Georgetown Basketball: February 2006 News Archive
As noted Friday, the efforts of a George Washington University student leader to organize a march on Healy Gates calling for resumption of the Georgetown-GW basketball series met with limited results, according to the GW Hatchet.
About 15 students made the trip from Foggy Bottom according to the paper, while some Georgetown-area reports said it was between six and ten. Having inadvertently planned the rally during the Syracuse game, not many Georgetown students were even around to see the protest.
"The numbers don't mean anything," said organizer Lamar Thorpe. "It's the spirit and heart dedicated to a cause that matters."
"I'm proud of my fellow seniors because it's been a roller-coaster ride. But ever since coach Thompson got here, we've been on an upswing, and beating Syracuse is just the latest step." --Darrel Owens, in the Washington Times
Four players scored in double figures in a 68-53 win over Syracuse at MCI Center Saturday, further confirming Georgetown's credentials for the 2006 NCAA tournament field.
Both teams played strong defense for much of the first half--after seven minutes, the score was 8-6. Despite giving up points inside, where Syracuse was getting points in the paint, Georgetown began to build an early lead which grew to seven with 6:11 in the half before Syracuse went on a 12-5 run to tie the game at 27 and bring to life a large Syracuse turnout at the game. The Hoyas answered with a big Jessie Sapp three to retake the lead, 30-27, which was again tied at 30 with 1:19 to play. The final moments of the half set the stage for a play which will find its way into the lore of this rivalry.
Tied at 30, Georgetown took over with 1:19 to play, but found itself unable to get a shot off as the shot clock ran down. A deflection by Syracuse's Louie McCroskey gave the Hoyas the ball out of bounds on its baseline with 44.6 seconds on the game clock. After the shot clock was reset by the officials to two seconds, the game clock inadvertently showed 4.6 seconds, and when Georgetown inbounded the ball, the horn suddenly went off. At this point, the officials reset the shot clock to one second but gave it to Georgetown on its sideline adjacent to the three point arc, upon which Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim protested to no avail. On the inbound, Jessie Sapp launched a missed three pointer that hit the rim but was rebounded by Roy Hibbert, who was fouled on the shot, made the basket, and converted a free throw into a three point play, 33-30.
"They threw the ball inbounds with two seconds," Boeheim explained to the Syracuse Post-Standard. "The guy bobbled it and juggled it and it went out of bounds. The shot-clock went off inadvertently, but it's not hard to count to two. One. Two. It's our ball out of bounds. The shot-clock had no effect on the guy making a play or not making a play."
The larger consequence of the play was that Terrence Roberts picked up his third foul, a foul which would prove crucial in the second half.
Syracuse opened the second half with an Eric Devendorf three to tie the game, but it was quickly answered by a Jonathan Wallace three to regain the lead, 36-33. A pair of missed threes by Devendorf gave Georgetown a chance to extend the lead by breaking the 2-3 zone and getting the ball inside to Jeff Green. In fact, Green accounted for five points and two assists in building the lead to eight, 43-35, at the first TV timeout.
Syracuse made another mini-run to close to 45-42, but again the Georgetown shooting helped keep Syracuse (and its fans) out of the running. Jonathan Wallace answered the Orangemen with his second three of the half, 48-42, extended to 50-44 by a Darrel Owens jumper.
Two key plays followed. Leading by seven with 9:00 to play and Syracuse looking to narrow the lead again, Brandon Bowman stole the ball from Gerry McNamara and found Owens for the basket to build the lead to nine, 55-46, and SU did not close within seven again. After McNamara had cut a 12 point lead back to 9 at at 60-51, Bowman forced Terrance Roberts to pick up his fifth personal foul with 5:46 to play, a play which forced Syracuse to change its inside game.
Bowman's free throws gave the Hoyas a 62-51 advantage with 5:48 to play, but after a pair of errant GU possessions, the Orangemen closed to 62-53 with 4:42 to play, but fans that were expecting a large game run were surprised to see that it was to be their last points of the game. Syracuse missed its next four three pointers and picked up three fouls off the misses, each of which were converted into Georgetown free throws to extend the lead to 68-53 with 1:51 to play. At that point, Syracuse took a three pointer with 1:39, missed, and made no attempt to stop the clock. In the final minute, coach Thompson went deep to the bench for seniors Ryan Beal and Amadou Kilkenny Diaw to get a final moment on the MCI hardwood, joined by juniors Sead Dizdarevic and Ken Izzo and freshman Marc Egerson.
If the game had been close at the end, the first half officiating call in question might have been an issue, but Syracuse's second half shooting proved it unnecessary. After shooting 50% in the first half, Syracuse managed just 10 for 28 from the field, 3 for 13 from three and were outrebounded by ten. With Georgetown committing only four fouls in the second half, the Orangemen did not attempt a foul shot after halftime, much as SU had shut out West Virginia at the line in the second half of last week's upset of the Mountaineers. For its part, Georgetown got the ball inside, and shot 19-24 from the line.
Green led all Georgetown scorers with 18, followed by 12 from Darrel Owens and 10 each from Jonathan Wallace and Ashanti Cook. Roy Hibbert added eight, while Brandon Bowman continued to fight through his late season slump and scored six points overall. Georgetown's 17 offensive rebounds and 39 overall proved invaluable in controlling the flow of the game.
The 53 points scored by Syracuse is the fewest for one game in the modern day era of the series, and the 15 point margin of victory by Georgetown matched its margin in 2002, the last win at home by the Hoyas over the Orangemen. Gerry McNamara, who had averaged 17.3 points per game over his career against Georgetown, was held to just eight, and teamed with Eric Devendorf to shoot just 5 for 15 from three point range. Roberts, who fouled out late, scored two points and picked up two rebounds, a far cry from his 16 point, and 10 rebound effort versus West Virginia.
"[Beating] Duke was nice, this one is nicer," said coach Thompson. To beat Syracuse when you're Georgetown is important."
It was, it is, and as rivalries go, it ought to be for years to come.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 33 1-3 2-3 2-2 5 2 0 10 Cook 36 4-7 0-4 2-2 5 2 4 10 Bowman 29 1-6 0-2 4-5 2 4 3 6 Green 30 5-10 0-1 8-12 7 4 3 18 Hibbert 30 2-6 0-0 3-3 8 1 0 7 Reserves: Izzo 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Owens 27 3-4 2-4 0-0 4 1 1 12 Sapp 9 1-2 1-3 0-0 2 1 0 5 Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Egerson 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Beal 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Kilk.-Diaw 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Dizdarevic 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 6 DNP: Thornton, Spann TOTALS 200 17-38 5-17 19-24 39 15 11 68
Post-game links follow below.
Saturday's home finale drew 18,879 at the MCI Center, which gives Georgetown an average attendance of 10,352 in 2005-06, its first 10,000+ figure in eight years and the most since the 12,604 per game which saw Allen Iverson's final year in 1995-96. Congratulations to the ticket office, the Hoya Hoop Club, Hoya Blue and all those involved in a 32 percent increase in attendance in 2005-06.Here are conference totals as of Feb. 26, where Georgetown has jumped from 10th to 6th among Big East schools in the averages:
It doesn't seem like ten years have passed since Othella Harrington was on the court for Georgetown, alongside teammates Jerome Williams, Boubacar Aw, Victor Page, and Allen Iverson. A ten year NBA veteran now with the Chicago Bulls, Harrington talked with the Chicago Tribune on some moments over his pro and college career.
"I chose Georgetown. For me, it was the total package," said Harrington. "It had the academic part, but it also had the basketball. Playing for coach Thompson and the Georgetown legacy of big men was something I couldn't pass up...Watching them on TV with Patrick and Alonzo and Dikembe, and I wanted to be a part of that group."
As to coach John Thompson's tough demeanor, Harrington saw another side. "His outside image was a real hard-nosed tough guy, very difficult to get along with. But from the inside, he was one of the best guys I ever played for. If you do what you're supposed to do, if you take care of your schoolwork, take care of yourself on the basketball court, he was a great guy. Funny, funny guy. He's one of the funniest guys ever to be around."
In local radio news, WTEM-AM has signed a lifetime contract with afternoon host and former Georgetown coach John Thompson. Thompson's radio show, begun on a part time basis shortly after his resignation from Georgetown in 1999, has become the area's #1 rated afternoon talk show.
The Syracuse game is not only the last game of the season at MCI Center, but marks Georgetown's final appearance under the arena's current name. MCI's parent company formally renames the arena Verizon Center next weekend.
George Washington students continue to raise interest in renewing the Georgetown-George Washington series, even if the timing may be a little off.
Friday's Daily Colonial reports that a candidate in the GW student elections is organizing a march of students to Georgetown to call for a game with the Hoyas. Few Georgetown students may see much impact, however, as it is being held during the second half of the Syracuse game.
A GW student seemed confused by the idea, telling the paper "Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to march for a basketball game?”
"This was a good victory, because this is an unforgiving league. A number of teams go through the same slump we had all throughout the season, in league play and we just needed a win. It was good to come back home and win a game."--Georgetown coach John Thompson III
In any scenario when Jeff Green is held to 3 for 9 shooting, Ashanti Cook is saddled with foul problems and finishes 1 for 5, and Brandon Bowman is held scoreless for the first time since Dec. 5, 2002 (the fifth game of his freshman year), all the pieces would have been in place for an upset, but Roy Hibbert had other ideas.
Hibbert scored a career high 25 points as Georgetown picked up a big win in Big East play, assuring the Hoyas a winning record in the conference with a 66-50 win over Rutgers Wednesday before 11,236 at MCI Center.
If the team across from Georgetown Wednesday night was one of a dozen other Big East foes, the Hoyas might have been staring at the possibility of a four game losing streak heading into Saturday's showdown with Syracuse. But a banged-up Rutgers team clearly didn't have the depth, and that was good news for Georgetown.
Both teams started slowly and this set the tone for the game. In the first four minutes, Georgetown held only a 4-2 lead, as Rutgers missed on seven straight shots to open the game. Some quick whistles propped up Rutgers, as free throws, not field goals, kept the Scarlet Knights close as the shots refused to fall. Rutgers fared poorly against Hibbert, though, who collected 13 points and eight rebounds by halftime.
A Jonathan Wallace three extended the Hoyas' lead to double figures at 24-14 with 4:10 to play, and a Wallace three at the end of the half extended the lead to 14 at intermission, 34-20.
Georgetown's efforts had nothing on Rutgers, though, which shot 1-15 from two point range, 5-8 from three, and collected just 20 points at the half, ten from leading scorer Quincy Douby. The lack of support for Douby was the story of the night for Rutgers, as a pair of brief runs could not gain traction with the team's poor shooting.
The second half started sloppily for both teams, and Rutgers did not score a field goal for the first 4:45 of the half. Still, the Hoyas did not put the Knights away, as a Douby three pointer keyed an 11-4 run to close the 18 point lead to eleven with 4:32 to play. Hibbert answered Douby's three with a foul-assisted three point play that pushed the lead back to 14, 56-42. Douby again charged ahead to close to 12, 56-44, but Darrel Owens answered with two threes in a 56 second run to put the game away, 62-47.
Hibbert was the acknowledged star of the game. "The young man has improved immensely from a year ago," said Rutgers coach Gary Waters. "If he continues to grow at this rate, you have a very, very good player on your hands.”
Beyond Hibbert, Green fared well inside, but shot poorly from outside (1-6). Guards Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp stepped up their play, combining for 18 points and helping the Hoyas earn assists on 20 of 26 field goals in the game.
Douby finished with 29 of Rutgers' 50 points; outside his nine field goals, Marquis Webb had two, and no other player more than one. The rest of the RU team shot 5-23 from the floor, and Georgetown's defense held RU to just one field goal in the last three minutes, which is a good statistic on any evening in the Big East.
"They were on [Douby] but he was still 9-for-20, so I think it wasn't him that was the issue," said Waters. "You can't beat a team with one guy scoring 29 and the next guy scoring six."
The Hoyas conclude their home schedule with a 12:00 noon Saturday tip-off versus Syracuse, seeking to complete the home schedule at 12-2, which would be its best record in the MCI Center era (1998-present) and the best winning mark at home since 1996.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 39 2-3 2-5 0-0 6 6 3 10 Cook 21 0-1 1-3 0-0 3 0 3 3 Bowman 21 0-3 0-1 0-2 2 0 2 0 Green 27 2-3 1-6 2-2 6 5 4 9 Hibbert 31 10-13 0-0 5-6 8 3 3 25 Reserves: Owens 29 1-1 3-6 0-0 4 5 3 11 Sapp 30 4-4 0-1 0-0 5 1 2 8 Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Kilk.-Diaw 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Izzo, Thornton, Spann, Beal, Egerson, Dizdarevic TOTALS 200 19-28 7-22 7-10 37 20 21 66
Additional links follow below.
Senior Brandon Bowman is the subject of a player feature at GUHoyas.com.
"Coach always tells us that if we work harder at something, everything else will come," said Bowman. "You see that and go after it and it will lead to other things. That's the mind set I'm taking and how I approach it."
Bowman returned to campus this summer after considering the NBA draft, but was mindful of the need to finish his undergraduate studies. "It's very important," Bowman said. "Saying that you have a degree from Georgetown stands out."
Randy Foye and Allan Ray combined for 42 points as #4 ranked Villanova dealt Georgetown its third loss in seven days, 75-65, before 6,500 at the Pavilion Sunday.
Georgetown opened the game strong, taking advantage of the Wildcats inside for a 7-3 lead. Following a Villanova time out, the Wildcats regrouped and outscored the Hoyas 12-0. The Wildcats were 5-5 from three point range in building a 21-14 lead, but Georgetown closed to 23-20 midway in the half before Villanova extended it once again.
Leading 28-23 with 7:26 in the half, the Wildcats suddenly went cold, missing its final 11 shots of the half. After a pair of free throws by the Wildcats, Georgetown closed to 30-27 with 4:48 but did not make a field goal for the remainder of the half, going 0-4 with a free throw for a 30-28 halftime deficit.
In the second half, Georgetown again started strong, taking two brief leads, the last at 38-37. Once again, Villanova adjusted its attack and began to push the ball inside, leveraging an 11-3 run to lead 48-41, as Foye was responsible for eight of the 11 points in the run. The Wildcats increased its lead to as many as ten, 53-43, but the Hoyas worked the ball inside, scoring on four layups in a four minute period to close to 59-57 with 5:03 to play.
Down two, Georgetown picked up an offensive rebound and looked to tie the score, but missed on consecutive three point attempts that Villanova repaid with a pair of Mike Nardi baskets. The 59-57 lead had grown to 61-57, and after a missed shot by Ashanti Cook, Kyle Lowry went inside for two and the foul, 64-57. Ray than took over down the stretch, scoring seven points in a run that extended the lead to nine in the final two minutes.
As they did in the first half, the Hoyas again went cold at half's end. An Ashanti Cook three pointer closed the lead to five with 2:42 left, but Georgetown managed only one basket the remainder of the game, as Villanova collected five rebounds in the final 2:14 versus none for the Hoyas.
For the second half, both teams shot 14 field goals, but Villanova was 6-14 from three versus Georgetown's 4-9. The Cats were 11-14 from the line after not going to the line at all in the first half. Georgetown was 5-8 from the line in the second half.
Roy Hibbert led the Hoyas with 20 points, 13 in the second half. Ashanti Cook scored 16 (11 in the second half), along with 15 from Jeff Green. As has been the case in this slump, one of the key starters fell short offensively, and Brandon Bowman did just that. Entering the game averaging 12 points a game, Bowman took just two shots in 26 minutes, finishing with four points, no rebounds, and three turnovers, which is his poorest offensive effort since the loss to West Virginia on January 12. Jonathan Wallace had a sub-par shooting game, finishing 1-6 from the field while Darrel Owens did not score in 18 minutes off the bench. Jessie Sapp scored seven in a reserve role.
The statistic of the game was turnovers, where Villanova did not commit a turnover in the entire second half. It's hard to beat any team, much less a top-five one, with a number like that.
Georgetown must now end a three game streak, and soon, that has evoked memories of last season's five game slide that cost the G-men an NCAA berth. With two home games and a road game against bottom-ranked South Florida, it is conceivable Georgetown could win the next three and ride into New York with a great deal of momentum. But after three late game struggles, it is just as conceivable for a worse case scenario, too.
Enough said--the turnaround begins Wednesday versus Rutgers.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 28 0-1 1-5 1-2 3 3 3 4 Cook 29 2-3 4-5 0-0 0 1 3 16 Bowman 26 0-1 1-1 1-2 0 0 1 4 Green 38 4-6 2-3 1-1 6 6 3 15 Hibbert 35 6-13 0-0 8-12 12 3 3 20 Reserves: Owens 18 0-0 0-2 0-0 4 2 2 0 Sapp 23 3-5 0-2 0-0 4 0 1 6 Egerson 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 DNP: Izzo, Crawford, Thornton, Spann, Beal, Kilkenny-Diaw, Dizdarevic TOTALS 200 15-29 8-18 11-17 30 15 16 65
Additional articles follow below.
Playing top teams requires all the starters to be at their best, and such has not been the case with Georgetown in these last three games. Here's the scoring totals from the starters, plus 6th man Darrel Owens in the last five games:
Here's a recap of the points per possession (PPP) statistic this season for the top six players versus their efficiency in the last three games. PPP is defined as the sum of total shots - offensive rebounds + possessions that end in a turnover versus total points scored. The ratings follow below:
Georgetown closes its home schedule this week. If the Hoyas can average 13,066 to Rutgers and for Syracuse, it will reach a 10,000 average attendance for the first time in eight years. Here are conference totals as of Feb. 19, where Georgetown is 10th of 16 Big East schools in the averages:
The Georgetown Hoyas failed to play its game in a 57-51 loss at Marquette on Thursday night. The second poor finish in as many games, the offensive symmetry of the 2005-06 season appears to have been lost at a critical time for confirming the Hoyas' NCAA tournament chances.
Georgetown opened the game on fire, connecting on its first seven shots, all from inside, leading 14-7 with 14:44 to play. As Marquette (17-8) opened up from three and switched defenses, GU began a series of offensive moves that fell flat with alarming consistency. The Hoyas went almost five minutes without a field goal as the Warriors (aka Golden Eagles) closed to 16-13 before consecutive baskets by Marc Egerson and Jessie Sapp gave the Hoyas breathing room at 21-15 with 8:30 in the half. From that point, and with Jeff Green sitting on the bench with two fouls, Georgetown proceeded to miss eight straight shots in the next 8:28, while giving back another four turnovers that allowed Marquette to outscore the Hoyas 14-1 before Roy Hibbert added a basket at the end of the half. From their first seven shots, Georgetown made 3 of its final 17 of the half and trailed 29-24 at intermission. The seniors were particularly out of sync, with Brandon Bowman, Ashanti Cook, and grad student Darrel Owens combining to go 2 of 11 in the half.
The second half borrowed heavily from the same script. Down five, GU hit three threes in its first four attempts to close to 34-33 with 15:24 left, but then proceeded to go over six minutes without another field goal. As Georgetown's shots began to stray, the Marquette offense picked it up again, pulling ahead 42-35 midway through the half. Since opening 7 for 7 to open the game, GU had now missed 25 of its last 32 attempts.
Down nine with 7:44 to play, the offense rediscovered Hibbert down low, feeding him the ball for three of the next four series to bring the Hoyas within three, 47-44. The Warriors' offense was starting to stall, as its players looked to be tiring down the stretch. A Brandon Bowman basket closed the gap to two, 48-46, with 4:42 to play, and an Ashanti Cook three gave GU the lead, 49-48 with 3:49 to play.
Meet the wall.
Off a missed jumper by Steve Novak, Georgetown appeared to be ready to build a lead, but Jeff Green traveled with 2:52 left. The defense held Marquette to a five second violation, but on the ensuing possession Ashanti Cook committed a cheap offensive foul. Marquette took the favor and answered with a three pointer, 51-49, and never trailed thereafter.
On its next series, down two, Brandon Bowman launched a three point air ball at the two minute mark, but caught a break when Marquette missed its own three point try with 1:29 to play. Once again, guard mistakes were deadly, as Jonathan Wallace, in the midst of a three game slump, stepped on the baseline driving to the basket, turning the ball over with 1:05 to play. Dominic James answered for the Warriors with a jumper, 53-49. Down four, but instead of going inside for a quick basket, Darrel Owens threw up a wild three that caromed off the backboard, which was promptly converted by two Marquette foul shots to extend the lead to six, 55-49. An Ashanti Cook basket with :12 left with the outcome already in place was Georgetown's only field goal in the final 3:49 of the game.
After hitting three of its first four shots to open the second half, GU finished 8-24, 1-9 from three. Perhaps even more disturbing was that its veteran leadership continued to take ill-advised outside shots in the second half despite a visible advantage in the middle.
Roy Hibbert's play was commendable: 17 points on 8-10 shooting. The remaining starters cannot say the same:
Outside of Hibbert, a Georgetown team that entered the game shooting a conference leading 48 percent from the field shot only 13 of 42 (31%), with 5 for 21 on three point attempts. In its last two games, Georgetown is 12-47 from three (25.5%).
The struggling Hoyas now must face a Villanova team Sunday fresh off a win over #1 Connecticut, averaging 39 points a game from its backcourt, winners of 20 of its 22 games, and more than eager to avenge a last second loss to Georgetown before its home fans. If the team that played like it did Thursday shows up at the Main Line, the results will be self-evident.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 32 0-3 2-4 0-0 3 4 4 6 Cook 31 2-3 1-7 0-0 1 2 2 7 Bowman 34 3-6 0-3 1-2 5 4 3 7 Green 29 1-4 0-2 0-0 6 3 3 2 Hibbert 34 8-10 0-0 1-1 8 0 1 17 Reserves: Owens 16 1-3 0-2 2-2 3 0 0 4 Sapp 18 1-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 2 5 Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Egerson 4 0-1 1-1 0-0 1 1 0 3 Kilk.Diaw 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Izzo, Thornton, Spann, Beal, Dizdarevic TOTALS 200 16-31 5-21 4-5 30 14 16 51
Additional articles follow below.
Sports Illustrated writer Luke Winn rode with Hoya Blue on a school bus to last week's St. John's game, and spent time with students (and a popular Georgetown parent) in a feature at the SI web site.
"As our caravan crawls East, downhill on Prospect Street, then goes over to M Street and eventually Pennsylvania Avenue, leaving the picturesque district of Georgetown behind, conversations about internships and grad-school applications [take place] -- this is, mind you, also a top-25 academic university," writes Winn.
By coincidence, both major Washington dailies have features in Tuesday's editions discussing John Thompson III and his off-court concerns during his wife's treatment for breast cancer.
"The relationship between him and his wife has been extraordinary," said former Princeton coach Pete Carril in the Washington Post. "He's a family man, he gets help from dad and mom. Everybody's praying for her to get better; in the meantime, he's got to do his job."
When we first heard the news, it was kind of a jaw-dropping thing," said Darrel Owens in the Washington Times. "But you know, he's a strong man, and he has a strong family. And I know whatever they're going through, they're going to get through it. As his players, we've just got to do everything in our power to not put any more pressure on him than he's already put on himself. Whether that be on the court or off the court, we've got to stay strong and do all the positive things that we need to do."
The Washington Times also features a column by Dick Heller comparing the public persona of Coach Thompson with his father, when the elder Thompson held the same role at Georgetown.
"Big John, who coached Georgetown to 596 victories, one national title and three Final Four appearances from 1972 to 1999, was loud, intimidating and frequently argumentative," writes Heller. "Little John, the honcho of Hoyas hoops these days and nights, is soft-spoken, accessible and co-operative."
"Can a school strike it rich twice, more than three decades apart, with coaches bearing the same name but different ways of winning games?," asks Heller. "Right now it sure looks that way."
Following the loss to West Virginia, Georgetown has moved from #15 to to #17 in this week's Associated Press poll, and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today poll as well. Other Big East teams in the AP poll include Connecticut (1), Villanova (4), Pitt (9) and West Virginia (11), which was the same order as two weeks ago.
XM Satellite Radio has announced a multi-year deal to broadcast the Big East men's basketball tournament.
XM, which is battling with Sirius for market position in the growing satellite field, will have broadcast rights to all conference championship events, though it was not disclosed which other sports will receive coverage.
The deal is not school-specific, as some Big East teams broadcast regular season games on Sirius and others on XM. (The two providers are incompatible with each other's signal, so an XM subscriber can't receive Sirius and vice versa.)
Georgetown, with men's basketball games broadcast on WTEM-980 in the District and online, does not currently broadcast with a satellite provider.
The expanded Big East conference has not expanded its 12 team tournament, and newspapers like the Atlanta Journal Constitution talk to various basketball experts to get their thoughts.
"It would have created a whole host of problems that I wouldn't like," said Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese on a 16 team tournament. "Inviting all 16 teams means they would have to play four games. That is not what you want to do to get your teams ready to play in the NCAA tournament."
"The positive is that it's a tremendous league with incredible depth," said ESPN analyst Dick Vitale. "But if Louisville and Notre Dame don't make it to New York, that would be a real negative. If you're a coach, how can you go out and sell your program if you don't even make it to your conference tournament?"
It probably doesn't help to have the president of a university engaging in trash talk over the issue, though.
"John Thompson, the father, always ran away from the game and now I suspect his son, John Thompson III, may be doing the same," said GW president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in the article. Georgetown president Jack DeGioia was not available for comment.
Contrary to local lore, it was George Washington, not Georgetown, that suspended the series following the December 1981 meeting at Capital Centre. A note in the GW Hatchet reads that "GW's athletic staff, which formulates the schedule, decided to end the series for unknown reasons."
With the Marquette Warriors (aka Golden Eagles, and briefly Gold) next on the schedule, here's a note sent to us by a concerned St. John's fan last week over the use of the nickname "Redmen" when referring to St. John's basketball. The letter reads, in part:
"I cannot believe that you decided to call the Red Storm by its former name the Redmen. They changed their name for reasons having to do with the negative connotations attached to their former name. I guess that your love of traditional names trumps a good decision by St. Johns... I can only conclude that you are clueless."
This site reserves the right to use traditional nicknames of schools as used by fans, in addition to those used by their university. As a point of example, Lehigh is still referred to as the Engineers during football season. Conversely, names which have fallen out of use among fans (e.g., Stanford Indians, Oklahoma State Aggies, Virginia Tech Gobblers) are not generally used.
The St. John's nickname is noted as "Redmen (aka Red Storm)" upon first reference, and most readers understand the context. While the decision to become the Red Storm was not universally adopted by the St. John's alumni community (see www.redmen.com), the decision was also a business opportunity for the school to develop trademarks on the Red Storm that they could not with the old name.
The story of Marquette and its various name changes (including the widely ridiculed "Gold") are more controversial. Marquette's internal surveys showed that 92% of alumni and 62% of students identified with Warriors, the school's nickname from 1954 through 1994. Undeterred by consensus, Marquette's Jesuit president would not even allow the word Warrior to be discussed when choosing a new nickname last year, and settled on the very name the school had publicly abandoned a few months earlier in "Golden Eagles". (For the record, the term "warrior" is French in origin and not specific to American Indians, i.e., Joan of Arc was a warrior, too.) More on this issue can be found at the New Warriors web site.
We can debate whether such name changes are the result of social activism, administrative myopia, political correctness, or a little of each, but names like Warriors, Redmen, Engineers, etc. are recognized as such on these pages. (And if Providence College suddenly changes the "Friars" to some gender-neutral term like the "Religious", they'll still be the Friars on this site.)
At halftime, the #15 Georgetown Hoyas held a double digit lead over #9 ranked West Virginia, had shot 59% percent from the field, and had posted assists on 13 of 16 scoring possessions--a textbook first half. The second half was a story of another kind.
With equal doses of defensive pressure and unusually poor offensive execution, the Hoyas were held under 20 points in the second half for the first time since March 8, 2001, as West Virginia pulled away 69-56 before a crowd of 16,253 at the MCI Center.
The game bore a resemblance to the Jan. 12 game at Morgantown, where Georgetown built an early lead, saw it evaporate, and could not find the strength to make a comeback. But the first half seemed to tell a different ending. It was West Virginia who opened strong early, leading 20-13 before the Hoyas put on an offensive clinic against a West Virginia zone defense, led by Brandon Bowman with six consecutive field goals in the first half to help the Hoyas outscore the Mountaineers 20-2 and take a 33-22 lead en route to a 37-29 halftime advantage.
West Virginia came out in the second half focused and alert and back in the man to man defense. For its part, Georgetown did not adjust. WVU erased the lead in the first four minutes of the half, while Georgetown did not get on the board until a Darrel Owens three with 16:05 to play, 40-39. For the next 15 minutes, Owens' basket was the only Georgetown field goal not scored by Jeff Green.
Green, in a singular role once played by Mike Sweetney, dominated with a 21 point, 10 rebound effort that was Georgetown's only option to hold back the WVU attack, led by Kevin Pittsnogle. It was Pittsnogle who, after missing his first two shots of the game, made 10 of his next 13 for a game high 25 points.
Still, midway through the half, Georgetown was within one at 48-47 when a Mike Gansey drive inside continued a WVU inside attack that Georgetown could not answer defensively. With Roy Hibbert on the bench, Green could not do it all alone. Midway through the half, West Virginia was shooting 10 of 14 from the field, while Georgetown was 4 of 13. It was about to get worse.
After a Jeff Green field goal closed the deficit to 54-51 with 6:00 to play, the Hoyas held WVU scoreless for the next three minutes, but its shot selection was wildly off. Three straight possessions ended with badly missed three pointers, and when the Mountaineers regrouped, they summarily extended the lead beyond the Hoyas' distance, 62-51, with 0:49 to play. To this point, Georgetown had scored 12 points in almost 20 minutes, dating to the final minute of the first half.
The seven game win streak was laid to rest in the final minute of play, when the pro-West Virginia crowd reaffirmed MCI Center's reputation as the friendliest road arena in the Big East with a rousing cry of "Overrated!" to the local team. "I live an hour and 15 minutes from here but felt I like was playing at home," said WVU center Kevin Pittsnogle.
The coaching staff seemed equally baffled by the second half turn of events, and no substitution pattern emerged. The five man rotation of Wallace, Cook, Owens, Bowman and Green tired down the stretch, and were vulnerable to inside plays while lacking the touch on the offensive side. Still, GU shot 50% from two point range and outrebounded West Virginia 33-32, but fell into the trap of hoisting three point shots, where they were a season low 2 for 14 in the half. The second half offensive flow was that of a rattled team that did not get adjustments from the bench. After a 13 assist first half, Georgetown's 19 second half points earned just two assists. For players not named Jeff Green, the remaining Georgetown players missed 21 of 23 second half shots.
The win was West Virginia's first at MCI since 1998-99 and the largest margin of defeat by a Georgetown team in the modern era of the series (1975-present). After winning eight straight over the Mountaineers from 1999-03, Georgetown has now lost three of four.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 34 1-2 1-5 0-0 1 1 3 5 Cook 35 0-4 1-5 0-0 4 4 2 3 Bowman 36 6-9 1-5 0-0 11 1 5 15 Green 38 7-11 2-5 1-5 10 2 2 21 Hibbert 12 1-5 0-0 0-0 2 4 2 2 Reserves: Owens 33 2-3 2-6 0-0 3 3 0 10 Sapp 11 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 1 DNP: Izzo, Thornton, Spann, Egerson, Beal, Kilkenny-Diaw, Dizdarevic TOTALS 200 17-34 7-26 1-5 33 15 14 56
Additional articles follow below.
Thanks to MCI's many guests from the Mountain State, attendance for Sunday's game was 16,263. Here are conference totals as of Feb. 12, where Georgetown is 9th in the averages:
It's been ten years since Allen Iverson left Georgetown for the NBA. Sunday's Washington Post looks at Iverson and his return to the local area in a Sunday game versus the Wizards.
Brandon Bowman and Roy Hibbert combined for 30 points as Georgetown posted a 64-41 victory over St. John's before 9,739 at MCI Center.
The Redmen (aka Red Storm) entered the game with a defensive minded unit, but offense was its undoing. The Johnnies missed nine of its first ten shots over the first eight minutes, as Georgetown built a 14-2 lead. Bowman and Hibbert scored 12 points early, many from inside where the St. John's interior defense was suspect in recent games.
The Hoyas led by as many as 15 in the first half at 28-13, before St. John's narrowed the count to 12 at the half, 30-18. For the half, St. John's mustered just 29% shooting from the field and had more turnovers than field goals.
The Redmen opened the second half much as they did the first half, with no scoring and a porous defense. St. John's missed seven of its first eight and Georgetown's 12 point halftime lead ballooned to 26, 46-20. By the time St. John's cracked 30 points, they were down 30, with only 6:00 to play. Georgetown led by as many as 32 before clearing the bench with 3:11 to play, from which St. John's scored the last nine points of the game.
Statistically, the Hoyas did not dominate on its numbers--guards Ashanti Cook and Jonathan Wallace combined for 2 for 10 shooting, Jeff Green had one field goal, and the team missed 12 of 18 three point attempts overall. Still, the Hoyas' diversified offense allowed Bowman and Hibbert to excel while others were in complementary roles, and the roles could reverse itself again Sunday and see the guards take over the game. It's been a welcome change of pace all season long to see various players step up when their team needed it.
The margin of victory was the most in the series between the schools since the 1981-82 season, the first Georgetown sweep of the season series 1996-97 season, and only the third such season sweep over St. John's in the Big East era.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 27 1-1 1-4 0-0 3 4 3 5 Cook 29 0-4 0-1 2-2 4 3 2 2 Bowman 24 7-8 0-1 2-2 2 2 1 16 Green 29 0-1 1-2 6-9 5 2 1 9 Hibbert 21 5-7 0-0 4-6 8 1 1 14 Reserves: Owens 26 0-2 3-5 0-0 2 2 0 9 Sapp 18 2-2 1-3 0-0 1 1 2 7 Crawford 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Thornton 3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 Spann 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 3 0 1 0 Egerson 9 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 Beal 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Kilk.-Diaw 3 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 2 Dizdarevic 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 4 DNP: Izzo TOTALS 200 16-30 6-18 14-19 35 16 13 64
Post-game links follow below.
Veteran sportswriter Joseph White discusses the balanced scoring of the Georgetown starting five in this link to the Associated Press.
"Depending on the matchups, depending on the game, depending on the day, we have different guys that can score, so I think we're fortunate that we don't have to go in and say, 'Hey, this person needs to get 25 for us to win.'," said coach John Thompson III. " We're just trying out how we're going to win the next game, and it could be much different from how we tried to win the previous game."
The team approach is also strong on the players.
"I really don't care how much I score, as long as we win," said forward Jeff Green. "I like grabbing rebounds, throwing out assists, so as long as we win, I don't care."
Georgetown has moved up two places to #15 in this week's Associated Press poll. Other Big East teams in the AP poll include Connecticut (1), Villanova (4), West Virginia (9), and Pitt (14).
Congratulations to all those who were a part of Saturday's Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies --an outstanding event was presented and if you've never attended this dinner, make plans to do so when the next event is held in 2008.
Despite erasing a 15 point first half deficit, Georgetown needed two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to withstand a furious rally at the hands of #9-ranked Pitt, earning the Hoyas a critical 61-58 win at MCI Center Sunday. The win over the ninth-ranked Panthers, two weeks following an upset of then-top ranked Duke, marks the first time since February 1989 that Georgetown has defeated consecutive Top 10 opponents.
The first half was marked by significant inside play. Roy Hibbert scored Georgetown's first three baskets, while Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray proved a strong scoring and rebounding force. After the teams traded baskets early, Gray keyed a 15-0 run midway in the first half, extending the Panthers' lead to 33-18, the largest deficit faced by the Hoyas in Big East play this season. Pitt was relentless on the boards and gave the Hoyas no second chances, and was not called for a foul for the first 17 minutes of the half.
Hibbert was struggling against Gray; in fact, Hibbert missed his remaining four shots and finished with seven points for the game while Gray had 15 by halftime. Coach John Thompson III countered by getting Jeff Green inside against Gray, who seemed a step behind Green thereafter. With the change, Georgetown needed to make a major run to get the game close, and it did, closing the half on a 10-2 run that set the course for the second half.
Down seven at intermission, Georgetown increased its defensive intensity and cut off the Pitt passing lanes, forcing a number of turnovers on poor Panther passing. Brandon Bowman tied the score at 45 and followed up with a three pointer to give the Hoyas a 48-47 lead midway through the half.
From this point, Pitt stalled in its offensive sets. Georgetown outscored the Panthers 10-2 in the succeeding eight minutes, building a 59-49 lead. To this point, Pitt had scored only 14 points in the half, and had been outscored 41-16 since late the first half. With 29.7 seconds, Carl Krauser was fouled with the game seemingly in hand. What followed could have been one of the more stunning opponent comebacks in Georgetown basketball history.
At the line, Krauser missed the first free throw, but made the second. Off the inbounds, Krauser stole the inbounds pass and answered with a three pointer, 59-53, with 26 seconds left. Jeff Green was immediately fouled, but missed the front end of a one and one, which was answered 10 seconds later by a Ronald Ramon three, 59-56. After Jonathan Wallace was fouled, Wallace missed another front end of a one and one, whereupon Levance Fields drove the court for a basket, 59-58. Fields did not try to go for the three, but was instead looking for points in the late seconds, stopping play with only 2.2 seconds left, later changed to 3.6 seconds upon official's review.
"The way it worked out, you're not going to get a better shot," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon in post-game comments discussing the late drive for two and not for three. "We got as good a shot as you can get on the next play. People are going to question it, but we did the right thing."
The result? In 26.1 seconds, a ten point lead was cut to one.
On the inbounds, Darrel Owens was fouled. Owens, scoreless from the field, hit both free throws in two of the biggest free throws of his career. With a 61-58 lead, Pitt still had a chance, and actually found Ronald Ramon open at the three point line, but his shot to tie the game bounced off the rim at the buzzer. MCI Center security prevented a rush to the floor by students, but it's no longer a shocker anymore when Georgetown can stand toe to toe with a Top 10 team.
Thompson's adjustments inside paid big dividends in the final 25 minutes of the game. The Hoyas shot 50% in the second half (12 for 24), while Pitt was just 5 for 20 before the last minute fireworks. Jeff Green tied a career high with 22 points, while Gray was held scoreless in the second half. Ashanti Cook and Jon Wallace also helped shut down Carl Krauser, who averaged 16 points entering the game but had just seven entering the final minute of play.
The game marked the first time all season that Pitt lost a game while holding a rebounding advantage on its opponent (35-23 on the boards).
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 36 2-3 1-3 0-1 2 4 2 7 Cook 37 4-5 0-2 0-0 3 2 1 8 Bowman 33 2-6 2-4 5-5 4 4 2 15 Green 39 5-7 4-7 0-2 4 2 2 22 Hibbert 26 3-7 0-0 1-2 4 1 1 7 Reserves: Owens 23 0-1 0-3 2-2 3 1 1 2 Sapp 2 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 Egerson 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Izzo, Crawford, Thornton, Spann, Beal, Kilkenny-Diaw, Dizdarevic TOTALS 200 16-29 7-20 8-12 23 14 10 61
Game recaps follow below.
Sunday's Pitt game recalls an apocryphal column written early last January by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bob Smizik, who argued that schools like Georgetown, Villanova, and St. John's be summarily dropped from the Big East Conference. "These schools have many things in common, most notably they've all seen better days as basketball powers. They all are going downhill and most don't figure to stop," wrote Smizik.
"Let them form a league of their own where one or two teams would make the tournament every year," he continued. "They probably wouldn't get that many invitations if they remained with the other[Big East] schools".
Since that column was published, Pitt is a combined 1-6 against Georgetown, Villanova, and St. John's. Four of the top seven teams in the conference to date are from schools Smizik argued would no longer be worth keeping.
Attendance for Saturday's game was 13,284. Here are conference totals as of Feb. 5, where Georgetown remains 11th in the averages:
A Washington city councilman has weighed in on the future scheduling of Georgetown and George Washington, according to the George Washington Daily Colonial.
Jack Evans, councilman for both schools within D.C. Ward 2, wrote on his web site that "I have sent letters to the presidents of both Ward 2 universities to play each other at a Ward 2 location next year for the Ward 2 trophy. All proceeds from the game will go to support athletic programs for DC Public Schools."
The two schools met 93 times between February 1907 and December 1981, but not since. GW officials have resisted a series at MCI Center, preferring on-campus options such as its 5,000 seat Smith Center on the Foggy Bottom campus.
GWU president Steven Joel Trachtenberg is open to play off campus, however. "We'll take them anytime, anyplace,” he told the Colonial.
Sunday's Washington Post discusses the efforts by various local schools to increase attendance, with Georgetown's growth prominently mentioned. The efforts of Hoya Blue, which has grown to over 1,000 students, get plenty of credit too.
In athletics news, Georgetown announced Wednesday that field hockey would be upgraded to join the Big East conference next season. The formerly non-scholarship program was one of only three Big East sports not played by Georgetown within the conference--the other two are football (which plays at the Division I-AA level), and softball (which will play an independent schedule in its inaugural season).
There are a number of events on campus this weekend in addition to the Pitt game, including baseball's First Pitch Dinner featuring NBC's Tim Russert, the Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies, and team receptions for track, rowing and tennis.
In addition, the women's basketball team returns home for a Saturday with Seton Hall at McDonough Gym. The women's team has dropped to 1-8 in Big East play and really needs this game to make the run to qualify for the 2006 women's tournament from March 4-7. Your support is encouraged.
For the first time, the NCAA has published its official version of the Ratings Performance Index, or RPI, of Division I teams, which finds Georgetown ranked 30th. The NCAA will update this weekly. There is a strong correlation between RPI ratings and the at-large entries to the NCAA tournament, with most schools with a final RPI in the top 40 earning bids. In 2004-05, Georgetown finished with an RPI of 96.
In addition, the RPI link above will now feature the Pomeroy daily RPI calculation after the former link to Mid-Majority.com has suspended its RPI updates.
For the record, DePaul scored the first two points of its game with Georgetown, but that was about it. The Hoyas responded by shutting out DePaul for the next six minutes, collecting 18 straight points and closing out the Blue Demons in a 64-44 win before 9,258 at Rosemont, IL Tuesday night.
Much as was the case in the game with Cincinnati, the Hoyas struck early from outside and then moved inside. The Hoyas went 4 for 4 from three to build the 18-2 lead, then turned to Roy Hibbert, who collected 13 points and 8 rebounds in a first half that saw the G-men lead by as many as 19 and outrebound the Demons 25-10. Leading scorer Sammy Mejia was held scoreless in the half.
The Blue Demons regrouped after intermission, and on three occasions closed the gap to 12, with a bubbling of support from a crowd which never got over the Hoyas' opening run. Three times the lead closed, but three times the Hoyas responded with runs of its own. DePaul's best run came at the 12:07 mark, when Ashanti Cook picked up his third foul and the Demons closed to 45-32. Darrel Owens answered with a three pointer and Georgetown outscored DePaul 11-2 to put the game firmly out of reach. A key to repelling the runs: Georgetown had no turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Georgetown's three point shooting waned considerably after the first half salvos, as GU missed eight of its last ten from behind the arc. In its place, inside play was key. Hibbert finished with 17 points, with Jeff Green adding 15. For DePaul, Mejia ended the game 2 for 7 for 5 points, while Draelon Burns (4-12, 12 pts.) led DePaul.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 35 1-4 2-5 1-1 1 2 1 9 Cook 23 2-4 1-2 1-1 2 2 4 8 Bowman 28 2-6 2-3 0-0 7 3 3 10 Green 33 4-7 1-2 4-5 7 2 1 15 Hibbert 25 7-9 0-0 3-4 8 2 1 17 Reserves: Owens 26 0-1 1-3 0-0 4 2 1 3 Sapp 16 0-1 0-0 0-0 3 0 0 0 Crawford 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 1 0 Thornton 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Spann 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Egerson 9 0-3 0-0 0-0 3 0 0 0 Kilk.-Diaw 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 Dizdarevic 1 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 1 DNP: Beal, Izzo TOTALS 200 17-37 7-16 9-11 38 14 12 64
Game recaps follow below.
The sophomore class is profiled in this feature from GUHoyas.com.
"I think since we came in last year, with a new coach, he put a lot of responsibility on us," said Jonathan Wallace. "It may have been a lot for such a young group of guys, but that adversity made us grow a little faster than expected."
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