Don’t look too long at this logo or if a Hoya fan, you may grow increasingly angry. X marks the spot, and the Hoyas cannot seem to crack the X Code. The third time was not the charm, even though Hoya faithful filled Madison Square Garden ready to hunker down for another night in any hotel room or on any floor to see their team play in the final. It was not to be in 2015.
On Friday night, 3/11, in the BIG EAST Semifinals, the Hoyas mounted a furious comeback in the final seven minutes of the second half after floundering offensively for much of the game. They came up short, too little too late, dropping this third season meeting by 2 points, 65-63. There are two ways to view the game, (The Negative View) as one in which the team was out of sync, could not find the hoop or an answer, yet again, for Matt Stainbrook and his Musketeers; OR the Hoyas fell behind and fought valiantly but came up short in the final seconds in what could have been one of the Great Comebacks of All Time in the BET (The Positive View). Ultimately Villanova disposed of the X-Men and their muskets.
Actually, this blogger’s perspective falls squarely in the middle of these views and acknowledges that the Hoya offense was anemic and the team put forward one of its worst efforts of the season for nearly 3/4 of the game; on the other hand, even I, who had given up (rarely do), was buoyed by the great effort of the team late in the second half which almost led to a comeback for the ages. It started with a scrum involving none other than the senior Philly Phenom himself, Jabril Trawick, who endured a push from a Musketeer (Jalen Reynolds) and tempers flared. The Hoyas for once were rewarded with free throws from the assessed fouls and the comeback began and the momentum swung towards Georgetown. Owe every bit of fight in the comeback effort to Jabril. the Co–ProminentPlayer of the Game, who finished with 19 points, and was a significant 10 for 12 from the free throw line. Trawick was one of the only Hoyas who played with the requisite intensity and urgency the stage the Comeback.
With Trawick, freshman Isaac Copeland, other Co-ProminentPlayer of the Game, showed why his stock is rising and why he will be a leader for the Hoyas when he scored 15 critical points to assist in the comeback. The Hoyas will need Copeland and all Freshmen to step up in the tourney if they are going to make a run. Fortunately, several freshmen have seen many minutes this season, including Peak and Copeland, now starters, and Paul White and recently, Tre Campbell, who is emerging as the team’s true point guard and one who may be capable of adding real firepower and critical ball handling in the NCAA Tournament.
DSR struggled again against Xavier (11 points, 3 TOs, 4 fouls) as well as Josh Smith (10 points, 4 fouls), while starting strong, soon found his usual place on the pine where he watched his team falter over the course of the the first half and well into the second half. Too little and too late overall from the Hoyas, despite a comeback attempt that could have been one for the Big East history books.
Lessons Learned from BET:
1. DSR will not on his talent and scoring alone lead the Hoyas into the post-season. Nor will Josh Smith, who has rarely scored more than 10 or 12 points this season, largely because he spends at least half of each game on the bench in foul trouble. A winning formula for the Hoyas will require a team effort and one that involves better ball control, better shot selection, consistent D and importantly, the confidence that has eluded the team in the recent past post seasons. No doubt the talent is there, 21 wins don’t happen without talent in this conference and in games, Ws and Ls, against some of the best teams in the country, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Villanova, Butler (4-4).
2. A Sense of Urgency. Even as the Xavier lead ballooned to 21, the Hoyas played nonchalantly, as if they had forever to come back. Well, last I looked there are 20 minute halves and the first goal is to avoid the situation, falling so deep into a hole; and the second goal is to play with a sense of urgency, which seemed to be lacking in the team until Trawick and Copeland ignited the spark. The only way the Hoyas make a run into March is a team effort with a Sense of Urgency. No one player can carry this team, and everyone must play like every possession counts, because you know what? It does!
It’s 2 hours from the Selection Show and I will be there with the Team, Students, Alumni and Fans in Leo’s as we await Georgetown’s placement in the Big Dance. A likely 6 seed at this point, the future will unfold as it will and our first opponent and game location will be revealed then Coach and the Team get back to work. Hoya fans everywhere are hoping for a run, which means a win followed by another win etc. However, all that matters now is that first game in what I believe the Committee still now calls the “Second Round” game in the round of 64. Senseless nomenclature.
Whatever happens in March, this is my ProminentPlayer of the Season. Jabril Trawick #55 is the heart, soul and spirit of the Hoyas, and anyone who does not see this young man’s value to the team and overall promise hasn’t been watching. DSR is Georgetown’s steady point guard who scores buckets of points at times, Mikael is the Great Defender, Josh plays well when he plays and is unstoppable if and when he gets the ball where he needs it. LJ Peak is a promising freshman starter who is still finding his game, and Isaac Copeland already looks like the special player and great shooter we thought he’d be. Aaron Bowen is the player I will miss most on the court just because I love his athleticism and effort and makes big plays, often highlight reel worthy, when we need them. Tre Campbell and Paul White are contributing to the team and every player on the bench, Reggie Cameron, David Allen, Riyan Williams and Trey Mourning, are present and future Hoya contributors and the reason this team has earned the right to play on. A special thanks to Tyler Adams and his coaching contributions and constant encouragement to his teammates. However, Jabril takes the ProminentPlayer Award for all that he brings to every minute of every game, the sense of urgency, toughness and improvement to his game that only comes through incredible hard work.
Go Hoyas! We Are _______________!