X marks the spot. Was a film and marketing campaign. This season it could refer to the team–Xavier–that has the Hoyas’ number. If there is another meeting in the Big East tournament, will Coach JT3 and his team be able to crack the X Code?
Xavier knows how to kick a team down after it rises. Both times the Hoyas entered the Top 25, the last week in December 2014 and this week, the Hoyas faced Xavier. Does this loss represent a letdown after a string of good victories (DePaul on the road, Marquette and Villanova at home) or does it represent a problem that has plagued the Hoyas in the past, inconsistency? Xavier also added insult to injury by knocking the Hoyas out of first place in the Big East. Hoya fans everywhere hope it is an aberration and that Georgetown will get its groove back this weekend at Creighton.
Simply stated, on Tuesday night the Hoyas played their worst and ugliest game of the season before a half-full arena. (Sixth Man, where art thou?) After having lost ugly in Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve, you might think the tape of that game was analyzed up, down and inside out. None of that mattered as the Musketeers held the newly annointed No. 21 Georgetown without a field goal for more than 11 minutes in the first half Tuesday night in a 66-53 victory. Xavier’s Myles Davis scored 19 points in only his third start of the season. Davis hit consecutive 3-pointers in an 18-4 run in which Xavier totally shut down the Hoyas. Apart from Aaron Bowen’s layup with 11:17 remaining in the first half, the Hoyas didn’t score another field goal until Isaac Copeland’s mid-range buzzer-beater, leaving the Hoyas with 16 first-half points. The score was 29-16 at halftime.
How Ugly Was It? The Hoyas shot 39% from the field, 27% from the arc and 52% (13 for 24) from he foul line. Xavier shot 78% from the charity stripe and 41% from 3. The Hoyas committed 17 turnovers and had only 9 assists, to the Musketeers 11 and 14, respectively. While the Hoyas improved in the second half, it was too little too late. Georgetown got as close as seven late in the second half, but again couldn’t find the hoop for long stretches. Xavier (14-7, 5-4 Big East) thus snapped its five-game road losing streak.
There is no ProminentPlayer or ProminentPlay to hold up for this game unless we are talking about Xavier’s Davis or big man Matt Stainbrook, who finished with 12 points. Hopkins was scoreless in 26 minutes, 0 for 2 from the free throw line. Smith too went 4 for 9 from the line, and Copeland just never got his game going, finishing with 5 points. While DSR scored 13, this is far too little production from the player who the Hoyas must rely on for point production and consistency. Senior Jabril Trawick had an uncharacteristic 6 turnovers. No one Hoya player with the passion, confidence or leadership required of a perennial 25 power emerged, which is why it seems that the Hoyas slip in and out of the rankings rather than remain for long periods. A nod to LJ Peak who scored 12 points off the bench in 10 minutes of play.
Give some credit to Xavier’s defense, yes, but answers must be found to break traps and move the ball and crack the X Code.
Next up for Georgetown (14-6, 6-3 Big East): the Creighton Blue Jays, the only Big East team with an overall losing record (10-12, 1-8) on Saturday in Omaha, “somewhere in middle America” (Counting Crows) Creighton is no longer winless in the Big East, having beaten St. John’s at home , 77-74, in it last game.