In the final of the 2K Classic, after beating the new-look Wisconsin Badgers soundly, 71-61, the Hoyas (1-3) took the defending national champions then No. 5 team in the nation Duke Blue Devils (3-1) to the brink, only to come up short in an 86-84 loss at Madison Square Garden. As the Badgers have a new look, Duke too, in its One and Done (or dismissed?) state, now features sophomore guard Grayson Allen as its leader and Allen was unstoppable and consistent (32 points, 16 each half) when it mattered to lead his team to victory.
The Hoyas had their chances, leading 35-27 with 4:11 to go in the first half. Hoya freshmen guard/forward Kaleb Johnson closed out the first half by sinking a half-court shot to give the Hoyas a 47-42 lead. In the first half the Hoyas shot 57 percent from the field, while the Blue Devils also shot well (50%).
Duke, as it often does as a perennial Top 10 team, bounced back with a series of second half runs to seal the win. The Hoyas extended the lead to 49-41 on senior center and co-captain Bradley Hayes’s shot but then Duke went into overdrive, going on an 8-0 run to lead by 1. After a pair of free throws by sophomore guard L.J. Peak, the Blue Devils went on another 10-0 run, and led by 63-54 with just under 14 minutes remaining in the half.
Credit the Hoyas to never say die, and Kaleb Johnson ended the Hoyas’ scoring drought with an easy layup into a 7-0 run, pulling Georgetown to within three at 64-61 with 9:28 left. In the final 5 minutes of play, the Hoyas made it interesting as it tasted the upset but couldn’t quite achieve the peak. Suffering on the defensive boards and allowing the Dukies second chance shots, Georgetown couldn’t close out the contest for an upset and will have to wait another day to beat a Top 10 team and show that it belongs in a discussion of the best teams in the nation.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I will start with what the Hoyas should be thankful for:
- ProminentPlayer of the Game, sensational Sir Isaac Copeland, who nearly tied the game at the final buzzer and showed why he is likely the Breakout Player of the Season for the Hoyas. Copeland led all Georgetown scorers with 21 points and finished 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
- A Ton of Young Talent: We have already seen each freshman have his day, and against Duke, Kaleb Johnson flashed some of what we expect to see from him, as both Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson have shown in prior games. Add that talent to that of Peak and Copeland, and hopefully soon a healthy Paul White and Tre Campbell, and you can see what excites all Hoya fans. We have a feeling that Trey Mourning will soon have his breakout game.
- Senior Leaders DSR and Bradley Hayes: While DSR has been struggling with his shot and Hayes had two strong games followed by two weak ones, we expect that these leaders and co-captains will steer the ship of young talent.
Not to cast any negativity, but what the Hoyas should worry about:
- The Inability to Close Out Winnable Games: Exhibit A, Maryland; Exhibit B, Duke.
- The Inability to Get Up for Non-Ranked or Lesser Teams: Exhibit A, Radford University.
What I wish for for the Team on this Day is some great turkey and a heavy side of SWAG, that is, similar to the Hoya SWAG of the ’80s and ’90s. Gotta raise the SWAG meter this season.
Last night the Harvard Crimson crushed the Bryant Bulldogs–the Hoyas next opponent on Saturday, 11/28–by the score of 80-45.
Happy Thanksgiving to All and Thanks for Reading and Following Laura’s Prominent Play!