Georgetown Basketball: February 2008 News Archive
Not much good followed the Hoyas in the first 30 minutes of its game against St. John's Wednesday night, but a stronger defensive effort and a run of poor shooting by the Redmen allowed Georgetown to prevail with a 64-52 win before 9,018 at Verizon Center.
The first half was not promising for the Hoyas by any measurement. Georgetown led 16-9 at the 11:53 mark, but proceeded to take a number of poor shots and give up numerous offensive rebounds. DaJuan Summers missed two dunks during a stretch where the Hoyas went 5:42 without a field goal, failing to get Roy Hibbert involved and giving up turnovers. St. John's fared little better, because when Patrick Ewing Jr. broke the drought at the 2:35 mark, Georgetown still led 24-20.
St. John's proved more able working the ball inside, closing to 24-23 before a Jessie Sapp three with 0:57 to play extended the lead to four at the half and ended a 4:45 streak without a field goal. Georgetown's halftime stats were poor, shooting 4-14 from two point range and 37 percent from the field overall. Georgetown collected a ten rebounds and were outrebounded by six.
St. John's kept the momentum going to open the second, scoring on an alley-oop to begin the half and tying the score off a consecutive Georgetown turnover. The score was tied at 31-31 and 36-36 until Georgetown reinvolved Roy Hibbert in the offense, scoring the next four as Georgetown maintained a slight 40-39 lead. A Jonathan Wallace three was answered by a Anthony Mason two, 43-41, but the Storm suddenly ran out of rain, failing to score a field goal for the next six minutes of the game. Some of it was poor shooting, some bad luck, but much of it was due to a Georgetown defense that began to cut off the passing lanes and eliminate second chance points. A DaJuan Summers three and a Roy Hibbert put back brought the Hoyas up seven, 48-41, and when Summers connected on a basket and the foul with 6:42 left, Georgetown led 52-41.
The Redmen made a slight comeback thanks to Justin Burrell, who scored ten second half points and brought St. John's to 57-48 with 2:31 to play, only to be answered by a Summers three to put the game firmly out of reach, 60-48. From a 3 for 10 first half, Summers finished with 21, along with 17 from Hibbert.
Defense and foul shooting enabled the Hoyas to earn the decision. Georgetown held St. John's to one field goal over a 8:23 run in the second half, as the Redmen shot 1 for 7 and committed four turnovers. Free throw shooting was solid--Georgetown shot 10-11 in the half and 14-16 in the game to pull ahead and stay there.
The win was Georgetown's fifth consecutive over St. John's dating to the 2005-06 season.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 35 0-0 2-6 2-2 4 4 1 8 Sapp 29 1-1 1-7 2-2 4 4 0 7 Freeman 26 1-2 2-2 1-2 1 2 0 9 Summers 34 2-7 5-8 2-2 4 1 1 21 Hibbert 31 5-8 0-0 7-8 3 0 4 17 Reserves: Macklin 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 Rivers 17 0-0 0-2 0-0 3 1 1 0 Crawford 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Ewing 18 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 4 2 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov, Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 4 TOTALS 200 10-20 10-25 14-16 24 13 12 64
Post game articles follow below.
Four years from his graduation, former Georgetown forward/center Courtland Freeman (C'04) shared his thoughts with the Hoya Hoops blog on the 2007-08 Hoyas.
"I remember Roy [Hibbert] when he was a 14-year old kid. He used to come up and play with us all the time," Freeman said. "He'd run down the court one or two times, and he'd be done. But he worked so hard, he's such a good person, and I'm so proud of him, because he's a down to earth, great person, he works so hard, and now he's become the great player that he is."
Earlier this season, there were a number of articles chronicling former Georgetown transfer Matt Causey's move into the starting lineup at Georgia Tech. One of Causey's former Georgetown teammates was Ray Reed, who transferred to Cal State-Fullerton in 2005 and is helping lead the Titans towards a possible NCAA berth, reports the Orange County Register.
Since he has been promoted to the starting lineup, Reed is shooting 59 percent from the floor in February and 5.2 points per game overall as the Titans (18-7) battle for first place in the Big West this weekend.
"Look, I got maybe 7-8 games at the moment, so every chance I get to help my team, I'm going to play hard," the senior said. "I look at it as thought each game could be my last, so I go out there and make the most of my time."
Defense was the order of the day as Georgetown pulled away early and never looked back in a 73-53 win over Cincinnati at Verizon Center.
Two minutes into the game, Cincinnati led 4-0, but it was the only lead the Bearcats enjoyed all afternoon. Georgetown tied the game and capped a run with consecutive threes by Jonathan Wallace and Austin Freeman to lead 10-4. With eleven minutes to go in the first half, UC trailed by only four, 15-11, thanks to seven free throws, as Georgetown's defense was closing the passing lanes needed for Cincinnati to mount any offensive attack.
Four Bearcat turnovers in a five possession run gave Georgetown the opportunity to build its lead, putting together a 10-2 run to lead by 12, 25-13 with 6:17 in the half. The Hoyas led by as many as 14, 32-18, whereupon Cincinnati guard Deonta Vaughn hit back to back threes and the Bearcats benefited by a missed official's call on a jumper at the buzzer to trail by only seven, 34-27.
The halftime gift was short lived. A Jessie Sapp three and Austin Freeman layup built the lead back to double digits, and the Bearcats could not close the lead to less than eight thereafter. Georgetown's methodical defense shut Cincinnati down as GU built up its lead after nearly every possession. With 6:35 in the second half, Cincinnati has scored just 12 points and were down 20. The Bearcats managed just one field goal in the final 4:19, coming on an uncontested layup with 33 seconds to play.
Jessie Sapp (16 points) and Austin Freeman led a balanced Georgetown attack, joined by 12 points and five blocks for Roy Hibbert and 10 from DaJuan Summers. After a 9-20 run in the first half, Georgetown's three point shooting was ineffective in the second (2-11) but was not a factor with the Hoyas enjoying considerable success inside. In two point shooting, the Hoyas shot 14-20 or 70%.
The box score tells the story of an improved Cincinnati team, ranked 6th in the Big East entering Saturday's game, simply ground down by the Georgetown defense. Excepting his two threes at the end of the first half, guard Deonta Vaughn was just 2-10 the rest of the game. Vaughn's four threes were the only spark of outside shooting, as the rest of the team shot just 1-7 against the Hoyas. Cincinnati's 18 turnovers were no less damaging, as Georgetown enjoyed scoring advantages on both sides of the ball.
Georgetown has been catching its share of criticism for its February play, but Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin would hear none of it.
"People have been unjustly saying negative things about their team," Cronin said in post-game remarks. They're playing in the deepest conference in the history of college basketball. ... I'm glad we don't play them again."
"I don't really care how we're being judged," added Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "We just want to win the next game."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 31 0-1 2-3 0-0 2 3 0 6 Sapp 29 1-1 3-6 5-7 4 2 1 16 Freeman 18 3-4 1-4 4-4 4 3 3 13 Summers 28 3-4 0-3 4-5 4 1 2 10 Hibbert 31 3 5 0-0 6-8 3 2 1 12 Reserves: Macklin 11 2-2 0-0 0-1 3 0 3 4 Rivers 17 1-1 0-2 4-4 4 1 4 6 Jansen 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 0 Crawford 7 0-0 0-2 0-2 3 0 0 0 Wattad 2 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 Ewing 14 1-2 0-1 4-4 1 0 5 6 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov Team Rebounds 1 TOTALS 200 14-20 6-22 27-35 29 12 21 73
Post game articles follow below.
As the clock begins to wind down on the Class of 2008, the Baltimore Sun asked local recruiting expert Jide Sodipo about the potential of incoming freshman center Henry Sims, playing at Baltimore's Mt. St. Joseph HS.
"As a senior, Sims is way ahead of Roy Hibbert development-wise when Hibbert was coming from Georgetown Prep," Sodipo told the Sun. "I know that because I had the opportunity to scout him for four years and he was a project all throughout his prep career."
Thursday's Georgetown Voice devotes its cover story to freshman Austin Freeman, with a number of interviews with friends and coaches on the impact the 6-4 forward is expected to bring to Georgetown in the years to come.
"It was my opinion that Austin Freeman … was smart enough and savvy enough and had enough basketball talent … to [someday] be in the hunt for the Big East Player of the Year award,” said Scout.com's Dave Telep. “I think he's that good.”
"We could take credit for coaching him,” said DeMatha coach Mike Jones, “but [Austin] gets all the credit for improving himself as an individual.”
"Austin Freeman, since the day he arrived at Georgetown, has been a main component of what they're trying to do,” Telep continued. “Austin next year will be a guy that they're going to count on even more heavily to ease the scoring pressure on a guy like [Greg] Monroe or Chris Wright, and I don't think it's a problem."
In a season where the margins among teams are ever so slight, it took a senior effort to steer the Hoyas past Providence, 68-58, to maintain its standing among the top of the Big East leader board. The win ended a two game road losing streak and maintained Georgetown in a tie for the conference lead with four games remaining.
The game was physical from the start, to the detriment of a Providence team which entered the game dropping seven of its last eight. Forward Geoff McDermott picked up two quick fouls and PC moved to its backcourt to lead the way. While McDermott and center Randall Hanke proceeded to go 1-5 from the field, guard Weyinmi Efejuku was up to the task, keeping the Friars close all half.
Georgetown led by as many as seven in the half, 20-13, shooting 50 percent from the field (8-16) and owing a 12-2 advantage in points in the paint. From that lead, however, the offense reverted to the form seen in the first half against Syracuse, shooting 4 for its next 19 and allowing an erratic Providence offense to stay close in the half. A 15 point half from Efejuku rallied the Friars to take a 30-29 lead at the half, shooting 41% for the half as the Hoyas were held to just 34% from the field and a very poor 2-8 from the free throw line. After starting 2-3 from three point range, Georgetown missed six of seven to end the half.
The Friars threatened to make things even more uncomfortable at the start of the second half. PC went inside for each of its first six possessions, scoring on layup and dunks to increase its lead. Off a 7-0 run, an Efejuku three gave PC a 41-35 lead with 15:49 to play. At that point, coach John Thompson benched Jessie Sapp and Austin Freeman, whose defense sets on Efejuku had been failing all afternoon. In came seniors Patrick Ewing Jr. and Tyler Crawford, and the Hoyas seemed to catch a second wind.
"I felt we came out flat in the second half and that we needed a boost of energy and that came from Patrick and Tyler," said coach John Thompson III in post game comments. "There was no sense of panic since we've been there before. We started getting stops and started making plays."
After a pair of missed layups by Patrick Ewing Jr., Crawford hit a big three to get the Hoyas to three, 41-38. After a Jeff Xavier turnover by the Friars, Crawford set up Wallace for a three, 41-41. The two teams trade baskets before Wallace went to work, hitting consecutive three pointers in a 38 second stretch that put the Hoyas up six, 49-43, with 10:20 left. On the next series, Jeremiah Rivers got into the act, hitting Georgetown's fifth three pointer in a five minute stretch that extended the lead to nine, 52-43.
Efejuku keyed another Friar run that saw Georgetown held to just one field goal over a 4:32 stretch. Efejuku's three pointer with 6:54 to play cut the lead to five, but Georgetown answered with a Roy Hibbert jumper and two pairs of free throws from DaJuan Summers to hold the lead. When Patrick Ewing Jr. scored on consecutive series with 4:31 to play, Georgetown was up 11 and never looked back.
The senior class of 2008 stepped up big in the game, with fine efforts all around. Hibbert matched a personal best with six blocked shots to go along with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jonathan Wallace hit four threes and 14 points overall, while Ewing and Crawford each keyed big series for the Hoyas on both ends of the court. As a team Georgetown shot just 40 percent, but the seniors combined for 18 of the team's 26 field goals. Led by 23 offensive rebounds, the Hoyas held a 42-26 advantage on the boards, 32-14 in the paint, and 27-2 in second chance points. Though the Hoyas' offense was anything but smooth, the defense kept them in the game long enough for veteran leadership to take over.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 35 1-5 4-8 0-0 2 2 1 14 Sapp 22 0-3 2-3 0-0 2 1 0 6 Freeman 20 2-2 0-1 0-0 5 2 0 4 Summers 26 3-7 0-4 5-6 1 1 4 11 Hibbert 32 9-15 0-0 0-1 8 2 2 18 Reserves: Macklin 5 0-2 0-0 0-2 3 0 1 0 Rivers 24 0-1 1-3 2-4 6 1 2 5 Crawford 15 1-2 1-2 0-0 3 1 0 5 Ewing 21 2-7 0-0 1-2 6 4 2 5 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov, Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 7 TOTALS 200 18-44 8-21 8-15 43 14 12 68
Post game articles follow below.
Former Georgetown All-American and National Player of the Year Patrick Ewing (C'85) was named as a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame this past weekend.
A three time consensus All-American at Georgetown and 11 time NBA All-Star, Ewing played 17 years in the NBA and owns career records for points, rebounds, blocked shots, steals and field goals for the New York Knickerbockers. At Georgetown, he owns career records in rebounds and blocks, and is seeking to become the fourth member of the Georgetown basketball family to join the Hall (the prior three were coaches Elmer Ripley, Buddy Jeannette, and John Thompson.)
Ewing retired from the NBA in 2001 and is currently an assistant coach with the NBA's Orlando Magic. He was inducted into the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Finalists must receive 75% affirmative ballots from the 24 electors to the Hall. A complete list of this year's finalists is listed at NBA.com, with an announcement scheduled for April 7 in conjunction with the Men's Final Four.
Over the weekend, Patrick Ewing was named #16 in an ESPN feature of the top 25 college basketball players of all time. A video link for each player selected to date is available at its web site.
Okay, so maybe the Syracuse students aren't so good on telling time. But they can do the math.
The student body at the Carrier Dome rushed the floor with four seconds to play, abruptly ending a huge Syracuse win over the Hoyas, 77-70, in a game which saw the Hoyas turn in its worst first half of the season, only to answer with one of its better second halves, albeit too little to overcome the resurgent Orange(men).
Syracuse started ice cold to begin the game, missing eight of its first ten shots as Georgetown built an 8-4 lead at the first TV timeout. Despite its shooting, Syracuse was already locking down Roy Hibbert inside, picking up offensive rebounds (four in the firs four minutes) and forcing turnovers. When Syracuse guard/forward Paul Harris connected on a basket and foul with 13:07 to play, Syracuse had its first lead at 9-8, and they never really looked back.
A DaJuan Summers turnover set up Donte Greene, who began the game 0-6, to hit his first three and set the Orange wheels in gear, 12-8. Summers fouled Harris on the next series, answered with free throws, 14-8. A Jon Wallace basket was answered by six points in 41 seconds, 20-10.
Roy Hibbert was tagged with a silly foul at the 11:00 mark, sending him to the bench. With an ineffective Vernon Macklin in the paint and spotty defense from DaJuan Summers, Greene was back on the three, 23-12, kicking off a 12-2 run which saw the Orangemen go 5-6 from the field while Georgetown went 0-5. Just like that, Syracuse was up 20 to the glee of the 31,327 in the Dome.
Syracuse pushed the lead to as many as 21 with 2:09 left, 38-17 before the Hoyas closed with the final five points of the half, 38-22. The numbers were, again, grim: 30 percent shooting, 12 turnovers, outscored 12-0 on fast break points, 18-0 on points off turnovers, 16-2 on points in the paint. ESPN analyst Doug Gottleib summarily declared that Georgetown was the "most overhyped...[and] most overrated" team in the nation following the first half effort.
The second half fared better for the Hoyas. Georgetown opened the second half 5-6 from the field, Syracuse 2-8, as the Hoyas closed the lead to 43-36 in the first five minutes. After Georgetown missed four straight on its next four possessions, Donte Greene and Paul Harris pushed the Syracuse count up to 15, 51-36, and an Arinze Onuaku dunk upped the lead to 17, 53-36.
Georgetown would take its next run with 9:29 to play, as consecutive threes from Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp cut the lead to 55-44. After two missed threes and two turnovers, a basket and free throws by Austin Freeman closed to 55-48. A Harris turnover was answered by a Patrick Ewing Jr. layup, 55-50.
Greene halted the Hoyas' surge with a three at the 7:03 mark, 58-50. The teams traded baskets when Onuaku fouled out at the 3:50 mark, with the Orangemen up eight, 64-56. Georgetown added a free throw free throws but failed to get the ball inside, settling for missed threes that held the Hoyas short. Paul Harris' layup extended the lead to 66-57 with 2:11 to play, and the Orange went 11-12 from the lineup to sew up the win.
While Georgetown solved its turnover problem (only two in the second half), it did not solve its inability to get the ball inside, as Roy Hibbert got just four of the Hoyas' 35 field goal attempts in the second half. Largely reversing its first half stats, Georgetown owned points in the paint, 16-14, and took a 10-2 mark in the second half in points off turnovers. But basketball is a 40 minute game, and Georgetown gave up too much in the first 18 minutes to come any closer in the second.
Jonathan Wallace led all scorers with a career high 26, including three straight three pointers in the final minute. Outside of Wallace, however, Georgetown shot 31 percent for the game.
The loss sent Georgetown into a first place tie with Louisville, which currently has a tiebreaker on GU following last week's loss at Freedom Hall. Six teams are now within two games of the top seed.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 34 3-3 6-7 2-3 1 6 1 26 Sapp 31 1-4 3-8 0-0 5 2 3 11 Freeman 30 1-5 0-1 4-4 4 0 0 6 Summers 37 2-5 2-9 4-5 6 3 5 14 Hibbert 26 4-6 0-0 3-5 3 5 4 11 Reserves: Macklin 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Rivers 13 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 Crawford 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Ewing 19 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 0 5 2 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov, Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 7 TOTALS 200 12-30 11-25 13-17 30 17 20 70
Additional articles follow below:
If any group is endemic of the Hoyas' struggles in February, it is starting forwards Austin freeman and DaJuan Summers, who combined to go 5-20 in Saturday's game. In three game increments, here is Freeman and Summers' shooting during conference play:
GU Rec FG Pct Games 1-3 3-0 25-51 49.0 Games 4-6 2-1 21-53 39.6 Games 7-10 3-0 18-43 41.8 Games 9-12 2-1 21-54 38.8 Game 13 0-1 5-20 25.0
Georgetown has struggled at the Carrier Dome in recent years, dropping nine of its last ten. Overall, Georgetown is just 3-11 in domed stadia since the 1995-96 season:
The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog has become required reading for Georgetown fans, and author Dan Steinberg turns in another pair of great stories this week that take a behind the scenes look at the team.
Wednesday's entry talked to senior Roy Hibbert, whose hobby is reading novels from Mario Puzo (author of "The Godfather") and who jokes about a future political bid from himself and guard Jonathan Wallace.
"Fifteen years down the line, after Jon and myself's careers are done in the NBA, hopefully I can be his running mate," Hibbert said. "I think he'll probably do it; he'll take care of the South, I'll take care of the North. He's from Alabama, he'll get the Southern votes and I'll take care of the swing states."
Thursday's entry talks about Patrick Ewing Jr.'s elaborate pre-game handshakes and why Jonathan Wallace doesn't like walking across the Key Bridge. "Heights, water, that's not [for] me," Wallace said.
A pair of columns Thursday raise questions on the Hoyas' recent play.
"In postseason projections, the Hoyas are seen as contenders for in the final rounds," writes Liz Kuebler at the Georgetown Voice. "These facts warrant respect, but some have argued that Georgetown’s recent games have not mirrored the play expected of a team of their status."
"Turnovers, an inconsistent offense, sporadic perimeter play, poor decision-making — these blemishes have sullied a recent stretch against Villanova, Louisville, South Florida and Seton Hall," writes Mike Hume of the Falls-Church News Press. "That the Hoyas emerged from those four games with a mark of 3-1 softens worries of their recent suspect play. However, for a team with national title aspirations, the increasingly unsteady play gives cause for concern."
The Voice has an preview of the Orangemen in Thursday's edition.
Despite two years playing as a reserve to Roy Hibbert, sophomore center Vernon Macklin is optimistic on the future, according to a story in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.
Macklin was tabbed as the Hoyas lead recruit in 2006-07, but he has not dominated the scoring charts as many had expected. "All that stuff about me going in and dominating was coming from the outside," Macklin said. “The people who really knew basketball knew I had a lot to learn."
Macklin scored a career 18 points in the win over St. John's, but is still a work in progress at the free throw line. "I make 'em in practice all the time, then I get in the game, and I start thinking too much", he admitted.
The discussion of referee Bob Donato's late game call versus Villanova was a popular topic among officials Tuesday, with many supporting Donato's ability to make the call.
"When a guy has the ball and gets body-bumped and the body bump forces him to go out of bounds... the referee has two choices," said Hank Nichols, national coordinator of basketball officials, in this link to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Nichols, a Villanova basketball alumnus and former professor at the school in addition to his referee duties, agreed that "he either has to call the foul or call the guy for out of bounds. It's the judgment on the referee's part on what was more important on the play."
"Regardless of how much time is left at the end of the game, if there's a call to be made, you call it," Nichols said. "It doesn't matter the time or score, because if you don't, and it's a meaningful play, somebody's going to get the bad end of it because you didn't do what you were supposed to do."
On Tuesday afternoon, WFAN-AM had an exclusive interview with Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese on the end of game calls in both the Georgetown-Villanova men's game and the Rutgers-Tennessee women's game, where the hometown clock stopped for almost two seconds before a foul gave Tennessee two free throws with 0.2 remaining.
Tranghese told the hosts that referee Bob Donato was "trapped into a bad decision" due to the time remaining but did not criticize the call as the ESPN announcers did. Co-host Chris Russo argued that Villanova should have been awarded the ball out of bounds in lieu of a foul.
The commissioner also discussed the upcoming NCAA tournament, the coaching situation at Providence, and the need for St. John's to reestablish itself in the Big East. The interview is available at the WFAN-AM web site.
ESPN has taken its share of criticism over the call as well, particularly as the announcing crew of Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery, and Jay Bilas roundly condemned the call at game's end
"Commentators should give the officials the benefit of the doubt from the start of any controversy," writes a basketball official at the Duke Basketball Report. "It’s amazing how much the guys in stripes get right, even the stuff that looks so obviously wrong at first. Second, [announcers] should do their best to measure the grandiosity of their pronouncements after only seeing a play in real time. On-site, they have easy access to replay, and at home, we have youtube and TiVo that make our lives maybe even easier. If the [official] kicked the call, the truth will out soon enough; there’s no need to rush to judgment."
A video of the call and other reaction is found at the Washington Post's DC Sports Bog.
For ten years, Villanova has been able to pull off some wild finishes in its games in Washington. This time, it was Georgetown's turn.
A blocking call against Corey Stokes with 0.1 seconds to play set up senior Jonathan Wallace to hit two free throws in Georgetown's 55-53 win, marking Villanova's first loss to Georgetown in Washington since January 27, 1997. Wallace's late free throws were part of a finish where the Hoyas scored just two field goals in the final 8:42 of the game and lost a 12 point lead. Against any other opponent, it would have been a sure loss, if not for the fact that the Wildcats turned in one of its poorest shooting runs in its recent history.
Georgetown opened a 10-2 lead to start the game, including three pointers from Jonathan Wallace (breaking a 0-9 streak over the last three games) and Jessie Sapp. The Wildcats did not fare as well, shooting 1-7, but soon recovered under the hot hand of guard Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds scored 12 of the Cats' next 13 points, including eight straight to shred the Hoya defense. Georgetown, which had apparently not learned the lessons of the Louisville game in getting center Roy Hibbert involved, reverted to perimeter passing, leading to missed threes, and turnovers. The Hoyas went 9:12 without a field goal in the first half, as Villanova guard Corey Stokes scored seven straight en route to a 24-19 Wildcat lead.
Georgetown didn't get its next field goal until the 3:15 mark of the half in a Patrick Ewing Jr. layup, and hit its first three since the 15:56 mark in a DaJuan Summers basket to give Georgetown a 24-21 lead. This too was fleeting as Reynolds continued to work the defenses for points, scoring on a driving layup with 19 seconds and was fouled on a questionable call with three seconds left. Reynolds went 1-2 from the line, but finished with 15 in the half as the Wildcats held a 29-28 lead, holding the Hoyas to 36 percent from the field and 25% (3-12) from three point range. Roy Hibbert had just two shots in the half.
Up 11 at 46-35, the Hoyas lost the ball on consecutive turnovers and Villanova's Dwayne Anderson ended the drought at the 7:57 mark, 46-37. A Vernon Macklin turnover was answered by free throws on the next possession, 46-39. A Jonathan Wallace turnover and a Villanova offensive rebound sent the Cats back to the line for two more, 46-41. A Sapp turnover and a Wallace foul sent Reynolds to the line to close to 46-43 with 5:29 to play, and the game was back on.
Hibbert was fouled inside and split the foul shots, 47-43, but again the Cats were fouled and collected points at the line, 47-45. On the next series, Summers found Hibbert for the basket and foul, 50-45, only to see Reynolds was fouled and add two more from the line, 50-47. After a Jeremiah Rivers turnover with 3:18 to play, Scottie Reynolds missed a close-in layup and the Cats could not convert either of two offensive rebounds for the score, but Reynolds was fouled and dutifully sank the free throws, 50-49.
On the next possession, Georgetown needed offense and got it. In the biggest play of the game, Jonathan Wallace nailed a three pointer to give the Hoyas a 53-49 lead with 2:12 to play, its last field goal of the game and only its third since the 11:01 mark. On its next series, Dante Cunningham was fouled on the drive and sank two more free throws, 53-51. Wallace's next three was way off and Scottie Reynolds sprinted the court for a layup and a tie score, 53-all, for the Cats' first basket since the 7:57 mark.
Despite missing 27 of its last 30 shots, the Wildcats had tied the score and when Georgetown settled for a Austin Freeman three which sailed left, Reynolds took over with 26 seconds, no shot clock, and a likely one on one with Jeremiah Rivers to win the game. In a fine defensive effort, Rivers cut Reynolds off under the basket, whereupon Reynolds lost control of the ball and Jonathan Wallace recovered the loose ball with less than two seconds left. Sprinting along the sideline with overtime looming, referee Bob Donato spotted fleeting contact between Wallace and Corey Stokes which appeared to nudge Wallace to the sidelines.
The whistle sounded, and with 0.1 seconds, Wallace sank two free throws to win the game, though "win" might be an overstatement.
The second half numbers were poor for both teams. Georgetown had more turnovers (10) than field goals (seven), managing just six shots in the final 8:42. Hibbert was held to just four shots in the half, was 5-8 from the line, and collected just one rebound. For the game, however, Wallace's 15 points were big, along with 13 from Hibbert and 12 from Summers--the three accounted for 40 of Georgetown's 55 points.
Villanova's numbers were grisly: 4-31 from the field in the second half, 0-13 from three point range. Guard Corey Fisher, who had scored 21 against Syracuse and 13 against Seton Hall Saturday, was 1-6 in the first half, 0-10 in the second. Scottie Reynolds was held to just 1-6 shooting in the second half but was 7-8 from the line and finished with 24 points. The Wildcats were saved at the line, going 16-18 from the line in the second half and 10-10 to end the game.
The lessons of the Louisville game fell short for a second straight game, saved by some timely defense and some exceptionally poor shooting by its opponent. If the learning curve doesn't take hold by this weekend, Syracuse and Providence will certainly take advantage.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 39 1-2 3-8 4-5 0 2 4 15 Sapp 24 1-1 1-3 1-2 5 3 2 6 Freeman 22 0-1 0-1 0-1 3 0 0 0 Summers 37 2-6 2-5 2-2 8 2 3 12 Hibbert 32 3-6 0-0 7-12 6 1 3 13 Reserves: Macklin 8 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 3 2 Rivers 15 0-1 0-0 2-2 1 1 4 2 Crawford 3 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 0 0 0 Ewing 20 1-2 1-1 0-0 5 2 5 5 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov, Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 9-20 7-20 16-24 35 11 24 55
Post game articles follow below.
Monday's win marked the 20th win of the season, the 24th such season in school history and the first run of three straight 20-win seasons since 1994-97. The Washington Times link above notes that Georgetown is 4-0 in games this season settled by three points or less and/or in overtime this season, and 17-4 in the John Thompson III era.
Among the veteran members of the Georgetown basketball community is one who goes about his business with little fanfare. Tuesday's edition of The HOYA talks with Dr. Wayne Knoll, the professor of English who serves as the University's NCAA faculty representative for the past 32 years.
"Our Jesuit influence and motto is not just lip service, we really value the concept of a healthy mind and a healthy body," said Knoll, who works alongside the University to maintain NCAA and academic compliance for each of the school's 29 varsity sports.
Knoll has taught two generations of student-athletes, and many of them still recall his advice and counsel. "Dr. Knoll was the type of professor that guided you through some of the obstacles that you were going to face in class," said Alonzo Mourning (C'92). "He played an important role in my success as a student athlete.”
Experts had been discussing how Georgetown had been skating on thin ice for the first half of the Big East race, with oh-so-narrow wins over Connecticut, Syracuse, and West Virginia. In an overheated Freedom Hall, the ice gave way in the second half, as Georgetown's 10 point lead sank in a 59-51 loss to Louisville before 20,083 at Freedom Hall.
The game was hyped all season in the local Louisville area, where fans wore white t-shirts to blanket the surroundings and "white-out" the opponent. Amidst all the pre-game rallying, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino made his debut in the arena moments before tip-off, walking onto the court dressed in an white linen suit. The fan response, more suited to Ric Flair than Rick Pitino, sent Freedom Hall into pandemonium, underscoring the heat generated over the matchup between the Big East's leading teams entering the 2007-08 season.
To its credit, the Hoyas were not blinded by the white-hot Cardinal fans, as the game stayed even for the first seven minutes of the first half. The Hoyas took the lead at the 12:49 mark of the half off a DaJuan Summers three, and Georgetown answered consecutive Louisville baskets with points of its own to remain up four. As Louisville center David Padgett closed the count to two, Georgetown's defense began to bottle up the Cardinals, enabling Georgetown to build a lead late in the half with a combination of effective defense and interior opportunities. A run of three layups in a four possession string opened the lead to eight with 4:51 to play, as the Cardinals suffered through two missed layups and a turnover in the interim.
The Hoyas opened going inside to Hibbert to extend the lead to 33-23. For the next 11:52 of the second half, Hibbert did not get a single shot as guards Wallace, Sapp, and Rivers proceeded to pass the ball around the perimeter, settling for shots that played right into the hands of the Cardinals, who erased the first half rebounding deficit to own the boards thereafter. Where Summers could have proven a primary or secondary target he was neither, as his shots fell short with alarming consistency.
On three of its net four possessions, Georgetown jacked up threes that missed, and Louisville ground the lead down to two. Summers then missed two more long threes, and Jerry Smith took a curtain call from his first half heroics, nailing consecutive threes to turn a two point deficit into a lead for good, 41-37. Smith's threes didn't come in rapid fire, however, but over a three minute stretch that saw Georgetown's Vernon Macklin miss two layups, a missed Wallace three and a missed Summers three. And Roy Hibbert? Having made 5 of 7 in the game to date, he was still in the middle, without the ball.
After consecutive turnovers, Louisville extended the count to seven, 41-34 with 9:50 to play, an 18-2 run which saw one Georgetown field goal since the opening minute of the half. The Hoyas looked to recover thanks to Jessie Sapp, whose steal and assist in consecutive drives cut the lead to three, 44-41. Louisville's full court press ate up the Hoyas, who turned the ball over in consecutive trips and suddenly the Cardinals were up nine, 50-41, with 4:41 to play. Down 10 at the start of the half, the Cardinals had now outscored the Hoyas 27-8.
Louisville took the lead to ten as the game wound down, but Georgetown made a late run to five with under a minute to play. Off a Louisville miss, the Hoyas could have made it interesting, but surrendered an offensive rebound that led to foul shots that ended any further doubt.
The teams were rather even in field goal shooting (46% for Louisville, 44% for Georgetown), but the Hoyas three point shooting was as poor as it has been all year: 4-22, including 1-11 in the second half. Any spark of good shooting, particularly early in the half, might have been decisive, but rather than utilizing Hibbert, the Louisville defense forced the Hoyas into poor decision making which each and every Big East team will try to emulate from this point onward.
"I just told them that as long as you play good defense, you've got a chance to win this game," Pitino said in post game remarks. "I told them you've got heat them up in the press and you've got [to] pressure them."
"I don't want to negate anything that they did, they were extremely attentive and turned up the heat a little bit. But you know I think it was a lapses on our part," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "They are a deep team and they have a team that has many pieces that can hurt you. They play well together and that showed up in the second half."
Georgetown, unfortunately, did not.
And that white linen suit? Pitino opted for a business suit at halftime, citing the heat inside Freedom Hall and not a means to motivate his team at halftime. Judging by the result, the change served its purpose.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 30 2-2 0-5 0-0 1 4 5 4 Sapp 30 1-3 1-5 0-0 3 3 1 5 Freeman 28 3-4 2-5 2-2 2 0 3 14 Summers 24 1-3 1-6 0-0 2 2 2 5 Hibbert 30 7-9 0-0 0-0 4 2 2 14 Reserves: Macklin 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 0 Rivers 23 1-1 0-0 0-0 4 1 3 2 Ewing 25 3-4 0-1 1-2 7 1 2 7 DNP: Wright, Mescheriakov, Jansen, Crawford, Wattad Team Rebounds 1 TOTALS 200 18-28 4-22 3-4 24 13 20 51
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Whatever John Calipari exposed Dec. 22 in his Tigers' second half assault against the Hoyas, Rick Pitino picked up on it. Compare the Georgetown statistics by half between the two games:
2FG 3FG AST OPP FTs 1st Half, Memphis 12-19 3-8 11 5-7 1st Half, Louisville 11-18 3-11 9 7-9 2nd Half, Memphis 13-26 0-6 4 17-22 2nd Half, Louisville 7-12 1-11 4 11-15
Amidst the bright lights of ESPN at Freedom Hall between Georgetown and Louisville, senior Tyler Crawford might get six of seven minutes on the floor Saturday night, but has built four years of team leadership off it. As linked off the HoyaTalk board, here is a blog posting from the Unbridled Pragmatist on what Crawford means to the team.
"The winner is in fifth place; the loser’s in 11th place."
So said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins (from the MSNBC link above) in a year where every conference win is vital for a team's post-season planning. For its part, Georgetown has won three games this season in the final minute, and strategy is key. To that end, statistician Ken Pomeroy dissects the end of the Georgetown-West Virginia game at Basketball Prospectus.com to determine how Georgetown's game winning basket fared.
Is there a link between the political primary season and the play of the Hoyas? This link to the Van Buren Boys blog cites a Salon.com article tracking the success of Sen. John McCain's primary run to that of the 2007-08 Hoyas.
"As it happens, the Hoyas have been a near-perfect predictor of McCain's fortunes this year," writes the article. "The last time Georgetown lost a game was the night before the Michigan primary, when Pitt beat them 69-60; the next day, Romney beat McCain. The day of the South Carolina primary, where McCain narrowly beat Mike Huckabee to avenge his 2000 loss to George W. Bush, the Hoyas crushed Notre Dame."
Next up: Louisville.
Thursday's Georgetown Voice talks to junior forward Bryon Jansen, whose three point shot at the buzzer of last week's St. John's game was a big moment for the first year walk-on.
The basket was Jansen's first field goal in his eight games to date. "I don't know if there was any thought process. I've done that at practice just messing around and it's funny because the only spot on the whole three point line where you would ever bank it in was on that exact spot," Jansen said. "I guess it's really true that you play how you practice. I'm not saying I was trying [to bank it], but whatever happens, I'll take it.”
If not for DaJuan Summers, the headlines of an upset of the #6-ranked Hoyas would be blazing across the Internet. Instead, Georgetown's 63-53 win over South Florida gets a lot less attention.
Summers scored a career high 24 points in the win, rescuing a Georgetown team which started the game as poorly as they had done all season.
The Hoyas started the game shooting 1-10 as the Bulls opened up a 13-3 lead. Summers scored the team's first 11 points to close to five at 16-11, but the Bulls, shooting an unreal 10-13 (77 percent), built the lead to 22-13, as Georgetown was shooting a leaden 5-24: 4-5 for Summers, 1-19 for the rest of the team.
The turnaround began with Roy Hibbert, who assumed his leadership on both sides of the floor, and as the Hoyas began to score, its defense put the hammer down on the Bulls' upset hopes. Much as it had done in losing a 14 point lead to St. John's in the first half of its last game, the nine point lead frittered away. A Jessie Sapp three gave Georgetown the lead for good at 24-22, and the Hoyas finished on a 14-2 run to lead by three at the half, 27-24. The Bulls managed just one field goal over the final 8:02 of the first half.
Georgetown opened strong, where consecutive three pointers by Summers and Austin Freeman extended the lead to 37-28. The Hoyas led by as many as 14 in the second half but its ball handling and spotty free throws shooting allowed the Bulls to hang around. South Florida closed to eight with 3:24 left and seven with 1:51 before Hibbert and Sapp closed the door on the Bulls. From its 10 for 13 start, USF shot 11 for 37 (29.7%) the rest of the game in its ninth consecutive loss.
Georgetown enters the toughest stretch of the season beginning Saturday at Louisville. The Hoyas will play three of its next four on the road.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 24 0-1 0-2 2-4 2 1 0 2 Sapp 33 0-3 3-4 2-2 3 5 2 11 Freeman 27 1-5 1-5 0-0 6 1 0 5 Summers 33 4-5 4-8 4-9 9 0 1 24 Hibbert 26 5-9 0-0 3-4 8 3 3 13 Reserves: Macklin 15 1-4 0-0 0-2 3 1 3 2 Rivers 24 1-2 0-3 0-0 6 1 1 2 Ewing 18 2-3 0-2 0-0 4 0 1 4 DNP: Jansen, Wright, Mescheriakov, Crawford, Wattad Team Rebounds 2 TOTALS 200 14-32 8-24 11-21 43 12 11 63
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As Georgetown carried a 17 game home winning streak into the South Florida game, the Washington Post discusses how the growth in home attendance is creating something largely unseen at Georgetown in almost two decades: a home court advantage.
The season ticket base has quadrupled in the last four seasons, and the average attendance to date of 13,329 is the highest of any Georgetown season since moving off-campus in the 1981-82 season.
"We have a great team and a great coach who understands what it means to get the students and the crowd involved," said associate athletic director Kyle Ragsdale. "Now we're developing a home court advantage. We're not all the way there, but we're closer and it's potentially impacting games."
"The fans are terrific. We not only appreciate it, but we need that energy," said coach John Thompson III. "Our fans do a great job of understanding when we're not playing well, when we hit those lulls, that's when we need them."
Patrick Ewing Jr. keyed a second half rally that allowed the #6-ranked Georgetown Hoyas to steer past a tough Seton Hall team, 73-61, before 14,528 at Verizon Center Saturday.
Georgetown posted early leads of 6-0 and 11-6, but could not shake an aggressive Seton Hall defense which forced the Hoyas into sloppy ballhandling and a number of inside fouls. The Pirates picked up six free throws in the first nine minutes, and when Brian Laing picked up a three pointer, the Hall had its first lead at 16-14.
Georgetown continued to struggle on possessions, trailing by as many as there before DaJuan Summers sank two threes in 52 seconds to give Georgetown the lead, 24-21. A layup by Vernon Macklin and a pair of Patrick Ewing free throws built the lead to seven at the half, 33-26.
Like the first half, Georgetown started strong but struggled soon thereafter. A pair of Roy Hibbert baskets inside keyed a 9-4 run which gave Georgetown a 42-30 lead with 14:58 to play, but the Pirates moved to a full court press off made baskets, frustrating the Georgetown guards and leading to more turnovers in the backcourt. As he did in the first half, Brian Laing keyed another Seton Hall rally, this one an 8-0 run to cut the lead to four, 42-38. The teams traded baskets into the late stretches of the game, and with just 6:29 to play the Hoyas held a tenuous five point lead, 49-44.
The game turned on five Georgetown possessions, each engineered by Patrick Ewing, Jr. After Laing's layup to close to 53-46, Ewing rung up a pinpoint pass to Austin Freeman for a layup, 55-46. Following a Pirate basket, Ewing picked up a key offensive rebound and a tip-in, 57-48. The Georgetown defense held, where Ewing broke open from the defense and zoomed in for a two handed dunk, 59-48. On each of Georgetown's next two plays, Ewing contributed a pair of assists, and Georgetown built a 15 point lead, 63-48, with 2:25 to play, that proved the difference.
"[Coach] told me I needed to be more vocal and you need to do some things on the floor to make things happen," Ewing said in post-game comments. "I was fortunate enough to score some points and find some open cutters and take it from there."
The statistics of the game point to a number of contrasts. Georgetown gave up an unseemly 21 turnovers, 13 in the first half, which allowed the Pirates to hang close. Conversely, Georgetown collected a season high 49 rebounds, owing a +28 on the boards. Free throws, which have been a problem much of the year, kept Georgetown ahead, as the Hoyas hit 25 of 31 on the afternoon.
Jessie Sapp turned in another great effort Saturday, leading the way with 17 and 16 each for Hibbert and Ewing. While Jonathan Wallace (1 FG, 4 pts), Jeremiah Rivers, (0-3 FG) and Austin Freeman (2-8, 8 pts) did not fare well, others stepped up, which is the hallmark of a well balanced team. The second half of the conference calendar figures to be tougher than the first, but at 8-1 the Hoyas have earned their place at the top.
"What I have seen so far in the Big East, they are the best team in the league, without question," said Gonzalez, whose Pirates had won five straight entering the game. "They are the best team in the league. They are the elite team in the league."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 26 1-2 0-2 1-1 1 2 3 4 Sapp 34 2-4 1-5 10-12 7 1 4 17 Freeman 34 2-6 0-2 4-6 4 2 0 8 Summers 22 1-5 2-3 0-0 6 1 2 8 Hibbert 30 7-11 0-0 2-2 9 0 3 16 Reserves: Macklin 10 2-3 0-0 1-2 7 1 0 5 Rivers 15 0-3 0-0 0-0 3 0 4 0 Crawford 6 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 Ewing 23 3-3 1-1 7-8 6 3 3 16 DNP: Jansen, Wright, Mescheriakov, Wattad Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 18-37 4-14 25-31 49 10 19 72
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Following Georgetown's win over St. John's last week, a lot of fans were asking what's been going on with the once powerful St. John's program. So too has the New York Post, which reviewed the last 20 years of Redmen basketball in Sunday's editions.
Among the biggest changes to the St. John's program? Dorms. Prior to 1999, St. John's had no on-campus housing and was able to offer athletes a monthly housing allowance of up to $700 a month in lieu of dormitories. Players could live at home and pocket the difference.
But other issues are are play, however.
"I think that there are some Catholic schools that really understand how to be successful and some that don't," said former St. John's coach Fran Fraschilla. "It seems it has taken St. John's a long time to do the things it needs to do to be successful in the 21st century."
Over at the New York Daily News, Dick Weiss asks: "Roberts is asking for more time until his kids mature. But how much time can he expect frustrated St. John's fans to give him, especially when second-year coaches Bobby Gonzalez of Seton Hall and Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, who also inherited bottom feeders, have already started to make progress toward postseason play?"
On Saturday night, Georgetown hosts its biennial Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies at the Leavey Center. Founded in 1953, the Hall is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation.
Inductees for the class of 2008 include Kevin King (B'85, track), Marianne Sullivan (C'87, field hockey), Paul Murphy (C'85, lacrosse), Cathy Taylor (C'89, volleyball), Reggie Williams (C'87, basketball) and Joseph Lang (track coach 1974-83, assistant athletic director 1983-95, athletic director 1995-04).
The classic forward of the 1980's, Reggie Williams was the right man at the right time for a Georgetown program poised to reach for championships. Over four years from 1983 through 1987, he would become one of the program's greatest stars.
The Williams legacy was born before he arrived in Washington in the fall of 1983. The star forward of a Baltimore Dunbar HS team that would send four of its players en route to the NBA and four more to major colleges, Williams was a consensus high school All-American and the top ranked recruit in his high school class. With offers nationwide, the 6-7 forward followed his former teammate David Wingate, who had joined the Hoyas a year earlier. The arrival of Williams sent a message that Georgetown finally had the forward talent to complement Patrick Ewing in the middle.
More on the career of Reggie Williams follows at the Basketball History Project pages. Congratulations to all of the inductees and their families.
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