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Georgetown Basketball: January 2009 News Archive

Marquette 94, Georgetown 82 1/31/09 11:00 pm

"We're old!"--Marquette's Wesley Matthews on the Warriors' starting five (447 career starts between them)

Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal, and Lazar Hayward combined for 72 points as the #8-ranked Marquette Warriors sent Georgetown to its fifth straight loss, 94-48, before a sold out Bradley Center Saturday.

Georgetown needed to avoid the slow starts that had plagued it in each of its four prior losses, and got an early boost from junior forward Dajuan Summers. Summers, questionable for Saturday's game from a foot injury suffered against Cincinnati, scored the Hoyas' first eight points as GU led 8-2. Marquette, led by a core of veteran talent in Matthews, McNeal, Hayward, and senior Dominic James, began to push the Hoyas but Georgetown responded with an unlikely weapon: the three point shot. Georgetown hit five of its first six shots from there point range, opening a 21-11 lead with 12:43 in the half. Opting for a small lineup that contained no player taller than 6-5, Marquette coach Buzz Williams picked up the pace, and Georgetown picked up the fouls.

The Warriors went 3 for 4 with four foul shots over a run which saw them narrow the Georgetown lead to three at the eight minute mark. The Hoyas were shooting at a blistering 64 percent rate, but Marquette was not far behind at 57 percent, picking up free throws as Georgetown settled into the bonus. Marquette took two brief leads in the half, only to see Georgetown beat back the challenge: a three pointer by Austin Freeman at the 6:23 mark and a Greg Monroe layup with 3:41 left. Georgetown led by three entering the final minute of the half when a Lazar Hayward three with 42 seconds tied the score, and the teams went to intermission at 42-all.

For an underdog, Georgetown's efforts were exemplary: 65% shooting, 6-8 from three point range, and 15 assists in 17 field goals. That an effort like that only netted a tie was a recognition of just how good Marquette was, and just how much more would be needed in the second half.

The key to Marquette's second half effort was Wesley Matthews. Held to just four points at the break, he would score 19 in the second half, giving the Warriors leads at 45-44 and 52-50, the latter on a three point shot with 15:15 to play. Georgetown answered with a Nikita Mescheriakov downcourt pass to Jason Clark to tie the score at 52-all, but the Warriors pulled ahead with a 7-0 run in the next 1:43 that Georgetown could not overcome.

Marquette picked up a Hayward jumper, 54-52, and after Matthews had missed on a long three pointer, reserve Jimmy Butler snagged the offensive rebound which set up McNeal for a three, 57-52. A backcourt turnover by Greg Monroe set up Matthews for a dunk, 59-52. The Hoyas closed to five, 59-54, but would not get closer thereafter.

Three pointers by Georgetown, matching the combined total in three prior games

Most points allowed by a John Thompson III coached team, whether Princeton or Georgetown

Times in its final 20 possessions where Marquette scored one or more points

More free throws attempted for Marquette than Georgetown

Second chance point advantage for Georgetown in the first half

Second chance point advantage for Marquette in the second half

Last game where Georgetown gave up 22 or more points by three different players (4 OT game versus Notre Dame)

Matthews keyed two runs with his hot shooting--a three at the 8:10 mark extended the lead to 13, 71-58, and after a volley of foul shots he pushed the lad to 14, 78-64 with 5:28 to play. From that point, the Warriors needed only two baskets down the stretch, going 11-14 from the line to seal the victory. In contrast to the late game meltdowns that had hurt the Hoyas earlier in the week, Georgetown's shooting was encouraging, hitting six of its final nine shots in the last four minutes, including three three pointers, but Marquette used the foul line as a firewall to the Hoyas' renewed offense. MU took 38 free throws in the game, connecting on 30, compared to just 8-13 for the Hoyas.

Summers led all Georgetown scorers with 22, with 19 from Chris Wright and 13 from Greg Monroe. Sophomore Nikita Mescheriakov continued his improving play, picking up five points and two steals before fouling out. For the game, Georgetown shot 56 percent from the field, an even 50 percent from three, and 23 assists, but its 17 turnovers and the relentless work of Marquette's big three proved too much to overcome.

The loss sent Georgetown to an uncomfortable 12th place in the standings at the halfway point of the Big East race. Firmly out of the top 25, Georgetown looks to two home games this week as a chance to help rebuild a season aground on the rocks of the toughest conference in the league. Three weeks from now, when Marquette returns the game at Verizon Center on Feb. 21, Georgetown can only hope to be in a position to be a competitor, not a spoiler, against the Warriors, who have now won 15 straight and have set their sights on a double bye in the Big East tournament.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       30   6-7   1-3   4-4   2   8  4   19
Sapp         25   1-4   1-3   0-0   3   3  4    5
Freeman      29   3-7   2-4   0-0   5   3  2   12
Summers      36   5-8   4-4   0-1   7   3  1   22
Monroe       31   5-7   0-0   3-5   4   2  4   13
Mescheriakov 20   1-1   1-2   0-0   2   2  5    5
Clark        14   1-3   1-2   1-2   1   1  3    6
Vaughn        4   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  2    0
Sims          4   0-0   0-0   0-1   0   0  0    0
Wattad        7   0-0   0-2   0-0   2   1  2    0
DNP: Jansen
Team Rebounds                       3
TOTALS      200 22-37 10-20  8-13  29  23 27   82

Post-game links follow below. Only one of the three Washington dailies filed a staff report on the game.

Alumnus Becomes Illinois Governor 1/30/09

Forty years ago today, Pat Quinn (F'71) was the sports editor of The HOYA, probably getting ready for the coverage of the Hoyas' game at Fairleigh Dickinson that evening. Today, he's the governor of Illinois.

Gov. Quinn was sworn in Thursday night following a stunning 59-0 vote by the Illinois state senate to remove from office its impeached governor, Rod Blagojevich. The new governor is now one of three Georgetown alumni currently serving as state governors, along with New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (L'78) and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (L'79). (Puerto Rico's Governor, Luis Fortuño (F'82), is also an alumnus.)

Shooting Averages Slumping 1/30/09

The difference in shooting averages for the Georgetown starting five is more than surprising--and one reason the Hoyas are staring at a four game losing streak.

Here's a comparison of field goal shooting over the last four games versus season-wide averages:

Duke WV Hall UC 4 Games Season Avg
Wright 1-6 5-8 2-10 7-12 41.6% 49.7%
Sapp 0-2 1-2 3-8 0-3 26.7% 35.5%
Freeman 7-13 1-6 1-9 4-12 30.0% 48.2%
Summers 7-12 4-14 1-8 3-5 38.4% 50.3%
Monroe 6-7 4-10 6-7 4-11 57.1% 55.8%
1989 LSU Game Remembered 1/30/09

Twenty years ago this weekend, Georgetown and Louisiana State held a memorable game in New Orleans, drawing the largest crowd to have ever seen an in-season college game to date. A last second basket gave the Tigers an 82-80 win before a paid crowd of 66,144 at the Louisiana Superdome and prevented #2 Georgetown from moving to the #1 position after top ranked Illinois lost that weekend. Here's a review of the game at this link to LSUSports.net.

Cincinnati 65, Georgetown 57 1/29/09

"OK, Georgetown isn't quite Georgetown. The Hoyas are short on experience. Their standard-issue, 6-foot-11, shot-blocking center is a freshman who air-balled a 3-point attempt from the key. They were picked to finish seventh in the league. Wednesday night, leading scorer DaJuan Summers hurt an ankle and played just 13 minutes. But the shirts still say Georgetown on them."--Cincinnati Enquirer

Sooner or later, youth begets experience. Sometimes, not soon enough.

The Cincinnati Bearcats scored 11 of the final 13 points of the game in a 65-57 win over the Georgetown Hoyas at Fifth Third Arena Wednesday night. Georgetown suffered its fourth straight loss for the first time since 2005 and find themselves out of the top 25 and the bottom six of the Big East conference heading into February. It was the first win by the Bearcats over the Hoyas since UC entered the Big East conference.

No team led by more than five points for most of the game. Georgetown trailed early, 7-2, but went on a 16-7 run worked to take the lead at 18-14. Georgetown's led by as many as three, 20-17, but fell victim to many of the same symptoms which have kept the team in the deep freeze through much of the month: turnovers, poor shooting options, and weak defense. Georgetown managed just two field goals in the final 8:03 of the half, as UC went on a 10-3 run late and saw Dajuan Summers leave the game with 4:22 to play with an injury from which he did not return Three pointers from Omar Wattad and Nikita Mescheriakov closed the gap to 27-26 at the break, but Georgetown's 35 percent shooting and allowing 50 percent to UC were signs of more trouble ahead.

The second half opened much like the first, with the Hoyas falling behind early, battling back to tie the score at 35 with an Austin freeman three at the 16:26 mark, 35-all. Georgetown opened the half shooting 7-11 and took a 43-42 lead with under 12 minutes to play, but settled in for another rough ending, hitting just 5 of 16 thereafter and 1 of 8 from three after Freeman's three pointer at the 16:26 mark.

The Bearcats made an move to separate themselves at the 8:15 mark, as reserve Deon Dixon keyed a 7-2 run that gave the bearcats a 54-49 lead. A basket and foul by Austin Freeman and a three pointer by Jason Clark (the only three in the last 16:26) gave the Hoyas a 55-54 lead with 4:41 to play, but Dixon answered with a big three that swung momentum back to the homestanding Bearcats and the Hoyas never recovered. Georgetown missed four three point attempts in the final three minutes as UC went 6-8 from the foul line to pull away.

Missed layups by Georgetown

Second half field goals by GU players other than Chris Wright and Austin Freeman

Bench scoring advantage by Cincinnati

Three point shooting by Georgetown vs. UC

Three point shooting by Georgetown, last four games

Chris Wright and Austin Freeman led all Georgetown scorers with 15 and 14 respectively: the two scored 20 of Georgetown's 31 second half points. Greg Monroe finished with 10 points but missed 7 of 11 attempts, and Jessie Sapp was scoreless, playing only six minutes in the second half. Nikita Mescheriakov filled in for Summers most of the game after the injury, finishing with seven rebounds and two points in 25 minutes after having played in just seven minutes of Big East action in the prior seven games.

Summers' first half injury was not disclosed.

Georgetown's problems remain evident: a lack of late-game leadership, consistently poor outside shooting, inconsistent guard play, and a lack of defense against an opponent's leading scorer. It was accustomed that the Hoyas always had a go-to guy in late game situations: Hibbert in the post, Ewing on the wing, Wallace when they needed that one big shot. This season's Hoyas have none of the three, and suffer mightily in comparison.

The Hoyas have posted its most losses in a January in ten seasons, and end the month at Marquette, where the Warriors are undefeated in Big East play with a 7-0 mark and 18-2 overall. With Sapp's January slide unabated and an uncertain prognosis on Summers, Georgetown could be dealing with an all freshman and sophomore lineup for key stretches Saturday.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       37   6-9   1-3   0-0   2   1  1   15
Sapp         18   0-2   0-1   0-0   1   2  3    0
Freeman      33   3-8   1-4   5-5   6   1  3   14
Summers      13   3-4   0-1   1-1   2   0  1    7
Monroe       35   4-10  0-1   2-4   8   3  2   10
Mescheriakov 25   0-2   1-4   0-0   7   1  3    3
Clark        20   0-1   1-2   0-0   1   2  3    3
Vaughn        5   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sims          3   1-1   0-0   0-0   1   0  2    3
Wattad       11   0-1   1-1   0-0   1   0  0    2
DNP: Jansen
Team Rebounds                       1
TOTALS      200 17-38  5-17  8-10  29  10 18   57

Additional links follow below.

Seton Hall 65, Georgetown 60 1/26/09

That was no blip.

Seton Hall exposed the Georgetown Hoyas' poor shooting in a 65-60 win today at Newark's Prudential Center, in one of the weakest overall performances in John Thompson III's five seasons at the Hilltop.

The seeds for a groaner were in evidence early--the two teams combined for four turnovers in the first two minutes and missed nine of its first 11 shots. By the 14:00 mark, Georgetown shot only 3-9 from the field and committed six turnovers, trailing 12-9. The Hoyas then began a run of improved defense and better shot selection that led it on a 14-4 run to take a 27-20 lead with 1:11 in the half, but proceeded to give up three baskets before the half to lead 27-26. The two teams combined to shoot an abysmal 1-21 from three point range in the first twenty minutes.

Seton Hall has had a bad habit of players this season of running out of depth in games, and it looked to happen again, when big men John Garcia and Mike Davis each picked up their fourth foul within 50 seconds of each other, Garcia's coming on a hard foul on Dajuan Summers and a subsequent technical foul after the play. A Jessie Sapp three at the 16:30 mark gave Georgetown a seven point lead and Greg Monroe basket at the 15:50 mark extended the mark to 40-31, which appeared to put the Hoyas in good stead. Instead, it would be the last basket scored by Georgetown for the next nine minutes, as a combination of an improved Seton Hall defense, numerous Georgetown turnovers, and astoundingly poor outside shooting drove this game right off the track.

With neither team shooting well, the two teams engaged in a battle at the free throw line for the next three minutes, owing that Seton Hall had not made a three all afternoon and had no options inside. Struggling from outside (0-11 from, three) Jeremy Hazell began to assert himself to the basket: his drive and foul gave the Hall a 47-46 lead at the 10:06 mark.

Greg Monroe's basket at the 6:25 mark ended Georgetown's field goal drought and tied the score at 50-all, and he accounted for the next six points to get the Hoyas to a 56-55 lead with 4:20 to play, only to see the Hoyas give up cheap fouls inside and struggle to set up the ball, with a pair of shot clock violations and two others averted by ill-advised threes .

Georgetown had stayed alive in this game at the line, making 15 straight, and Monroe was a big part of the run. Monroe went to the line with 1:37 left, down three at 61-58, and was bumped approaching the line by a Seton Hall player trying to rattle him. The result? Monroe missed both shots.

Field goals for Georgetown.

Turnovers for Georgetown.

Points off GU turnovers converted by Seton Hall

Fast break points,
Seton Hall.

Fast break points, Georgetown.

Second half shooting by Greg Monroe and Jessie Sapp

Second half shooting by starters Austin Freeman, Dajuan Summers, and Chris Wright

Number of games since Seton Hall was last held scoreless from three point range

Georgetown's record in January 2008.

Georgetown's record to date in January 2009.

A pair of free throws by Dajuan Summers brought Georgetown back to 61-60 at the 1:30 mark, and after the Hoyas held the Pirates with under a minute to go, the Hoyas were one inside play away from the lead. Instead, Austin Freeman failed to look inside but shot a woeful three pointer that caromed off the side of the backboard, a turnover by any other definition and the last of a 1-9 shooting effort that ranks among the poorest of his career. On the ensuing Pirate possession, Hazell was fouled and hit one of two, 62-60, only to see the Hoyas jack up another bad three by Summers with 0:24 to play. Once again the Hall made one of two, and once again Georgetown ignored Greg Monroe, as a Jessie Sapp three with 0:10 was an airball. A fourth jumper also resulted in an airball, but this time it was with the Hall in possession of its first Big East win of the season and the first win of any kind over Georgetown since an even more embarrassing game in February 2004.

The two teams combined to miss an astounding 32 of 35 three point shots, although Seton Hall had the good sense to stay off the three point line (0-3) in the second half. Not so for Georgetown, which took ten three point attempts in the final 11 minutes of the game and missed them all. Outside of Monroe (6-7 FG) and Sapp (3-8), the rest of the Georgetown team shot 8 for 37 (.216), a number which has now landed them in 10th place in the Big East and a likely exit from the top 25.

After dismissing the West Virginia loss as an aberration, Georgetown coach John Thompson III was upfront: "We’re in a hole, we’re in a rut, we’re in a bad situation right now," he said. "We've got to figure out collectively, everyone in that locker room, how to get out of it.”

"The last two minutes there, and I don’t know exactly how many, I think all we took was threes and that was not the plan.”

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       36   2-7   0-3   7-7   2   3  3   11
Sapp         36   1-3   2-5   0-0   9   4  3    8
Freeman      26   1-6   0-3   2-2   4   1  4    4
Summers      31   0-2   1-6  9-11   6   0  3   12
Monroe       33   6-7   0-0   5-7   7   0  2   17
Mescheriakov  4   1-1   0-1   0-0   0   0  0    2
Clark        13   0-0   0-1   0-0   1   1  1    0
Vaughn        7   2-2   0-0   0-0   1   0  2    4
Wattad       14   1-2   0-3   0-0   4   2  4    2
DNP: Jansen, Sims
Team Rebounds                       6
TOTALS      200 14-30  3-22 23-27  40  10 22   60

Additional links follow below.

West Virginia 75, Georgetown 58 1/23/09

"Today was a blip. Today is not the norm."--John Thompson III

Needing a big road win, West Virginia recovered from an early 9-2 deficit to upset the Georgetown Hoyas, 75-58, before 12,875 at Verizon Center.

Adding insult to injury is how Georgetown actually led this game early. Georgetown opened an early 9-2 lead on the Mountaineers, holding WVU to 1-9 shooting in the first four minutes. WVU righted the ship via the hot hand of DaSean Butler, who scored 10 of the Mountaineer's next 12 in a 12-2 run over the next four minutes. Georgetown lost much of its early focus, giving up three turnovers in 32 seconds and five overall, managing just one shot. The Hoyas kept it close through much of the first half in spite of nonexistent scoring by its top three scorers entering the game. Dajuan Summers, Greg Monroe, and Austin Freeman were no better than 4-14 in the half, and defensive miscues on guarding Butler allowed WVU to maintain a slight lead.

With 5:00 left in the half, the game was tied, but WVU began to work the boards and GU did not respond. Reserve forward John Flowers keyed a 9-0 WVU run to extend its lead to 31-22, as Georgetown missed three three point attempts, two foul shots, and allowed two of its 11 first half turnovers. A pair of WVU turnovers allowed the Hoyas to close to five at the half, 31-26. Georgetown had as many field goals as turnovers (11), missed 6 of 7 three point attempts, and gave up 15 points to Butler.

Georgetown had benefited in the first half by Alex Ruoff going 0-4 before intermission. Ruoff served notice that he was ready to play in the second, opening the half with a layup and tightening a WVU defense that had allowed GU to shoot 10-17 from two point range. Georgetown closed to 33-30 and 37-33 before errant three point shooting led to easy baskets on WVU's end and the lead was up to nine at the 15:09 mark. For Georgetown, Summers and Monroe had rediscovered their shots, accounting for the first nine points of the half, but the guards drifted into a fog. Its guards did not adjust to WVU coach Bob Huggins' offensive sets, leaving GU noticeably out of place on Mountaineer three point attempts. The Mountaineers could only connect on 8-23 for the game, but they were open more often than not.

West Virginia fell into the turnover trap early in the half, allowing the Hoyas more opportunities to work into the lead. A pair of inside drives by Monroe and an Omar Wattad layup brought the Hoyas within two at 45-43 with 11:49 to play.

Missed layups by Georgetown.

Missed free throws by Georgetown (16-25)

Second chance points by West Virginia

Second half field goals by GU players other than Greg Monroe or Dajuan Summers

Last three point field goal by Georgetown, then down four.

Three point goals by Georgetown in the game

Yet despite its success inside with Monroe, the Hoyas reverted to a style of ill advised threes last seen in the days of Tony Bethel and Drew Hall. Trailing by just two, Chris Wright, Jason Clark and Austin Freeman each settled for threes, which failed to drop, and Butler and Devin Ebanks pressed the lead back to six, 49-43. The lowest ranked defensive rebounding team in the conference began to own the boards, with WVU picking up six in a four minute swing which saw Butler and Ruoff shatter Georgetown's defenses for open looks and a ten point lead with 7:26 to play.

Georgetown was running out of time and its execution served them no good. The Hoyas had no outside shot and while Monroe could get points inside, key misses at the free throw line seemed to spell the end of Georgetown's heart in this one. Down 59-52 with 4:59 to play, Georgetown missed four of six free throws and seven of nine field goal attempts down the stretch, answered by WVU in the form of open jumpers, second chance points, and dunks. Georgetown did not have an assist in the final 6:54 of the game.

Georgetown shot a dismal 2-16 from outside the arc, a season low. Worse than the bad shooting was a dispirited defense which saw the Mountaineers shoot 58 percent in the second half and collect 22 points in the paint. Georgetown was outrebounded 22-15 in the second half, with only six defensive rebounds in the half compared to eight offensive rebounds for the Mountaineers. The Hoyas finished with 20 baskets against 19 turnovers, allowing 34 points in the paint and a 7 for 9 effort inside by Butler, who finished with 27 points and eight rebounds.

"It's surprising we lost the game," said sophomore Chris Wright in post-gamed comments. "We just got to move on to the next game. I understand it wasn't a great game for us offensively or defensively. They made shots, they made plays; we didn't."

"Our poor defensive effort was a function of us getting frustrated about the ball not going in," said coach John Thompson III, who has seen Georgetown's game plan wither amidst teams that seemingly want it more than the Hoyas do.

Sunday's opponent, a Seton Hall team which is winless at 0-6, wants a win. Georgetown cannot afford a repeat of this effort.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       31   5-6   0-2   3-5   3   0  4   13
Sapp         21   0-0   1-2   0-0   2   2  3    3
Freeman      34   1-4   0-2   7-8   3   0  3    9
Summers      36   3-7   1-7   3-6   3   1  0   12
Monroe       36   4-10  0-0   3-6   8   4  3   11
Mescheriakov  1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Clark        24   2-4   0-2   0-0   3   0  1    4
Vaughn        4   0-1   0-0   0-0   1   1  1    0
Sims          3   1-1   0-0   0-0   2   0  0    2
Wattad       16   2-2   0-1   0-0   0   0  1    4
DNP: Jansen
Team Rebounds                       6
TOTALS      200 18-35  2-16 16-25  31   8 16   58

Additional links follow below.

Inauguration Blues? 1/23/09

And how about this strange statistic: since 1977, Georgetown is 1-4 against Division I opponents in the first game after the inauguration of a new president and has now lost three straight: in 1993 to UNLV following the first Clinton inaugural, a loss to Pitt in 2001 following the first George W. Bush inaugural, and Thursday's loss to WVU following the Barack Obama inaugural.

The Big Event 1/18/09

By train, by plane, by bus, or even a few on foot, people are coming to Washington for Tuesday's inauguration. For one well known Georgetown figure who's seen a lot over his 67 years, he wouldn't miss it.

The inauguration of Barack Obama is "the greatest thing to happen to African-Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation", said former coach John Thompson in this link to the Associated Press.

Also returning to town is Dikembe Mutombo (SLL'91), who will welcome his father from the Congo to witness the ceremonies. "We have the son of an African man, not from a second or third generation, from the first generation. That brings so much joy and so much pride for me."

Duke 76, Georgetown 67 1/17/09

"I don't even believe he was really looking at the bench, but I know I definitely didn't say anything. I can't say if I heard someone else, but I know I definitely didn't say anything."--Greg Monroe

Seventeen first half points from Gerald Henderson and a 15 point, 16 rebound effort from Kyle Singler led #3-ranked Duke to a 76-67 win over Georgetown in Durham, NC.

The game featured a number of impressive runs by both clubs and notable individual performances. Two fouls, one in each half, proved pivotal to Georgetown's chances in this game, and each went against the #13 ranked Hoyas.

Both teams started out well, but after Austin Freeman picked up his second foul less than three minutes into the half, Georgetown needed a boost, and got it from Dajuan Summers and Greg Monroe. The two combined to shoot 9 for 10 from the field during a run where the Hoyas shot 67 percent as a team and helped stay ahead ahead of forward Gerald Henderson, who singlehandedly was keeping Duke in the game, scoring 11 of the Blue Devils' first 23 points.

A three pointer by Austin Freeman gave the Hoyas a 27-23 lead with 7:58 to play, and and the 6:03 mark the Hoyas still led by two when Greg Monroe picked up his second foul and went to the bench. Monroe's exit was a door closing on the Hoyas in a big way, as Georgetown failed to score a basket the rest of the half. Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson piloted a 17-2 Duke run to end the half, thrilling the home crowd and giving Duke a 40-29 halftime lead, thanks to 55 percent shooting from the field and six threes in the half. From its 12-18 start from the floor, Georgetown finished 0-10 and saw only two points come off the bench by intermission.

The second half opened in much the same fashion, as a missed layup and turnover allowed Duke a pair of baskets and a 15 point lead, 44-29, within the first two minutes of the second half. But much as they had done early in the first half, Georgetown returned to good shooting and even better defense. A pair of jumpers by Jason Clark got the Hoyas to ten, a Greg Monroe basket to eight, and Summers scored six straight points to close to four, 46-42 at the 15:34 mark. Georgetown had held Duke to 1-6 shooting over that stretch and its 13-2 run had revived the Hoyas cause. Twenty-two seconds later, a questionable call set in motion one of the more memorable calls in recent Hoya history.

The Hoyas had regained possession following a Summers steal and off a Freeman miss, freshman Henry Sims was called on a touch foul. Immediately after the play, referee John Cahill did a 180 degree turn and called a technical foul in the direction of the Georgetown bench.

The CBS announcers assumed it was coach Thompson, but moments later it was a point of contention. Cahill told the scoring table that comments from Monroe led to the technical foul...except Monroe didn't say anything.

Cahill had no comment after the game and coach Thompson declined to pursue the matter publicly, but a second line of inquiry soon developed--did Cahill react to a comment in the stands? Georgetown had less than 50 tickets in the building and while many were behind the GU bench, so too were a number of Duke fans.

"A fan directly behind the bench in a yellow Steelers baseball cap was said to be the culprit instead of Monroe," wrote Mike Wise of the Washington Post.. Not wanting to be a watered-down Bartman, he revealed neither his name nor his alleged role."

In either case, Monroe was tagged with his fourth foul and after a 5 for 5 shooting run over the first 25 minutes of the game, he was largely out of the picture thereafter, getting just two shots down the stretch. In his absence, and the move by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to a small, four guard lineup, Georgetown never got closer than five points from then on. (More on the cvall can be found in this link to the Duke Chronicle.

Georgetown's shooting to open the first half.

Georgetown's shooting to end the first half.

Shooting from guards Jessie Sapp and Chris Wright

Georgetown's second half free throw shooting

Duke's second half free throw shooting

Second half offensive rebounds for Georgetown.

Second half offensive rebounds for Duke.

Duke's record against Georgetown at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Duke's record against non-conference opponents at home since 2000

The Duke play picked up across the board. 6-8 Kyle Singler went to work on the boards, collecting 11 in the second half and 16 overall. Layups by Singler and guard Jon Scheyer extended the lead back to ten, 52-42, while a pair of long jumpers by senior greg Paulus extended the lead to 12 at 57-45 with 12:32 left. Sophomore Omar Wattad missed a pair of free throws, answered by Henderson's first points of the half, 59-45, and off a long miss by Chris Wright, point guard Nolan Smith weaved through the GU defense to go up 16, 51-45, a 15-3 run since Monroe's technical.

The teams traded points down the stretch, whereupon the Hoyas closed to eight at the 3:36 mark off a pair of baskets by Austin Freeman. A Gerald Henderson basket was answered by Monroe, 70-62, but with 2:05 time was running out. Duke began to work the free throw line to maintain the lead. An Omar Wattad three pointer closed to Hoyas five at 72-67, but the Blue Devils sank their final four free throws over 37 seconds to close out the win.

"I thought Kyle [Singler]’s rebounding performance was spectacular – 16 rebounds in this game when we only had 32, although there weren’t that many missed shots," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "That’s a spectacular performance."

Despite Monroe's troubles, Georgetown's second half shooting was remarkable at 61 percent, led by nine points each from Summers and Clark. Guards Chris Wright and Jessie Sapp remained ineffective, however, with Wright going 1-2 from the field in the half and Sapp failing to take a shot, as he played only three minutes after halftime and did not score for the first game since the 2006 NCAA regional semifinal versus Florida, a run of 85 straight games.Summers finished with 21 points for a second straight game, followed by Freeman with 15 and Clark with 12.

"The [second half starting group] was playing well," said Thompson in post-game comments. "We were down 15 or 16 and got it to four. Then they got a little tired and the lead went back to 11 or 12 I think. We got them back in there and the lead went back down again so this group was playing well together."

Duke finished 12-13 from the free throw line compared to just 10-18 for Georgetown, a statistic that reminds the reader that when the margin remains ever so slight between top teams, poor free throw shooting can come back and bite good teams every time.

"The technical was a key part of the game, let’s not try to run from that, it was a key part of the game," Thompson recalled. Noting Monroe's protest at Cahill's call, Thompson said that "He was just saying to me 'I didn't say anything, I didn't say anything'. I don't know what went through his mind, but that's what his reaction was."

"It clearly altered how they attacked us and what we could do, but that's not the reason that we ended up with less points than them tonight," he continued. "They played very well. They made plays, particularly in the first half. Early in the first half they were making tough shots. We played the defense, but they were making tough shots. Then there was a stretch in the second half where we were getting good looks, the ball just wasn't going in, so that's sports, that's basketball, that's life. They beat us today."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       22   1-4   0-2   1-1   4   5  0    3
Sapp         19   0-1   0-1   0-1   2   2  2    0
Freeman      32   6-10  1-3   0-0   3   1  3   15
Summers      37   5-8   2-4   5-10  7   0  1   21
Monroe       28   6-7   0-0   0-0   6   4  4   12
Clark        26   3-4   1-3   0-0   3   2  4    9
Vaughn        6   0-0   0-0   2-2   1   0  0    2
Sims          6   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  2    0
Wattad       24   0-1   1-2   2-4   1   1  3    5
DNP: Mescheriakov, Jansen
Team Rebounds                       2      
TOTALS      200 21-36  5-15 10-18  29  14 17   67

Additional post-game coverage follows below.

Georgetown 88, Syracuse 74 1/15/09

"For the first time all season, the Syracuse players walked off the court after the final buzzer knowing what it feels like to be completely overmatched."--Syracuse Daily Orange

Dajuan Summers and Austin Freeman led a strong team effort as Georgetown upset the #8-ranked Syracuse Orangemen 88-74 at Verizon Center, shooting 59 percent from the field and hitting 12 three pointers in the upset.

Georgetown works best from an early lead and the Hoyas got that in this one, holding the Orangemen to 1-8 shooting to open the game to build a 10-2 lead. As Chris Wright picked up two early fouls and Syracuse hit the boards, second chance points led the Orangemen back in the game. By the midway point of the first half, Georgetown had missed four straight shots and Syracuse had cut the lead to 17-14.

Enter Nikita Mescheriakov.

To say that the 6-9 sophomore would be an unlikely scoring hero may be an understatement - Mescheriakov entered the game shooting just 2-14 on the season but John Thompson saw an opportunity, and Mescheriakov delivered. Left open at the top of the key, Mescheriakov hit a three pointer to rally the Hoyas, than stuck it to the Orangemen again on the next possession. After colliding with Syracuse's Andy Rautins in a play that sent Rautins to the bench with a sore knee, Mescheriakov was done for the night, but he keyed what will long be talked about as one of the great first half runs in this storied series.

Mescheriakov's threes built the lead to six, 23-17. A pair of Greg Monroe free throws extended the lead to eight, whereupon Syracuse missed layups in consecutive possessions and GU built the lead to 12. Freshman Henry Sims picked off Rick Jackson and set up Dajuan Summers for the dunk, 31-17. Paul Harris then lost the ball, and Jason Clark answered with a three, 34-17.

The hits just kept on coming. An Eric Devendorf miss was answered by an Austin Freeman three, then a Summers dunk, followed by a steal and breakaway dunk by Summers, whereupon he was knocked to the floor by Kristof Ongenaet, only to see Summers tagged with a technical foul for barking at Ongenaet on the way up. In a roughly seven minute stretch, Georgetown had gone from up three to up 21, shooting 9-11 from the field. By contrast, Syracuse shot 3-11, with six turnovers. Georgetown ended the half up 18, 50-32, shooting 60 percent from the field, 50 percent from three (8-16), and a +7 on rebounds (20-13).

"We started out going man-to-man and they scored the first five points. We did a decent job there in the zone for a while," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim in post-game comments. "It was really more our offense through the first seven or eight minutes not converting when we had the opportunity. When you don't convert it leads to bad things at the offensive end and they made a couple threes and we did not respond well at the other end. We played equally bad in both defenses we gave up about seven threes in our man-to-man and five or six in our zone, so it's not what defense we played it's how we played defense. "

Syracuse had hoped to come out in the second half and work to cut into Georgetown's lead, and that is precisely what they did. Within the first four minutes, Georgetown missed four shots to open the half and the Orangemen had cut the lead to ten with 16:03 remaining. The Hoyas repelled the Syracuse attack with a steady outside hand: a three by Jason Clark kept the lead at 13, and when Syracuse narrowed the count to eight at 53-45, Dajuan Summers hit a big three to stop the Orange tide.

Syracuse abandoned much of its patient offensive game plan and largely relied on Devendorf, Paul Harris, and Rick Jackson to pick up the points, but they learned that trading points wouldn't do much for the double-digit margin. The Orangemen cut the lead back to 11 with 12:07 to play, but consecutive turnovers were punished by a seven point GU run, 67-49. SU cut it back to 13 four minutes later, only to see Freeman hit a three to push it back to 16, 72-56. Syracuse would not close within 11 the rest of the way, as Georgetown was able to run the clock and limit the number of Syracuse possessions late. The Orangemen acquitted themselves well inside, shooting a season high 57% against the Georgetown defense in the half, and outrebounded Georgetown 20-8, including a 9-1 edge on offensive rebounds. Georgetown answered with 58 percent shooting and a 4-5 mark from outside, which helped put away the win.

Last Georgetown win over a #8 ranked team (1996 NCAA's vs. Texas Tech)

Years since GU last won three straight at home vs. Syracuse (1987-89).

Syracuse's national ranking in 3 point FG defense entering Wednesday's game.

Free throw shooting from SU's Rick Jackson

Georgetown advantage, points off turnovers

Number of field goals by Nikita Mescheriakov before this game.

Number of three point field goals by Georgetown, a season high.

Second half turnovers for Georgetown.

Bench points for Georgetown.

Bench points for Syracuse, 20 from Eric Devendorf.

Moreso than any game this year, the team concept was in full force. Dajuan Summers' 21 points were especially important in light of 12 second half points, something he has struggled with in recent games. Austin Freeman had one of his best games of the season, with 19 points on 7-10 scoring. Greg Monroe scored just 10 points but he added seven rebounds and six assists.

Georgetown's bench play was superb. Mescheriakov's threes were emblematic of a first class effort across the board, led by a career high 12 points from Jason Clark, along with five from Julian Vaughn and three each from Omar Wattad and Henry Sims. The bench shot 11-15 from the field in the game, a number unseen all season. The emergence of Clark at guard could prove a welcome scoring addition later in the season.

"We have confidence in each other," said coach John Thompson III. "When you get in the game you come in and do what you're supposed to do. Everyone was very good today, everyone helped out as a team. That was a team victory, in the truest sense of the word."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       27   2-2   1-2   0-0   1   1  3    7
Sapp         19   1-2   0-2   0-0   3   1  1    2
Freeman      35   3-5   4-5   1-2   3   3  1   19
Summers      34   5-8   2-5   5-8   4   3  3   21
Monroe       28   3-8   0-0   4-4   7   6  3   10
Mescheriakov  2   0-0   2-2   0-0   0   0  0    6
Clark        26   3-3   2-3   0-0   1   0  2   12
Vaughn       12   2-3   0-0   1-2   2   4  3    5
Sims         11   1-2   0-0   1-2   3   2  1    3
Wattad        6   0-0   1-2   0-0   1   1  0    3
DNP: Jansen
Team Rebounds                       3      1
TOTALS      200 20-33 12-21 12-18  28  21 18   88

Post game articles follow below.

Georgetown 82, Providence 75 1/11/09

Greg Monroe's 13 points and 11 rebounds keyed a a second half comeback in an 82-75 win over Providence College Saturday at Verizon Center, ending a two game losing streak for the #9-ranked Hoyas. The game was a test of both coaches, as each endured a number of swings in a game that could have gone either way.

Georgetown's early lad was fleeting, thanks in large part to turnovers. The Hoyas gave up three turnovers in a four possessions stretch and seven in a seven minute stretch midway through the first half, shooting 1-7 from the field as Providence outscored Georgetown 13-2 and built a nine point lead midway in the first half. Georgetown took its game inside on both sides of the floor, clogging up the middle for providence and allowing the Hoyas a chance to tighten the game. Down 28-20 with under 5:00 to play in the half, the Hoyas held PC to just one field goal down the stretch and shot 5-8 from the field to close to three at the half, 36-33. Georgetown had shot 50 percent from the field but gave up 47 percent to the Friars, including five three pointers.

The second half started a lot like the first for Georgetown, which is, to say, ragged. Three turnovers in the first two minutes prevented the Hoyas from opening this game up earlier in the half, and PC led by as many as four when Dajuan Summers picked up his 4th foul with 15:35 to play. As Summers sat, Monroe rose to the occasion, and his combination of scoring, passing and defense inspired the Hoyas to rally past the Friars in a 21-2 run over the next six minutes. Providence missed eight straight shots as Monroe keyed two steals and got the ball inside to Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. Monroe drove the lane for a dunk and connected on a foul shot to go up six, 50-44, while Henry Sims added a couple of lay-ups over a stretch which saw the Hoyas shoot 7-10 to open the half. Georgetown pushed the lead to 15 when Austin freeman was intentionally fouled and still made the basket, earning him an extra two free throws and a 61-46 lead.

Shooting from PC's Geoff McDermott

Three pointers by Providence (10-23)

Georgetown turnovers, leading to 23 PC points

GU's record at home vs. PC in the Big East era.

GU's record at home vs. PC since 1993.

Georgetown's lead topped out at 16 with 7:52 to play and to a lot of onlookers, the game was approaching garbage time, but Providence never quite gave in. The Hoyas gave up a pair of turnovers and a missed layup in its next three possessions, and the Friars worked the gap to ten at the 5:00 mark, to seven with under 4:00 to play, and to just six with 2:13 to play from a Marshawn Brooks three pointer, 76-70. Georgetown could have extended the lead on its next possession, but Chris Wright stepped on the sideline and the Friars closed to 76-73. Wright gave up the ball a second straight time, but Weyinmi Efejuku missed a close-in shot that would have cut the lead to one. Monroe answered with a dunk and PC turned the ball over on its next series, allowing the Hoyas some well-needed breathing room in a game which was closer than it needed to be.

Saturday's game was a promising one for Georgetown's underclassmen, which must be major contributors if GU is to contend in conference play. In addition to Monroe, Jason Clark scored 10 points off the bench and freshmen center Henry Sims had some of the best efforts of his career to date, with five points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Sophomores Chris Wright and Austin Freeman had big games as well, combining for 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Upperclassmen fared less well, however. Junior DaJuan Summers scored five of the team's first nine points and had nine at the half, but was saddled with foul problems and did not have a field goal in the second half, finishing with 12. Senior Jessie Sapp continues his mid-season shooting slump, shooting 1-6 in this game and just 6-28 (.214) in Big East play. Both will need to raise their game over a week where the Hoyas will meet #11 Syracuse and #2 Duke.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       32   5-7   2-3   0-2   4   3  3   16
Sapp         25   1-4   0-2   6-8   5   5  4    8
Freeman      33   7-9   0-2   4-6   7   2  2   18
Summers      26   2-4   1-2   5-6   5   0  4   12
Monroe       35   5-7   0-0   3-3  11   8  3   13
Clark        24   3-4   1-4   1-2   4   2  0   10
Vaughn        5   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  1    0
Sims         14   2-5   0-0   1-2   2   0  3    5
Wattad        6   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
DNP: Mescheriakov, Jansen
Team Rebounds                       3
TOTALS      200 25-40  4-13 20-29  41  20 20   82

Post game coverage follows below.

JT: Hoyas Not Tough Enough? 1/10/09

When John Thompson talks, people listen, so when the elder Thompson cited the need for his son's team to add a few "thugs" to improve Georgetown's rebounding, the Associated Press was quick with a story on the team...and the term.

"I've had various questions from you guys, 'What drills are you working on?' 'How are you working on it?', " said Thompson III. "We could do drills until the cows come home, and at the end of the day you've got to go get the ball. Can you improve on that? Hopefully." Asked to comment on his father's phrasing, he replied, "You can ask Pops what he thinks."

The team must have got the message: Georgetown held a 41-29 advantage on the boards Saturday.

Assistant Coach Sidelined 1/8/09

Assistant coach Kenya Hunter was not on the bench in Saturday's game, and it has since been announced he is recovering from complications from a recent hip replacement, as noted at GUHoyas.com.

"Kenya is recuperating and our thoughts and prayers are with him," said coach John Thompson III.

Monroe Named Rookie Of The Week 1/7/09

Greg Monroe was named Big East Rookie of the Week for his efforts against Connecticut and Pittsburgh. Here's the news release from GUHoyas.com.

Notre Dame 73, Georgetown 67 1/6/09

Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney combined for 48 points in a 73-67 win over Georgetown at the Joyce Center, a game that was not as close as the score might indicate.

Saturday's game versus Pitt had the air of a main event, but Monday's game seemed stuck in the sports undercard amidst the Fiesta Bowl and a subdued home arena during Notre Dame's Christmas break. The teams played relatively even for the first ten minutes of the first half, with foul trouble the early story. Georgetown's Dajuan Summers picked up two fouls by the 15:02 mark and ND's Luke Harangody picked up his second three minutes later. What each did with foul trouble set the course for the rest of the game.

Summers played sparingly in the first half, with little impact, and the sluggish play seemed to wear off on everyone but Greg Monroe, who had his third strong game in Big East play in as many starts. Georgetown led 13-11 and 20-19 before Harangody returned to form in the final five minutes of the half. Harangody, who had never scored more than 13 points against a Georgetown team in his college career, dominated on a 18-5 Irish run and a nine point halftime lead, 38-29. Georgetown was just 2-8 in Harangody's stretch, with two turnovers, as he finished with 19 first half points.

Georgetown opened the second half crisply, closing the deficit to four at 39-35 and forcing four ND turnovers in its first seven possessions. The Hoyas appeared to catch a break when Harangody was tagged with his third foul with 17:33 to play, but Summers picked up his third just 33 seconds later, and just as he did Saturday against Pitt, he failed to be a scoring factor for the remainder of the game. Summers added just one field goal in the next 15 minutes of play while Harangody continued to battle underneath, while McAlarney, held to just one three pointer in ND"s narrow loss at St. John's, picked up his play.

Summers picked up his fourth foul at the 11:45 mark trailing by five, 49-44, whereupon Harangody went to work. Off a pair of short misses by Monroe, Harangody sank a jumper to extend the lead to seven, 51-44, traded an Austin Freeman basket to go to 53-46, and picked up a key rebound off a Chris Wright three point miss, which saw the Irish go up by nine with 8:17, 55-46. Georgetown briefly closed within seven when McAlarney sank consecutive three pointers to extend the lead to 13, putting the game effectively out of reach, 61-48.

Percent shooting for Jessie Sapp in three Big East games.

Missed free throws by Georgetown (13-22)

Missed free throws by Notre Dame (15-16)

Last three point field goal by Georgetown, then down five.

Last field goal by Notre Dame, then up 11.

Straight home wins by Notre Dame at Joyce Center.

Georgetown still trailed by 11 entering the final four minutes, where Monroe closed the gap, only to see the Irish ice the game at the line. A 65% free throw shooting team at the line, ND sank 13 straight en route in the game and finished 17-18 from the line.

Georgetown was able to correct some of its most visible flaws from the Pitt game--it held the rebound edge and limited ND to just nine second chance points, down from 25 against Pitt, held a +16 in points in the paint, and got more time out of its bench. But in a conference that is so tight on the margin that a team can't afford to slide on the basics, missing 14 of 18 three point shots and a 13 of 22 effort from the line is not going to win games, whether it's Notre Dame or Rutgers. Georgetown, which was second in the league in 2007-08 in three point shooting, has now fallen to seventh in 2008-09 and its rebounding statistics place it firmly in the bottom of the conference.

Harangody finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Monroe finished with 21 points for the Hoyas, marking ND's 44th straight home win and its first victory against Georgetown in five games over the last three seasons.

"We're going to have those nights in this league and we have to be better at everything else when we're having those nights," said coach John Thompson III. "From foul shots on down, the ball just didn't go in the basket tonight so we have to get stops and we have to get rebounds and we have to make things more difficult for them.

"Every night you are going to be in a position where you can win every game and if everything isn't in order, you can lose every game."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       31   4-8   1-6   2-4   5   4  4   13
Sapp         33   0-2   2-5   1-2   2   2  0    7
Freeman      30   2-4   0-2   1-2   3   3  2    5
Summers      22   3-5   0-2   5-5   5   0  4   11
Monroe       37   9-17  0-0   3-7  10   3  3   21
Clark        24   2-4   0-1   1-2   4   3  1    5
Vaughn        3   0-0   0-0   0-0   2   0  0    0
Sims         14   1-2   0-0   0-0   2   0  0    2
Wattad        6   0-0   1-2   0-0   0   0  1    3
DNP: Mescheriakov, Jansen
Team Rebounds                       4
TOTALS      200 21-42  4-18 13-22  37  15 15   67

Post game coverage follows below.

More On Thompson Admit 1/5/09

The HOYA has a follow-up to the story below about 2009 recruit Hollis Thompson enrolling early. While spring admits are unusual at Georgetown, they do happen, according to Charles Deacon, dean of admissions. "As a matter of practice, we do review applicants with special circumstances for spring admission on a regular basis," Deacon told the paper. "This spring, for example, there will be at least two new freshmen and about five new transfers."

Monroe's First Interviews 1/5/09

Head coach John Thompson III follows a Georgetown practice maintained by his father as well as by Craig Esherick: no interviews until the second semester of a player's freshman year. It's now the second semester for Greg Monroe and the New York Times and Washington Post each got its first talk with the freshman center.

Monroe recalled the recruiting pitches at other schools, but said "[Coach Thompson] told me, ‘You’re going to come in, you’re going to work, you’re going to get better.,'" he told the Times. "He said he won’t let me come in and not get better. That was the one thing that really stood out. Also, him saying that everything that you do is going to be for the betterment of the team, and I think that was the biggest point that he made.”

"Greg is poised on the floor, he is poised off the floor," Thompson said in the Post article. "A lot of that goes toward the fact that [he] embraces helping his teammates. It's not just something that he's good at; it's not just something he has the God-given ability to do. But he gets pleasure in trying to help his teammates get better."

Pittsburgh 70, Georgetown 54 1/4/09

"DeJuan Blair is but one man, though he played better than five Hoyas."--Dana O'Neill, ESPN.com

It's January, and Pitt is it.

The soon to be #1-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers rolled over #11 Georgetown 70-54 before 19,397 at Verizon Center Saturday, exposing a number of weaknesses in the Hoyas' defensive sets.

Pitt (14-0, 2-0 Big East) opened up with the games first six points (via two layups and a jumper) and never trailed. The scene was set by both teams early in the half, with Georgetown failing to take advantage of opportunities and Pittsburgh taking advantage of nearly all of them.

Early in the game, with Pitt leading 8-5, Georgetown failed on four consecutive possessions to cut into the lead: a missed layup by freshman Greg Monroe, a missed layup by sophomore Chris Wright, a missed dunk by junior Dajuan Summers, and a missed three pointer by Jessie Sapp. The Panthers extended the lead to six at 11-5 but it was the largest lead of the half, thanks to a career first half from Summers, who was 6-9 from the field with three of Georgetown's four three pointers in the first half.

Summers' inspired play was all Georgetown could do to prevent a first half blowout by the Panthers, aided by ten offensive rebounds in the first half alone, which accounted for 13 second chance points. Georgetown had closed to one, 14-13, midway in the half, when the Panthers collected four offensive rebounds in a 1:20 period, converting them into seven points.

Georgetown played tough towards the end of the half, and trailed by only three despite hitting just one field goal in the final six minutes of the half, 33-30, relying on free throws to keep the margin close. Pitt owned a 24-15 rebound advantage and had held Georgetown to just 33 percent from the field in the half.

The second half saw an abrupt change for the Hoyas' offense. Pitt shifted its defensive efforts on Summers and the junior disappeared from the scoring charts: shooting 6-9 in the first half, he took only two shots the rest of the way, both from long range, and nothing in the short or mid-range. As Summers backed away, Greg Monroe stood up, and for large stretches was the only consistent offense the Hoyas could muster.

The teams played fairly even for the first six minutes of the second half, although Georgetown was again falling prone to the easy miss, with two lost layups in the first two minutes of play and two more missed layups in the next four. Georgetown had held Pitt to 3-8 shooting to open the half, and following a Jessie Sapp three, an Austin Freeman layup, and a Summers three at the 14:12 mark, the game was tied at 40-40. At that point, the Hoyas hit a brick wall disguised as 6-8 sophomore Dejuan Blair. Blair's rebounding and scoring prowess brought the Hoyas' rising national ranking to a half and sent an cold wind through the Verizon Center crowd and national television audience.

Fans of a certain age will remember a January 1990 game with Syracuse that ended the Hoyas' big home win streak, which was only recently passed by this year's 29 game modern record. In the game, Billy Owens took off on the Hoyas, with 36 points and 10 rebounds as Syracuse ran away from the Hoyas in the second half, 95-76. While Blair did not top Owens' scoring number, he was no less impressive in changing the flow of the game almost immediately in the second half, scoring the Panthers' first seven points of the half en route to completing a 20 point, 17 rebound effort.

Pitt's final charge began not with Blair, but forward Sam Young. Young picked up two straight offensive boards and tipped the ball in to lead 42-40, and off a turnover he carried it in for a layup, 44-40. After Jessie Sapp missed an open three, Pitt extended the lead to 46-40, and carried a nine point lead into the last 11 minutes of play, 48-40.

Second half rebounds by a Georgetown player other than Greg Monroe.

Bench points for Georgetown, a basket scored with 19 seconds to play.

Straight wins by Pitt over Georgetown since 2007 Big East final

GU team shooting excepting Monroe and Summers

Combined shooting by Chris Wright and Jessie Sapp.

Second half rebounds combined for Georgetown.

Second half rebounds for Pitt's Dejuan Blair.

More shot attempts by Pitt than Georgetown.

Pitt two point shooting for first half (52%).

Pitt two point shooting for second half (72%).

Last home court loss prior to this game, vs Villanova.

Monroe got inside for a dunk, 48-42, and added a second inside to close to 51-44 with 9:10 to play. But as Monroe was gaining momentum down low, Georgetown abandoned the mid-range shot, relying on long threes which did not play to its strength. Pitt shot poorly from three itself (1-10 in the half), but the rebounding came up big.

Off a three point miss, Tyrell Biggs added an easy scoop, 53-44. Chris Wright's three sailed wide and Blair connected on a dunk down low, 55-44. Another long outside miss by the Hoyas translated into a dunk and a 13 point lead, 57-44: a 17-4 run.

After Summers and Biggs were tagged with technical fouls for some close words, Wright found Monroe down low for a basket and foul shot to cut the lead to 10, 57-47. Sapp then stole the ball from Pitt's Gilbert Brown, offering faint hope of a comeback, but Sapp launched an errant three and Pitt came right back down for the score, 59-47. On Georgetown's next series, another long miss set up Blair for an offensive rebound and layup, 61-47 with 5:31 to go. Blair assisted on the next two Pitt baskets inside, then picked up his 10th offensive rebound of the afternoon and a dunk to extend the lead to 20 with 1:48 to play. Of Pitt's 37 points in the half, 22 were in the paint and 12 were via offensive rebound. He finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds, and three assists.

To illustrate how futile Georgetown's offense had become against the Panthers after the 14:28 mark of the second half, here is the Georgetown box score for the last 14 minutes of the game:

Last 14:    2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright      0-1   0-1   0-0   0   1  0    0
Sapp        0-1   0-2   0-0   0   1  0    0
Freeman     0-0   0-2   0-2   0   0  0    0
Summers     0-0   0-1   3-4   0   0  3    3
Monroe      4-4   0-0   1-1   1   1  0    9
Clark       1-1   0-1   0-0   0   0  0    2
Team Rebounds                 1
TOTALS      5-7   0-7   4-7   2   3  3   14

"They were saying, 'Who did Pitt play? Who did they play?' " Blair said in post-game comments, noting concern that none of Pitt's prior 13 opponents were nationally ranked. "We came into Georgetown, and we showed them what we can do. They can't say nothing now. We can play with anybody in the nation."

"They're not a great rebounding team," said Pitt's Sam Young. "We thought we could come in here and outrebound them by a lot. But we didn't think it was going to be like that." In fact, Pitt outrebounded Georgetown 48-23, 20-7 on the offensive boards. Pitt collected 12 baskets on second chance points.

[Monroe] is supposed to be the next big thing. They were picking this young cat against me, I'm not going to take that. Why not go right at him?" asked Blair. "I guess I got the better of him today." Monroe finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, no small feat against Blair's skill.

As to Summers' second half play, he responded after the game by saying that "During the second half they did a good job at taking away good looks and I didn't want to force anything. I wanted to do a better job at letting the game come to me."

"We got stops, they got the rebounds and put it back in and had some guys who have been making shots that didn't make shots today," said John Thompson III. "They've been there, they're experienced and it showed; they are a veteran team."

What I told the guys after the game was I was so impressed with our preparation," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "It was all about business and coming down here on Saturday."

And until these teams meet again, case closed.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       37   1-5   0-2   3-4   1   4  1    5
Sapp         29   0-2   1-5   0-0   0   3  0    3
Freeman      38   1-3   1-5   2-4   6   1  2    7
Summers      39   3-6   4-5   4-6   2   1  3   22
Monroe       34   6-12  0-1   3-3   8   2  2   15
Clark         9   1-1   0-1   0-0   0   0  0    2
Vaughn        5   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  1    0
Sims          1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Wattad        8   0-0   0-1   0-0   0   1  0    0
DNP: Mescheriakov, Jansen
Team Rebounds                       6
TOTALS      200 12-31  6-20 12-17  23  12  9   54

Post game coverage follows below.

Saturday's game ended 29 straight home wins dating back to the 2006-07 season. Here are the longest home win streaks in school history:

Home Streak Began Ended
47 2/12/1918 2/2/1924
29 1/24/2007 1/3/2009
28 1/27/1988 1/27/1990
24 2/20/1995 1/4/1997
21 1/26/1977 1/2/1979
2009 Recruit Enrolls Early 1/1/09

Georgetown recruit Hollis Thompson has enrolled for the spring 2009 semester, according to a release at GUHoyas.com

The 6-6 forward was a junior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles last season, before a transfer to DeLaSalle HS in Concord, CA this past fall. In December, before the start of basketball season, Thompson announced a transfer to the Atlanta, GA area, where his father had settled with a new job.

"There are no plans for him to play, but he will practice with the team as he acclimates himself to college life," said coach John Thompson III (no relation). "We feel this will be an exceptional opportunity for Hollis. It gives him a chance to adjust to life on and off the court before he begins intercollegiate competition in the 2009-2010 season." The release did not specify whether Hollis Thompson had completed his high school requirements at DeLaSalle or through another route.


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