At the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence yesterday, in the second meeting of the two teams this season, the Georgetown Hoyas were in, then out, now back in the hole again. Jack doesn’t know which end is up and can you blame him? After falling behind yesterday by as many as 26 points in the first half, the Hoyas were down by 20 at the half. It was looking quite dismal, even with a full 20 minutes remaining.
Then again, as they have done before, the Hoyas (14-12 overall and 7-6 in conference) clawed (or pawed?) back into the game until they were left with a chance to tie the game it at the line when sophomore Isaac Copeland was fouled on a 3-point attempt with a little over a minute to go. Making 2 of 3, the Hoyas then fouled Friar big man Ben Bentil, who made both free throws. With 9 seconds left, enough time for most teams to get a good shot off (and Copeland free in the corner), the final shot of the game was a desperation 3-point shot from the right by senior captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera that fell far short of the hoop.
The lack of inspired play throughout the first half and the final series at the end of the game were emblematic of the Hoyas entire 14-12 season thus far. With five games to play in the regular season, 2 against teams currently ranked in the Top 10 (Villanova #1 and Xavier #5), 1 slated for a ticket to the Big Dance (Seton Hall), another looking to avenge an early season loss to the Hoyas (Marquette) and Butler, not yet eliminated from post-season consideration, the Hoyas NCAA post-season chances hinge on the unlikely scenario of a run to the title in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square in early March. And if you do the math, the Hoyas have to go at least 2-3 to stay above .500 before the conference tournament.
While the Hoyas should be proud of the comeback effort, a team with this much talent should never find itself so far behind. Senior captain DSR scored his first– and only — points of the game when he hit a three from the corner with 2:42 left, to get the Hoyas within 3 at 70-67. Sophomore Trey Mourning, who should be seeing a lot more playing time in the remaining games, then hit a three-point shot to narrow the gap to 71-70 with a minute left. Providence’s “other threat” Rodney Bullock hit a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to regain a 3-point lead, 73-70. That’s when Copeland was fouled with a chance to tie the game.
The bottom line is that the Hoyas have not been able to find a way to win in close games this season with the exception of the home victory over Creighton.
While the Hoyas faltered, Providence found its answer to a 3-game skid against Georgetown by improving to 19-7 and 7-6 in league play. Bullock had 23 points and 10 rebounds, super guard Kris Dunn added 20 points, and Bentil finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to help the Friars end a losing streak that started with a loss to DePaul.
The First Half: Providential Domination: The Friars connected on over 51% of their field goals and Bullock scored 18 points as the Hoyas fell behind 49-29. A layup from Mourning cut the Providence lead to 13-9 at 14:01, then the Hoyas experienced a 7-minute drought without a field goal.
The End of A Career? The Hoyas announced just prior to the game that they would play without senior center Bradley Hayes, who is out indefinitely after breaking his left hand in practice on Thursday. Fourth on the Hoyas in scoring (8.5 points ppg) and leading rebounder (6.8 rpg), this is a huge loss for the Hoyas despite the talent among the underclassmen.
A Positive Spin–A Prominent Future Unveiled? Freshman forward Marcus Derrickson scored 18 points, had nine rebounds and five assists to lead the Hoyas, while sophomore guard L.J. Peak finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Freshman center Jessie Govan made his first career start, scoring 13 points before he fouled out, a problem for Govan (and in all fairness, the team) all season. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland scored 12 and sophomore forward Trey Mourning added 10 points and five rebounds. This team is Georgetown’s future and in this blogger’s opinion, Mourning should see increasing time as this season winds down for his experience and more importantly, to increase the team’s chances to win.
The Prominent Lesson: Avoid 26 Point Deficits–because even the tremendous effort by the Hoyas in the second half could not overcome that gap.
Continuing Problems for Georgetown:
- Poor Offensive Effort: The Hoyas shot 25 % in the first half (9 for 28) and included within that half, a 7-minute drought without a field goal. For the game the Hoyas shot 43% from the field and 28% from 3 (8 for 28), while Providence shot 44% from the field and 37% from 3 point range (6 for 16).
- A Vanishing Defense: Allowing Providence 49 points in the same half and over 50% shooting for the game.
- Turnovers: Yesterday the Friars had 11 to the Hoyas 9 turnovers, a deviation from the norm.
- Free Throw Disparity: 36 attempts for the Friars, 16 for the Hoyas on 25 Hoya personal fouls.
- Rebounding Edge: To the Friars, 36-28.
- Leadership Vacuum: This is my greatest question, as one senior leader is now down for the season and the other scored only 3 points in a Must Win Game and he did little else in 33 minutes.
These problems unlikely will not be addressed or resolved in the remaining 5 games, conference tournament and any potential NIT post-season, if applicable. However, they are problems that need to be addressed for the program and team before next season as frustration grows among the fan base and alumni–See Hoya blogs and social media.
Next Up for the Hoyas:
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Hoyas host hosting Seton Hall at Verizon Center in a 9:15 pm Tipoff.