats it wanted on StubHub.
The Hoyas opened the game flat and were proceeded to be run over by a hot-shooting Syracuse team leading Division I in field goal percentage offense. From Andy Rautins' opening three pointer, the Saltine Warriors never trailed, and after Greg Monroe picked up two fouls in the first 2:30, Syracuse had the green light to eviscerate the flat-footed Hoyas.
If Georgetown was looking for an early spurt to open the half, they didn't get it. Monroe picked up his third foul at the 18:23 mark and the defense was again ill-prepared for a second round of long-range artillery. Georgetown went almost four minutes of the second half before it picked up its first field goal, but Rautins had already added two more threes and the Orangemen were coasting to a 19 point lead, 52-33. Following a double-technical on Rautins and Wright, three Georgetown starters were in foul trouble and the lead had ballooned to 23 at 60-37, with still 12 minutes to go.
With 12:24 to play, forward Rick Jackson picked up his fourth foul and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim opted to go with little-used reserve DaShonte Riley, the former Georgetown recruit who retracted his GU commitment to sign with the Orangemen. Riley promptly fouled Chris Wright two seconds into the game and the Hoyas closed to 21, and began to pick up its defensive intensity. Syracuse missed shots on each of its next five possessions and Georgetown converted on each of its next five, rallying the home crowd (or the home portion of it) and cutting the deficit to 13, 60-47, with 9:16 to play.
Monroe shot 7-8 from the line in the first half but more than lost his touch in the second. With 2:26 to play, Monroe missed two key free throws, part of a grim 1-6 effort at the line after halftime.
The Hoyas weren't done, however. Off the second miss, the Hoyas recovered an offensive rebound and Monroe drove for the basket, 69-67. Joseph was fouled and uncharacteristically missed one of two, and the Hoyas again went inside with Monroe to close to 70-69 with 1:50 to play. If the game wasn't on before, it was now.
And it was precisely at this point in the game that a combination of expert moves by Jim Boeheim, expert foul shooting by the Orangemen, and a combination of bad planning and bad luck by the Hoyas overwhelmed this momentous comeback.
On its next series, the Orangemen struggled to get a good shot but caught Jason Clark reaching on Rautins with 1:25 left. Clark's mistake, his fourth foul, enabled Rautins to extend the lead to 71-69. On the ensuing series, Monroe was fouled with 1:10 to play. Making the first free throw, his second was short and the tie was averted, 71-70. However, on the miss, Monroe fell on the ball and opted to call time out--in hindsight, the wrong call (Georgetown owned the held ball advantage and used its final time out) but not an unusual move at such an important part of the game.
Georgetown had the ball, the alternate possession, and the momentum. Syracuse's defense tightened around Monroe and the 2-3 defense reappeared as it did in the first, forcing georgetown to work the perimeter. With 11 seconds on the shot clock and over 25 feet from the basket, Clark inexplicably launched a three that was off the mark, allowing Syracuse the ball with 41 seconds to play and a fresh 35 second shot clock.
"We wanted two guys in who could get the ball into Greg and let Greg make the decision if he had anything or kick it out to (Chris Wright or Austin Freeman)," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said, but Clark didn't do that.
Stranger yet, Thompson did not stop the clock by fouling on the next series, instead letting Syracuse run down the clock and run the winning play. Boeheim's alert positioning of the smaller and faster Kris Josephs in the game instead of relying on the taller but clearly inexperienced Riley allowed Josephs to bypass a trailing Jerelle Benimon and drive past Monroe to the basket for a deflating lay-up with nine seconds left, 73-70.
Off the basket, another smart decision--not allowing Georgetown to tie the game with a last second three. Off the inbounds, Boeheim orders Rautins to foul Jason Clark with :08 left. With Georgetown shooting so erratically from the line, Boeheim played the odds, and came up a winner: Clark back-rimmed the first shot and settled for the second, 73-71, forcing Georgetown to foul the first man on the inbounds, which happened to be Andy Rautins, the game's leading scorer. Rautins hit both free throws to finish with 26 and earned Syracuse its first road win over Georgetown since 2005.
"I thought Kris (Joseph) made two great plays at the end and then we wanted to foul with less than 10 seconds, get the ball into Andy and he's going to make free throws down the stretch," Boeheim said.
"He's the key to the whole team, defensively, offensively," he said of Rautins in post-game comments. "Say whatever you want to say he makes the plays and obviously he's a tremendous shooter but he makes plays, he gets other people the ball and is really key on our defensive end. This was really, I thought, one of his best offensive games and they were right there with him and he made some tough shots."
Statistically, the two halves were night and day to the Georgetown starters. Chris Wright was strong in the first half (5-9, 12 pts) but struggled in the second (2-8, 8 pts); the mirror image was true for Freeman (2-9 in the first, 7-11 in the second). Monroe got only nine shots and his 1-6 effort at the line in the second half was huge. Clark and Vaughn combined to shoot 2-12.
The post-game comments from the Georgetown locker room reflect a team that must pick itself up, and soon. The Hoyas were literally 1:07 from one of the largest comebacks in Big East history, and let it slip away.
"Losing is hell and after a loss there is nothing but misery and pain, and there is misery and pain right now," said Thompson. "But I'm proud of how our guys responded and in no way this program, this team does not believe in moral victories, but I'm just proud of our guys."
"We made some mistakes and we weren't playing as good as we should," said Greg Monroe. "We just have to find a way to play the same way for the whole 40 minutes."
Thursday night, 39 minutes wasn't enough. And it may not be enough at Louisville, either, where the Cardinals have played their way back into NCAA consideration, winning four of its last five and owning a half game lead over Georgetown in the Big East standings.
"It's misery and pain, you know, we can't get stuck, we can't wallow in that, because the next opponent will always be a good opponent," said Thompson.
And from this point on in the schedule, every team will be, which makes those two minutes in those two games so critical right about now.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 36 5-11 2-6 4-5 4 1 4 20 Freeman 38 7-12 2-8 1-1 6 3 3 21 Clark 37 1-4 1-4 3-4 4 4 5 8 Vaughn 22 0-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 Monroe 31 6-9 0-0 8-14 9 1 4 20 Reserves: Thompson 8 0-1 0-2 0-0 0 0 1 0 Sanford 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Benimon 19 0-2 0-0 0-0 6 1 2 0 Sims 4 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 2 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka Team Rebounds 4 TOTALS 200 20-45 5-20 16-24 35 10 22 71
Post game coverage follows below.
Thursday's game marked the first time in the Verizon Center era (1998-present) that both Syracuse and Georgetown enters the game ranked in the Associated Press Top 10. In fact, this was the first such meeting in the Washington area since February 13, 1989, when #2 Georgetown defeated #9 Syracuse 61-54 before a sold out 19,035 at Capital Centre, behind 16 points from Charles Smith.
Date Score Georgetown Syracuse 1/26/1998 L 66-84 -- #20 1/16/1999 L 79-81 -- #18 2/24/2001 W 72-61 #21 #17 1/28/2002 W 75-60 -- #12 3/1/2003 L 84-93 (OT) -- #15 2/21/2004 L 54-57 -- #24 2/25/2006 W 68-53 #23 -- 1/21/2008 W 64-62 #9 -- 1/14/2009 W 88-74 #13 #8 2/25/2010 L 71-75 #10 #5
John Thompson III's quote about the 2009-10 Hoyas bears repeating.
I think that this group can beat any team in the country if we do what we're supposed to do," Thompson said. "And if we don't, we can lose to everyone else on our schedule."
Make no mistake: Rutgers arrived at the game with more intensity and Georgetown never quite matched it. The Scarlet Knights (13-12) opened a 7-2 lead early in the first half, pushing a more deliberate tempo than what derailed them in a 25 point rout at Verizon Center less than a month ago. Georgetown worked its way back to a narrow lead, 16-15, before Austin Freeman picked up his second foul and Rutgers began to challenge the Hoyas inside. A pair of layups by reserve Austin Johnson keyed a 9-2 RU run and a six point lead with 7:15 to play in the half, from which point, the Georgetown defense held Rutgers to 33 percent shooting the rest of the half (4-12), working away at the lead until an apparent tying three by Jerome Benimon with 37 seconds to play was ruled a two pointer, preserving a one point Scarlet lead at the break, 33-32.
Wright missed a layup on the next possession, and the Scarlet Knights cashed in for a 7-0 run and a five point lead, 54-49. For the next eight minutes, Georgetown was left playing catch-up, and none too well.
Georgetown relied exclusively on inside play to cut into the lead, as the three point shot had abandoned them in this game. Georgetown missed all five three point attempts, and saw Rutgers connect on a variety of inside and outside plays to keep the lead at five points entering the final four minutes of play. The Hoyas held Rutgers scoreless in three straight possessions and connected on four straight inside plays to regain the lead with 51 seconds left, 67-66. All Georgetown needed was a stop on the final Rutgers possession, and they flat didn't get it.
With 20 seconds to play, a long three by Rosario was long, but neither Jason Clark nor Julian Vaughn were closing off the weak side lane, where Dane Miller picked up the offensive rebound and retook the lead with 19 seconds remaining, 68-67. On its next series, down one, Wright opted to go for a three point shot but it was off the mark and Georgetown was forced to foul, as the Scarlet Knights (which hit 9 of its last 10 free throws in the final ten minutes of play) sank two to extend the lead to three with four seconds to play. A last second three by Austin Freeman was close but bounced away from the rim to earn Rutgers the upset.
Neither Wright nor Freeman were able to consistently drive the offense, even against a Rutgers team which entered the game 12th of 16 teams in defense and 14th in field goal shooting Wright was 2-8 for the game and finished with six, extending the team's record to 2-6 (.250) when Wright fails to score in double figures. Austin Freeman finished with 17 points but was 1-6 from three point range.
The Scarlet Knights were led by Mitchell's 24 points on 9-12 shooting. Rutgers, ranked last in the league in turnover margin, were a +6 on turnovers after GU gave up 14, which resulted in 18 Rutgers points on the afternoon. Georgetown was especially poor on surrendering offensive rebounds: 12 of which translated to 10 Rutgers points.
Attention to detail was discussed at coach John Thompson III"s post game remarks.
"You have to come with a certain level of attentiveness in this league," he said. "Every team is talented, every team is well coached. Every game you have to be at the top of your game to be able to win.”
"Chris got a wide open shot that he can make and the ball just didn’t go in for him.”
"Really, I think it comes down to our defensive effort," said Rutgers coach Fred Hill Jr. "We defended them outstanding and turned them over 14 times. You don’t see that very often."
Too often, in fact. In each of Georgetown's six losses the Hoyas turned the ball over 13 or more times, including 19 in a loss to Syracuse on Jan. 25. The #5-ranked Orangemen arrive at Verizon Center for a critical game for both teams, as Syracuse was upset at home by Louisville 66-60.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 36 2-6 0-2 2-4 3 2 3 6 Freeman 34 6-9 1-6 2-3 5 1 2 17 Clark 38 4-5 0-1 0-0 6 3 5 8 Vaughn 24 3-4 0-0 0-0 3 1 3 6 Monroe 40 7-13 1-2 2-3 8 6 0 19 Reserves: Thompson 20 2-5 2-2 0-0 1 0 1 10 Sanford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Benimon 6 1-2 0-0 0-0 4 0 1 2 Sims 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka Team Rebounds 4 TOTALS 200 25-44 4-13 6-10 34 13 15 68
Post game coverage follows below.
In southern New England, a "grinder" is a sandwich, but Tuesday's game with Providence was a grinder of a different kind.
The #7-ranked Hoyas fought through a eight point second half deficit to a 79-70 win over the Friars, thanks to three starters in double figures and a remarkable 12 assist effort from sophomore Greg Monroe.
Georgetown got off to a strong start in the game, scoring on eight of its first 11 shots and taking a seven point lead, 18-11, before Greg Monroe picked up his second foul at the 12:25 mark of the first half. The Friars got back in the game thanks to 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and seven points off Georgetown turnovers, holding the Hoyas to two of its next 11 shots and tying the score at 22 with 5:48 left. Providence took the lead at the 2:48 mark, 31-29, and led by two at the half, 33-31.
The Friars quickly extended the lead to eight with a pair of three point shots, 41-33, but could not maintain its offensive intensity as the Hoyas began to grind its way back in the game--in large part due to the passing of Greg Monroe. Held to four points at the half, Monroe began to assert himself as Georgetown closed to 43-40. The Friars struggled at the free throw line, which opened up the door for Georgetown to take the lead, which it did with Chris Wright's steal, basket and foul shot at the 11:58 mark, 49-48, a lead it would not lose thereafter.
Providence was able to stay close with a 42-31 rebound advantage, including 22 offensive rebounds. In the end, the Friars shot just 34 percent from the field, 26 percent from three point range, and struggled at the free throw line, shooting 15-27 before the last five minutes of the game.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 39 6-8 1-4 6-8 4 3 3 21 Freeman 37 6-10 1-2 2-2 2 2 4 17 Clark 31 1-5 1-4 1-2 5 1 4 6 Vaughn 29 9-13 0-0 1-2 2 2 3 19 Monroe 31 4-6 0-0 4-5 7 12 2 12 Reserves: Thompson 22 1-4 0-1 2-2 4 0 4 4 Benimon 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 Sims 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 DNP: Sanford, Dougherty, Stepka Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 27-47 3-11 16-21 31 20 24 79
Post game coverage follows below.
"Armed with boots, scarves, hats and the foolishness of youth, a pack of Georgetown students schlepped 3+ miles through a blizzard to the Verizon Center to see their Georgetown Hoyas play No. 2 Villanova.Two hours later, they went back outside to find the same blizzard still howling and three more miles of pavement between them and a warm dorm room. But this time they were walking on air."--Dana O'Neil, ESPN.com
For a season in which the #7-ranked Georgetown Hoyas relied on its "big three", it welcomed a fourth name to that list.
Jason Clark's career high 24 points led a spirited Georgetown offensive output in a 103-90 upset of the #2-ranked Villanova Wildcats in what will long be known as "the blizzard game". Before a true walk-up crowd of 10,387 who found their way to Verizon Center amidst 22" of snow, Clark and Austin Freeman led the Hoyas' largest offensive output against a Big East team in a regulation game since a 106-68 defeat of #6 Villanova in 1996.
Clark was a factor right from the start, with an early three that helped lead the Hoyas to an early 7-2 lead and an opportunity to set the tempo of the game. Georgetown picked up assists on each of its first four baskets, but when Villanova's Scottie Reynolds hit a three pointer at the 13:44 mark, Villanova took a 14-12 lead, thanks to its own hot shooting (6-8) to begin the game. Clark soon found himself shutting down Reynolds defensively (Reynolds finished the half scoreless in his next five field goal attempts) and the Hoyas took control.
Much of the second half was a mix of good defense and free throws--both teams struggled though inconsistent officiating which put players in some foul difficulty--Georgetown's Chris Wright picked up his fourth foul early in the half and was not a factor thereafter, but Clark assumed Wright's backcourt role and began to lead the Hoyas through an inspired Wildcat attack.
A Clark three with 12:32 pushed the lead to 18, 66-48, and a Greg Monroe dunk with 9:13 to play (his last basket of the game) got the lead back to 21 at 76-55. Villanova forward Corey Fisher scored the Wildcats' next six points to whittle down the lead, and Reynolds scored the next four to close to 12, 78-66.
A Jerrelle Benimon turnover and Wright's fifth foul leading by 11 gave Villanova a chance to get the lead under double digits with 5:16 to play, but Reynolds connected on only one of two free throws and the lead settled at 10. Junior forward Julian Vaughn replaced Benimon and embarked on a number of key sequences in the game that put the outcome out of risk.
After consecutive threes by Villanova's Taylor King that closed the lead to ten, 87-77, Vaughn added two foul shots and a dunk within 40 seconds to push the lead to 14, 93-79. Villanova shot 7-11 in the final 3:37 of the gamed but the Hoyas out the game away from the foul line, with a pair of Monroe free throws putting GU over the 100 point mark, the first time an opponent had done so against Villanova in six years.
Austin Freeman ended the game with scoring honors of 25 points on 8-12 shooting. Clark finished 6-7 from three and 24 points, Monroe with 19 , Vaughn 13 and freshman Hollis Thompson with 12 points. Despite allowing Villanova 17 points off turnovers and a 9-0 advantage on second chance points, Georgetown was able to get the ball up the court and convert at the foul line. GU took 37 free throws in the second half and converted on 15 of 19 in the final five minutes.
"We have good players, we have unselfish players and they've done a terrific job of helping each other and making sure the right person gets the shot out of our offense," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III.,
Thompson also took note to thank the crowd, which found its way to Verizon Center despite a closure of all Metrobus and above-ground Metrorail stops in the area.
"It was unbelievable," Thompson said. "It was, if you've been listening to all the reports, the worst storm since the Knickerbocker storm in the 1920's. For everyone to come out, it's truly appreciated. We feed off our crowd and to see the effort they made to get down here we want to thank them. We had thought can we reschedule this game because we were worried about our fans and everyone's safety, but there was no date where it would have worked. ..I hope they can get home safely, but it's truly appreciated."
Despite two signature wins on consecutive Saturdays, players are taking it in perspective, perhaps with the intervening game with South Florida in mind.
"It's just another win," said Freeman. "It's another game that we just wanted to come out, play hard and get another victory."
To those in attendance, however, it was something a lot more-- a convincing victory against the nation's #2 team, and a reminder that when the Hoyas are playing to its potential, it can successfully compete with any team in the nation.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 28 1-2 1-4 2-2 3 3 5 7 Freeman 40 6-7 2-5 7-10 1 3 2 25 Clark 34 2-4 6-7 2-3 3 2 3 24 Vaughn 22 3-5 0-0 7-7 3 3 2 13 Monroe 33 4-8 0-1 11-14 8 6 2 19 Reserves: Thompson 28 1-2 1-2 7-10 5 3 4 12 Sanford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Benimon 15 0-1 0-0 3-4 1 1 2 3 Sims 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka Team Rebounds 4 TOTALS 200 17-29 10-19 39-50 28 21 20 103
Additional coverage follows below.
"I think that this group can beat any team in the country if we do what we're supposed to do. And if we don't, we can lose to everyone else on our schedule."--John Thompson III, Jan. 30, 2010
There are no gimme games in the Big East. And when a team plays as uninspired as the Georgetown Hoyas did Wednesday, they can and will lose to a Syracuse, a Villanova, a Pitt.
Or even South Florida.
The Bulls (15-7) took the league's second ranked defense to town Wednesday, scoring on 65 percent of its second half shots in a convincing 72-64 win at Verizon Center. The Hoyas had no offensive momentum after halftime, and its defensive compass was shaken by a pair of fouls early in the second half which gave USF a green light.
From the 18:34 mark of the half, Georgetown proceeded to spend the next eight minutes in full retreat. Georgetown's ten possessions resulted in 0-5 shooting and five turnovers, most with little ball rotation and indifferent shot selection. The Hoyas managed just five points over nine minutes, all from the line.
The Bulls were on fire, and Georgetown was not. USF was shooting 8-11 through this stretch of the half, outscoring a unemotional Georgetown team and a quiet Verizon Center crowd 10-2 over the next three minutes, pulling ahead by eight with 6:28 to play, 56-48, a 28-9 run.
With Chris Wright in the deep freeze, Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe connected on GU's only run of the half, scoring six straight to close to two with 3:43 left, 56-54. The Hoyas missed five of its next nine throws but the Bulls were little better, and Georgetown still saw a three point deficit in reach with 2:52 to play, but Monroe picked up his fifth foul and Wright missed badly on a three point attempt which was answered with a Jones jumper, 60-55. On the next possession, Freeman was fouled but missed the back end, and USF's Mike Mercer went inside to extended the lead to six, 62-56. Wright was fouled and missed both free throws, and when USF's Mercer rolled to a layup with 1:19, the lead was eight, 64-56.
Despite missing four free throws in the final minute, the Bulls' lead was secure, as Georgetown missed a pair of free throws and missed two of its final four shots from three point range.
"I don't know exactly what happened tonight," Monroe said. "We definitely wasn't looking backwards [at Duke] and we definitely wasn't looking forward [to Villanova]. As a team, we have to be more focused to win games like this."
USF's Dominique Jones was 6-9 in the second half for 22 of his game high 29 points, but the unsung hero was guard Mike Mercer: 0-4 at halftime, he was 5-5 in the second. The Georgetown numbers in the second half were uniformly poor, shooting 36% and 0-6 from three until the final minute. Chris Wright continued his season long paradox--the Hoyas are 15-0 when he scores 10 or more points, 1-5 when below ten: Wright was 0-6 from three point range, 3-10 on the game, and finished with eight. Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe each had 21, but Monroe was ineffective in the second half and did not collect a single rebound after halftime.
"We've never beat anyone with this magnitude on the road," said South Florida coach Stan Heath. "Pittsburgh was good but obviously Georgetown is ranked higher and at the same time we beat Marquette last year... at our place. We never won a game like this on the road and our confidence has been growing and we won some games on the road but this one is a huge jump on the radar screen. There will be a lot of happy people in Tampa. There will be a lot of people that are really shocked and all we are trying to do is keep going through the journey and doing the best job we can and grow as players and people."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 39 3-4 0-6 2-4 1 5 1 8 Freeman 36 3-7 4-4 3-5 2 1 4 21 Clark 38 1-2 1-4 2-2 6 1 2 7 Vaughn 23 2-5 0-0 1-4 6 0 4 5 Monroe 35 9-13 0-1 3-7 8 1 5 21 Reserves: Thompson 10 1-3 0-1 0-0 4 2 3 2 Sanford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Benimon 19 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 0 DNP: Dougherty, Stepka, Sims Team Rebounds 1 TOTALS 200 19-34 5-16 11-22 28 10 21 64
Post game articles follow below.
After a split with Syracuse and Duke, Georgetown is ranked 7th in the Monday Associated Press poll, with no change from last week.
Other conference teams in the Top 25 include Villanova (2), Syracuse (3), West Virginia (6), and Pittsburgh (22).
Also of note: Georgetown is 18th in the AP women's basketball poll, down from 17th last week. Other conference teams in the Top 25 include Connecticut (1), Notre Dame (3), West Virginia (11), and St. John's (25).
A column by Howard Megdal at SNY.tv supports the claim that the Big East hasn't dropped off much since last season, and in fact may be even stronger relative to other conferences.
"Of the top 60 teams in the RPI, 11 are Big East teams," Megdal writes. Although it is true that the Big East has more teams than any other conference, it also means their schedule has all of the challenges of a deep league with few of the advantages opponent familiarity can bring. By comparison, in the top 60, the ACC has six teams. The Big Ten has five."
As noted during Saturday's game, students from Georgetown and Duke are each seeking to raise $57,500 to assist two schools in eastern Chad which serves refugees from Darfur. To help in this effort, please visit http://www.darfurdreamteam.org.
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