A pair of late turnovers cost the Georgetown Hoyas a winnable game at Seton Hall, as the Pirates scored the final six points of the game and took a step forward towards their NCAA at large bid in a 62-59 win at Prudential Center.
Georgetown began the game with another change to the lineup, employing a four guard lineup which provided early returns from the field but lacking on defense. The Pirates missed six straight attempts early in the first half giving Georgetown leads of 17-13 and 21-18, but the Pirates stayed close on second chance points and began to pull away late in the first. With Rodney Pryor and Marcus Derrickson in early foul trouble, the Pirates went to work. Seton Hall pulled down six offensive rebounds in a three minute run that saw the Pirates outscore the Hoyas 20-9 in the final seven minutes of the half, much of it from 6-6 forward Desi Rodriguez, who scored nine straight points down the stretch as Seton hall took a 38-30 lead into the break. Seton Hall had doubled the Hoyas on the boards (21-10), 11 of which were offensive rebounds. Georgetown shot 50 percent from the half but was kept off the free throw line in the first half.
Rodney Pryor picked up his third foul two minutes into the second half and would not be a factor thereafter, as coach John Thompson III went to the bench for a new and largely successful lineup in return, relying on Marcus Derrickson, Jagan Mosely and senior Reggie Cameron to steady the team. Georgetown's defense was much more responsive, holding the Pirates to 2 for 11 shooting to open the second half. Cameron and Derrickson combined for nine of the Hoyas' next 11 points that brought Georgetown within one at the 13:09 mark, while its defense continued to frustrate the Pirates. Baskets by Peak, Derrickson, and Hayes extended the Hoyas' lead to 54-49 with 8:43 to play. Seton Hall answered with baskets from Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez, but GU maintained the lead.
More offensive rebounds followed for the Hall but Georgetown's defense stood its ground, and when Peak scored his first points since the opening 16 seconds of the half, Georgetown led 59-56 with 2:25 to play. Needing a defensive stop, Georgetown let Rodriguez back into the fray, as Peak's third foul sent Rodriguez to the line to convert two of three attempts, 59-58. On the ensuing play, Peak turned the ball over, and off another offensive rebound, Angel Delgado gave Seton Hall the lead, 60-59.
Off a Georgetown time out, Peak lost the ball again. The defense appeared to hold on a Carrington miss with 24 seconds, but he grabbed the offensive rebound and Georgetown was forced to foul, whereupon Carrington hit both free throws, 62-59. Following Georgetown's last time out, the Hoyas opted to hold for the last shot, but Seton Hall's defense was solid. With time running down, the ball went to Pryor, who had not attempted a shot in nearly 18 minutes. Falling into the bench, Pryor's awkward attempt careened off the top of the backboard as time expired.
The second half saw Georgetown shoot 47 percent from the field and hold the Hall to 30 percent shooting, but rebounds saved the Pirates yet again. Seton Hall picked up eight offensive rebounds for the half compared to just seven all evening for the Hoyas. Peak and Pryor combined for 26 points but were invisible throughout much of the second half, with only four points over the final 18 minutes of the game. Needing a big game inside from Jessie Govan, he did not produce, finishing with four points and three rebounds. Bradley Hayes rediscovered the art of the hook shot to finish with eight points, but only two after halftime.
"Coach tells us this is an easy time to be divided as a team and stuff like that which we're not going to do,", said Cameron, who had his best game of his senior season not far from his home town in Hackensack, NJ. "We got another home game and then anything can happen in the Big East Tournament so we're just getting ready for that."
"We're the guys out here playing so we've gotta take the responsibility," Cameron told FanRagSports.com.
This was a game Georgetown did not quit or lose hope in, and was right there at the end, but the late game stumbles are a recurring theme with this team. Georgetown managed one field goal in the final 6:27 and none in the final 2:25. That Seton Hall could miss nine of its final 12 shots and still win is a tribute to its defense, but also an indictment of an opposing team that cannot win games late.
Perhaps, in a nutshell, that's why Seton Hall will still be playing in two weeks and Georgetown will not.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 13 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 2 0 0 Pryor 15 1-5 3-5 0-0 1 1 4 11 Peak 37 6-9 1-2 0-0 4 2 3 15 Johnson 15 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0 Govan 23 2-5 0-1 0-0 3 2 3 4 Reserves: Mosely 27 1-3 0-1 0-0 6 4 2 2 Cameron 24 1-1 1-2 3-5 4 0 0 8 Agau 8 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 2 Derrickson 25 3-5 0-1 3-3 4 0 3 9 Hayes 13 4-6 0-0 0-0 2 0 1 8 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Cameron, Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 200 19-35 5-14 6-8 28 12 17 59
With apologies to Chris Cillizza (C'98), today's candidate for the Worst Week In Washington: the Georgetown Hoyas.
Following its 86-80 loss to St. John's before a crowd of 11,277 at Madison Square Garden, the Hoyas became the first Big East school to lose to DePaul and St. John's in the same week in over a decade. The poor play of both games threw more fuel on the fire simmering around the poor performance of the men's basketball program, which is on track for its first back to back losing seasons in 44 years.
If you didn't see the game, one number jumps to the forefront: 22. It was the number of turnovers Georgetown gave up in this game, including 16 in the first half alone. It provided an occasionally inept St. John's team 25 of its 86 points, more than enough to earn the win this afternoon.
The tale of the turnovers began early--a errant Jessie Govan pass on the Hoyas' second possession of the game. Then followed a shot clock violation, a traveling call, and it continued. By the four minute mark, Georgetown had more turnovers (five) than field goals (two) in an early 7-6 lead. At the 12 minute time out, Georgetown owned a 13-10 lead behind seven turnovers, but had successfully held St. John's scoreless from behind the three point arc. That defense was cracked by guard Federico Mussini, whose back to back threes midway in the half sparked St. John's best run of the day. Mussini scored 10 of the home team's next 12 as Georgetown committed six more turnovers (including two within four seconds of each other) in a 17-0 St. John's run to knock georgetown to the canvas, 27-13.
For almost any other Big East team, this would have been a knockout punch, but St. John's is as erratic defensively as the Hoyas are offensively, and back came Georgetown. Trailing 29-15 at the 7:00 mark, Rodney Pryor went to work from the three point line. Scoring 13 of the Hoyas next 17, he led georgetown back with a 17-0 run of its own, capping it with a three at the 2:13 mark to retake the lead, 32-29. A pair of Georgetown turnovers brought its total to 16 (versus just 11 field goals) but GU still took an unlikely 36-35 lead into halftime, behind 58 percent shooting and a 19-11 rebound margin. St. John's was just 1-14 in games this season when trailing at the half, so things looked to be trending in Georgetown's direction.
St. John's went to work after halftime, scoring on four of its first six shots while Georgetown allowed three more turnovers in the next three minutes as the Redmen regained the lead, 45-39. The Hoyas closed to one point on three occasions midway through the half but each was answered by St. John's, but the Redmen were not able to extend its lead past six for a large stretch of the half.
A Pryor three cut the lead to 69-66 with 4:44 to play but the play of St. John's guard Bashir Ahmed was a game changer. Ahmed scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to build back the lead as Georgetown failed to score a basket for the next three minutes as St. John's led by seven, 78-71 with 1:41 to play.
St. John's saw its defense take a lapse and Georgetown took advantage. A Marcus Derrickson three closed to 78-74, followed by a quick turnover in the backcourt that Pryor picked up a basket and a foul, 78-77.
St. John's got back to the line, where free throws extended its lead to three, but on the ensuing Georgetown possession a Pryor three to tie was wide and the Redmen converted on each of its next eight free throws for the win. Georgetown missed all four attempts from three in the final 38 seconds.
The Redmen shot 51 percent from the field after halftime, including four of five from three. Georgetown was close behind at 50 percent, but its three point shooting deserted them yet again, connecting on just three of eleven. The 22 turnovers proved crucial in yet another must-win that Georgetown failed to show up for.
Shamorie Ponds led the Redmen with 24 points, becoming the third St. John's freshman to top 500 points in his first season.
"He's so good that if you watch him you'd probably forget that he is a freshman,, said coach Chris Mullin, earning his first win against the Blue and Gray as a head coach, "He's got confidence in himself and more importantly, his teammates have confidence in him."
The Hoyas were led by 22 from Pryor and 20 from L.J. Peak. Sophomore Kaleb Johnson started in place of Marcus Derrickson and scored 11; Derrickson had seven points and six rebounds as a reserve.
A few of the vocal grumbling from fans heard at the end of the DePaul migrated to the garden, albeit out of the range of the TV coverage. Coach John Thompson III is aware of the calls for his demise.
"First, our fans are terrific and have been terrific. They have experienced some good times with us and now we're at a point, with the way this year is going, I understand," he said in post game comments. "I don't think there is anyone in the building who is more frustrated than I am.
"We are accustomed to winning and not having stretches like this. I know that there is no one who cares more than me. I know that myself, my staff, my guys are working hard and playing hard. And we'll get this thing fixed."
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 36 0-2 0-0 3-4 5 2 4 3 Pryor 35 3-6 5-10 1-2 5 4 1 22 Peak 30 5-8 1-2 7-7 2 3 4 20 Johnson 32 4-4 0-0 3-4 5 2 5 11 Govan 22 6-12 0-1 1-2 3 1 4 13 Reserves: Campbell 3 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 2 Cameron 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Agau 16 1-2 0-0 0-0 7 2 2 2 Derrickson 23 1-1 1-3 2-4 6 1 3 7 Hayes 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 3 0 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Mosely, Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 200 20-35 7-16 19-25 36 15 26 80
It may not be two weeks, it may not be two years. But a bridge was crossed in the John Thompson III era Wednesday in a disturbing, deflating and otherwise inept 67-65 loss to DePaul, a result that will only grow in enmity as time passes.
"The chants were unmistakable inside Verizon Center immediately following Georgetown's 67-65 loss to lowly DePaul on Wednesday night," wrote the Washington Post. 'Fire Thompson!' beleaguered fans repeated as Coach John Thompson III and his players exited the court..."
"Instead of a tough and resilient competitor, opponents openly remark on the apparent laziness and disinterest of the Hoyas," said a columnist at SB Nation's Casual Hoya. "The student-athletes, who should never have to face boos on their home court, are being led down a path that sees them losing out on what should be the best memories of their college career."
There are precedents.
Fans of a certain age recall the night of February 4, 1972, where Jack Magee's Hoyas allowed a length of the court pass with one second left to result in a Penn State tip-in and a demoralizing 63-62 loss. Or, more recently, February 18, 2004, where a 13-9 Georgetown team somehow lost to a St. John's club with just four scholarship players on the active roster, and failed to win a game for the remainder of the season. These were crushing moments for Georgetown basketball, and results that did not end well for its players nor those who coached them.
To wit: Needing a win over the worst team in the conference to keep its fading NCAA hopes alive, Georgetown instead lost to a DePaul team which had lost ten straight, a team that had not won a Big East road game in 13 months, a team which had not won a game at a Georgetown home arena in 26 years. The Hoyas not only lost a 14 point first half lead by scoring two field goals in the final eight minutes of the first half, it scored just two field goals in the last eight minutes of the second half as well. It squandered a four point lead with under 1:21 to play, shot an air ball with five seconds left when the least it needed to do was run out the clock to go to overtime, and fouled the opponent's best free throw shooter with less than one second remaining.
Such are not the expectations of a University which sees its flagship program three games under .500 over the past two seasons, a program which has suffered back to back seven loss results at home for the first time in school history, and faces the growing possibility of a second straight losing season for the first time in 43 years. Such are not the stepping stones for a coach and a program approaching a crossroads.
It should have never come to this. Georgetown opened the game before a liberally estimated but largely empty crowd of 7,896 at Verizon Center with a flourish. Georgetown opened up an early 11-3 lead on the Blue Demons in the first four minutes; a minute later, its second leading scorer, Eli Cain, picked up a second foul and finished with two points for the half. baskets by Jessie Govan and Rodney Pryor catapulted the Hoyas to an 18-6 lead; the two combined for 20 of the team's first 27 points as Pryor scored five straight to put the Hoyas comfortably ahead 27-13 with 9:05 to halftime.
DePaul has known heartache all season but they did not lose hope. back to back three pointers, an accomplishment for a team with the worst thee point shooting numbers in the conference, brought the Blue Demons back within range. Seven straight points from Marcus Derrickson steadied the ship as Georgetown took a 12 point lead into the final five minutes of the half. DePaul was soon able to drive into the Georgetown lane with impunity. back to back baskets from reserve guard Chris Harrison-Docks closed the gap; a Billy Garrett basket closed to within six. With 2:40 to play, Govan whiffed on two free throws and the Demons response by scoring the last nine points of the half. Shooting 56 percent from the field and 60 percent from three point range, the blue Demons shredded the Hoyas via a 17-2 run and a three point lead at the half, 39-36. Georgetown's bench, which has been ineffective at best this season, was outscored 19-2 in the first 20 minutes of action.
Consecutive baskets by Eli Cain extended the DePaul lead to seven to open the second half, but the Hoyas showed a spark of inside play.Baskets by Jessie Govan and Jonathan Mulmore brought the G-men within three, 43-40. An 8-0 Georgetown run led to a 50-47 lead, one which held through most of the first 14 minutes of the second half. Baskets by Derrickson and Akoy Agau brought the Hoyas to as 56-52 lead midway in the half, and with under five minutes to play, GU led 61-56. In games this season where DePaul trailed with five minutes to play, its record was 3-17.
DePaul returned to form with tough inside play and the Hoyas players (and its bench) seemed stuck in quicksand. Consecutive layups by TreDarius McCallum went unheeded as DePaul tied the score with 3:51 remaining. Free throws by Govan returned Georgetown a 63-61 lead, and both teams then went through an excruciating exercise in bad basketball, as neither scored for the next two and a half minutes. Each team matched the other: a missed three, a missed jumper from short range, a turnover. Georgetown appeared to have made the homeward turn when, with two seconds on the shot clock, Govan hit a 16 foot jumper to extend the lead to 65-61.
But as the team has proven time and again, it cannot manage, nor its coaches direct, a consistent last minute defensive effort. DePaul took over with 1:14 to play and went right inside, where McCallum picked up a third uncontested layup. Up two with 1:03 to play, Govan was picked off by Cain, who fed McCallum for another layup, 65-65, with 29 seconds to play.
Georgetown could hold for the last shot--why wouldn't they? A last second shot could win the game; at worst, a late miss forces overtime, where Georgetown held significant advantages in depth. Instead, through a lack of coaching or perhaps the thought that he was channeling the ghost of Roy Hibbert from the winter of 2006, Govan sets up for a three pointer from the top of the key and air balls the shot. DePaul called time out with 4.9 seconds remaining.
The Hoyas could still force overtime if they contained the blue demons away from the basket. They did nothing of the sort, and allowed Billy garrett, held scoreless in the second half, to advance unimpeded down the floor. Garrett drove to the basket and missed a shot at the buzzer, only to have the officials whistle Akoy Agau for slashing at Garrett as he approached the shot. GU's lack of mental preparation, both for Agau and the other four men playing matadors of the hardwood, bordered on the bizarre.
Officials returned 0.2 seconds o the clock. Garrett, a 91 percent free throw shooter, did not disappoint, hitting both shots.
"We knew that they were going to throw it right back to him," said coach John Thompson III "We wanted to retreat and keep him in front of us. We just didn't do it."
Garrett was more direct.
"I got there and I saw Pryor playing in-between because there was someone in the corner. I figured I should try and get to the basket. So I got to the basket and [Agau] had to foul me because I had an open lane and would have had a layup."
The Verizon Center quickly jacked up the arena music to drown out vocal shouting directed at the coach and his team. "Boos at Verizon Center," remarked the CBS Sports crew.
Georgetown's defense down the stretch was embarrassing--the Blue demons connected on four consecutive layups and a foul on a layup to win the game.
This was a team loss. Govan and Pryor combined for 22 in the first half and just 10 after the break. L.J. Peak scored just six points and was ineffective throughout. The Hoyas held DePaul to 39 percent in the second half and even that wasn't enough.
Georgetown's failing three point shooting continues to cost it games. From a 3 of 5 mark to open the game, the Hoyas finished 0 for 8,having missed on 29 of 35 attempts over its last two games. Much as was the case in games this year, any extra shot--a two or a three--could have won this game. Anything from Pryor after halftime (1 for 6) or Peak (1 for 3) wouldn't have hurt, either.
As the season slips away, concerns that the players may give up are also out there.
"You just got to stick together," the veteran Pryor remarked, although the circumstances of four losses in its last five and a dagger in its NCAA hopes may have been sealed.
What did Thompson say to his team after the loss? "Let's regroup and be ready to play on Saturday," Thompson quietly told the press conference.
Winning may be too much to expect at this point.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 33 1-1 1-1 0-1 1 4 2 5 Pryor 36 3-8 2-7 2-2 5 0 0 14 Peak 36 2-5 0-1 2-2 2 5 3 6 Derrickson 15 2-3 0-2 7-7 2 0 3 11 Govan 25 7-14 0-2 4-7 5 1 4 18 Reserves: Mosely 13 0-0 0-0 2-2 2 2 1 2 Cameron 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Agau 22 2-3 0-0 0-0 8 0 3 7 Johnson 18 1-3 0-0 0-0 3 1 3 2 Team Rebounds 2 DNP: Campbell, Hines, Muresan, Mourning, Hayes TOTALS 200 18-36 3-13 20-24 30 13 19 65
Marcus Foster scored 35 points as the Creighton Bluejays ran past the Georgetown Hoyas 87-70 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
The Bluejays (22-5) put four in double figures, but the game came down to one number: three. The Bluejays missed 17 of 18 attempts from three in the Jan. 25 game versus the Hoyas and lost by 20. The Hoyas returned the favor by missing 19 of 22 attempts Sunday and lost by 17. Such was not a lesson learned.
Georgetown never led in the game. Creighton opened the game shooting seven of its first 11 shots as five different players scored to open the game. The Hoyas trailed by as many as nine midway through the first half when Rodney Pryor led the Hoyas on a 5-0 run to close to four, 21-17, and a jumper inside the eight minute mark to close to 24-22.
But Foster would not allow a comeback. Held to 12 points in the Jan. 25 game at Verizon Center on 5 for 15 shooting, Foster came to play Sunday. From a 28-24 lead with 5:48 to play to half, Foster scored nine of the Bluejays' final 11 points of the half on 4-4 shooting, plus two free throws. Six straight points from L.J. Peak still kept Georgetown close despite Foster's run, but a missed free throw from sophomore Kaleb Johnson that would have closed the margin to three with 1:16 to play was a tipping point. Georgetown's guard defense has been especially weak all season, and good teams (and good players) are quick to take advantage. A Foster layup and a pair of free throws extended the lead to 41-33 at the half, as he finished with 15 at the break.
With two exceptions, the Hoyas' first half numbers were not all that bad. Georgetown shot 44 percent for the first half, getting 10 points inside from Jessie Govan, nine from Rodney Pryor, and eight from Peak--the three combined for 10 of the team's 12 field goals. Its turnover ratio took a beating, however, with 10 giveaways that led to 11 Creighton points. Even worse: a miserable 1 for 8 effort from three point range.
Opening for the second half, one would think the coaching staff would have reinforced the need to feed Govan in the pivot after halftime, but either the staff missed the obvious or the players simply did not listen. Perhaps it was the latter, for when L.J. Peak scored a three on the second possession of the half to close to 41-38, it appeared to erase any thoughts that Georgetown couldn't hit from outside. Such is not the judgment of a team with significant post-season hopes.
From a 3-4 start to the second half, Georgetown went cold. In a three minute period, the Hoyas missed four three point attempts and seven of its next eight overall, as Creighton dutifully extended the lead to 14, 56-42. Govan, who had provided some early punch to the Hoyas offense, went punchless, missing three straight in a series which could have brought the lead to single digits midway through the half. Baskets by Akoy Agau and Rodney Pryor brought he Hoyas to within nine at the midway point of the half, but Georgetown again fell victim to the siren call of the three point arc. A missed three from Marcus Derrickson was answered with a driving Foster dunk, 66-53. Back to back threes missed by Peak were converted via a Khyri Thomas layup and a Isaiah Zierden three, 71-55. The Hoyas scored one basket over a five minute stretch with five missed three point attempts leading the way. By the 4:50 mark, Georgetown was down 17, and never contended thereafter.
Much as he did to close out the first half, Marcus Foster closed out the second half: he scored 11 of the Bluejays' final 13 points. Put another way, over an eight minute stretch encompassing the end of two halves, Foster personally outscored the Hoyas 20-15.
Led by a baffling 2 for 14 from the three point line, Georgetown shot just 34 percent for the second half. Jessie Govan's 10 first half points evaporated after halftime, with an early dunk as the entree to six straight misses to end the game. Georgetown got a combined 39 from Peak and Pryor but no points from starters Jonathan Mulmore and Marcus Derrickson, a combined 0 for 5, all from three. Such is not the strategy to be playing games in March.
A resident of Omaha, Akoy Agau scored nine points and nine rebounds but the remainder of the bench combined for one field goal. Georgetown was a tepid 64 percent from the line, with Agau and Kaleb Johnson missing seven of their 12 combined attempts. Foster's 35 points, the most for a Big East opponent against the Hoyas since a 43 point effort from Providence guard Marshon Brooks in 2011, led all scorers. The teams played relatively even in all numbers except three point shooting where the difference - a net six for the Bluejays from three was the difference.
Georgetown continues to run out of opportunities to make its case as an at-large entrant. As noted in December, over the last three seasons, there have been 108 at-large NCAA selections. Only six of 108 teams were invited as an at-large with fewer than 20 wins, and only one of those six had fewer than 19. Georgetown would have to sweep its remaining games jut to get to 18, and has now lost three of four. Villanova notwithstanding, its last four game win streak in Big East play was in the 2012-13 season.
And Otto Porter isn't walking through that door.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 22 0-0 0-1 0-0 2 2 2 0 Pryor 36 4-8 2-8 2-2 2 1 1 16 Peak 36 8-12 1-4 4-5 6 3 4 23 Derrickson 22 0-0 0-4 0-0 3 2 2 0 Govan 24 5-12 0-2 2-3 5 1 3 12 Reserves: Mosely 19 0-1 0-1 4-6 4 2 1 4 Cameron 2 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 Agau 22 4-7 0-1 1-3 9 0 2 9 Johnson 17 1-3 0-0 4-7 8 0 3 6 Team Rebounds 2 DNP: Campbell, Hines, Muresan, Mourning, Hayes TOTALS 200 17-43 3-22 17-26 41 11 18 70
University of Connecticut officials denied an Internet report that the school was negotiating an exit from the American Athletic Conference to join the Big East Big East Conference.
"The Big East would take UConn in everything, but they need to resolve what they're going to do with football," said a source at Jon Rothstein's column at FanRag Sports. "That's the only thing that's standing in the way of a marriage."
"Multiple sources told FanRag Sports that Big East basketball coaches have been in major favor of the league's double round-robin format and one source confirmed on Wednesday that the Big East would be willing to expand to 20 league games if and when UConn became a member in men's basketball."
By day's end, UConn officials issued a statement that read, in part, "There is no truth to the rumors and reports that UConn has had discussions with the Big East Conference for possible membership...We are committed to the long-term success of the American Athletic Conference, and believe the conference is committed to being competitive at the highest level."
Perhaps so, but one post at the popular web site The Boneyard.com wondered if any school was committed to the American Athletic Conference "besides maybe Tulsa" given the league's geographic disparity and the public interest of its members to leave for other football conferences. As many as seven of the 11 AAC schools were courting the Big 12 when that conference considered, but ultimately rejected, an expansion move last year.
UConn has made no secret of its interest in a more powerful football conference, but it has been kept out of ACC discussions by Boston College and was left hanging in last summer's Big 12 expansion talks, which never materialized. A football bid to one of these conferences would be a huge step forward for the school, but in the meantime, football in the AAC has suffered in the process.
A few thoughts to follow:
1. Money cannot be ignored in this discussion. An Big 12 school receives over $23 million annually in TV revenues compared to just $1.8 million in the American Athletic Conference. (Big East schools are reported to receive $4.2 million each.) A ticket to a larger conference remains a goal, but absent it, the Huskies are likely losing money with the extensive travel budget and waning fan interest in the AAC.
2. The Big East has a strong emotional tie among fans, if for no other reason that it is part of its legacy. Games with schools from East Carolina, Southern Methodist or Tulane carry little interest among UConn fans, whose men's basketball team is 12-12 this season. So it is entirely possible that both sides are right: the Big East would take UConn, and UConn has not had "discussions". Conversations, yes, discussions, no.
3. All conferences have fault lines, even the Big East. Any expansion to an eastern school would invite its western schools (Creighton, Marquette, DePaul, Xavier) to push for a team from its region as well. St. Louis was once seen as an expansion candidate but the Billikens have fallen off the map in recent years, with back to back 21 loss seasons and a current mark of 9-17. Wichita State is an outlier, but the Wheatshockers may be looking at the American, not the Big East, as a means of reviving major college football at the school. While the Big East could go to 11 without any serious changes, there would be some pressure to move to 12.
4. Much is made that UConn would have to go to another conference to play football, presumably somewhere like the Mid-American Conference along the lines of Buffalo. There is a scenario where UConn could stay in the AAC for football, which would maintain the league's 12 teams for a playoff but keep the league at 10 for other sports. That may not be palatable to that league, but losing UConn altogether in football puts pressure on the AAC to expand where no strong candidates exist right now to do so.
"Ultimately, how you feel about a move to the Big East comes down to how much you believe that a P5 opening will be available anytime within the next decade or so," writes the UConn Blog site. "If you are pessimistic about those chances, parking football in the MAC and salvaging some basketball excitement sounds great. If you believe a conference upgrade is possible, and that the athletic investments by the school have been made with this goal in mind, football needs an acceptable home. Right now the American Athletic Conference as a full-time member is the best option."
A season high 23 points from sophomore center Jessie Govan led Georgetown to a much needed 80-62 win over Marquette, keeping the Hoyas' tenuous post-season hopes alive for another week.
Marquette entered the game with the conference's number one ranked offense but struggled early. The Warriors led for less than two minutes of the first half as a pair of missed dunks and poor outside shooting failed to provide a lead to build on. Instead it was Georgetown that gained the early advantage, successfully using the three point shot in ways that has eluded the Hoyas through much of the season.
A three pointer from Rodney Pryor three minutes into the game led Georgetown on a 7-0 run to take its first sustained lead, 11-4. After Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski benched four starters in favor of a smaller lineup a minute later, the Warriors closed back to two, 11-9. Georgetown answered with a Jessie Govan three to spur a 9-2 run that put Georgetown up nine midway in the half. Govan answered with a second three to put the Hoyas up seven, but it was the last three of the half that turned the tide.
Down seven with 5:32 to halftime, Marquette whittled into the lead, picking up four straight points from center Luke Fischer and a Duane Wilson layup to close to 30-27. A questionable foul on Marcus Derrickson off an Akoy Agau miss returned Wilson to the line with a chance to close to one, but he missed the back half of the one and one. Consecutive baskets from L.J. Peak brought the Hoyas back to five before Fischer was fouled driving to the basket with 1;20 to play. Fischer missed a foul shot that would have closed to two, whereupon Georgetown scored the final six points of the half to take a nine point lead into the break, 41-32. The Hoyas shot 51 percent from the field and 4 for 8 from three point range, but more importantly held Marquette to 39 percent shooting and just 1 of 7 from three point range.
A pair of early turnovers in the second half proved critical for Marquette, as Georgetown scored the first five points of the second half to extend the lead to 14, 46-32, and never looked back. The Warriors never got within single digits for the remainder of the game as Georgetown kept up the defensive pressure and used its size inside to take high probability shots, avoiding the trap of the outside shot which would have opened the game to Marquette run outs off a missed three. Georgetown led by as many as 20 on three different occasions, holding Marquette without a three in the second half until the final 3:03, with the game in hand.
Jessie Govan's 23 points were the difference in the game. While the Hoyas have excelled with L.J. Peak and Rodney Pryor this season, a third scoring option has been elusive. In this game, Peak and Pryor scored 20 each, but Govan's ability to score up close, mid-range, and a pair of threes proved vital to Georgetown's ability to hold a lead throughout the half. The three accounted for 23 of Gerogetown's 29 field goals on the afternoon, as the Hoyas shot 56 percent in the second half and took home a 39-28 advantage on the boards.
The game was a mirror image of the Dec. 29 game between the two schools in Milwaukee. In that game, Georgetown fell behind early, rallied late in the fist half, but L.J. Peak struggled from the floor and and the Hoyas never seriously threatened thereafter. In this one, it was Marquette that struggled early, rallied, and fell back. Guard Markus Howard, who scored 23 against the Hoyas in December, scored his only basket with 1:40 remaining. Luke Fischer's 10 rebounds from the Warriors' Dec. 29 game was cut in half, while Marquette's 10 threes from that game were cut back and with it, halted any second half spurt.
"I don't know what buttons we pushed today, but we're going to push them again next game," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III.
One of those buttons was junior Akoy Agau. While he struggled on some internal pass plays, Agau was stellar on perimeter defense, with 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.
"Akoy has been outstanding on the boards, outstanding on the boards, and he's just been flying in there, said Thompson.
Govan remained the star of the game.
"Peak and Pryor are two of the best scorers in our conference and have done that consistently, but when you add Govan, it's a much different team," said coach Wojciechowski, whose Warriors have dropped four of its last five.
Georgetown takes a one week break from play entering Sunday's game at #23 Creighton. It's a big game, but when Georgetown is where it is right now, they all are.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 24 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 2 0 Pryor 37 4-9 3-4 3-4 10 0 2 20 Peak 36 6-8 1-2 5-8 5 4 3 20 Derrickson 19 2-3 0-0 0-1 2 2 3 4 Govan 29 7-14 2-5 3-4 8 1 3 23 Reserves: Mosely 23 2-3 0-0 1-2 1 6 1 5 Agau 26 2-4 0-1 2-2 11 2 3 6 Johnson 4 0-0 0-0 2-4 1 0 0 2 Mourning 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Hayes 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 0 DNP: Campbell, Cameron, Hines, Muresan, TOTALS 200 23-42 6-12 16-25 39 17 17 80
During a New York Daily News interview of former Georgetown forward Michael Graham, this item: "Graham bounced around basketball's minor leagues until retiring in 1994, the same year Ewing led the Knicks to the NBA Finals. The player who [once] had academic issues, Graham earned a bachelor's degree in business and is currently working on a master's degree from Georgetown."
Graham was interviewed following a Twitter post by Knicks coach Phil Jackson comparing his current impasse with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony to that of Graham, whom Jackson coached at the CBA's Albany franchise in 1986-87.
"I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze," Jackson wrote.
"He knows the game," Graham said. "He can be a little weird at times but overall he was a good guy...I still don't know why my name would come up in a conversation about him and Melo."
Despite averaging 4.9 points and 3.9 points over a brief 35 game career, Graham's impact upon the college basketball landscape remains the stuff of legend in college basketball circles. His story was retold in an extensive feature in the Washingtonian in 2015, but news of his continuing education may be news to many Georgetown fans.
The sentence structure from the Daily News account may have suggested Graham received a bachelor's degree from Georgetown, but this is not the case. Graham attended Georgetown from 1983 to 1985 and at least one semester at UDC before leaving that school for the pros in the spring of 1986. According to his Linkedin profile, Graham completed his degree at South University in Savannah, GA, receiving a B.A. degree in business in 2014.
Graham will be appearing at a post-game event Saturday for the Hoya Hoop club as part of a podcast with local media personality Tony Limarzi--details are linked here.
A spirited Georgetown comeback against #2 Villanova fell victim to four Georgetown miscues in the final 2:18 as the Wildcats defeated the Hoyas 75-64, all but eliminating Georgetown from NCAA at-large consideration.
Villanova opened with a three pointer eight seconds into the first half, a harbinger of what was to follow, but not quite yet. Both teams opened with ragged outside play, shooting a combined 6 for 6 inside the arc but a combined 1 of 9 outside it. The back and forth allowed Georgetown to stay close over the first seven minutes and take a 12-9 lead with a Rodney Pryor three at the 13:16 mark.
Nineteen seconds later, a Darryl Reynolds basket closed to 12-11. A minute later, a Mikal Bridges basket gave the Villanova the lead, and what followed for the next 12 minutes, Villanova blew the doors off a ragged Georgetown defense. This was the style of play last seen at Georgetown a decade ago, when it was Wallace to Green, Sapp to Summers, and Hibbert with a smile at the top of the arc. Villanova went to work with surgical precision, scoring on its next six possessions, 10 of its next 12, and 15 of its final 20 possessions. Georgetown scored just one basket over a grueling seven minute stretch, as the Wildcats outscored the Hoyas 19-3 and opened up a 28-15 lead inside seven minutes to halftime. Led by Sidwell Friends guard Josh Hart, the Wildcats were unstoppable and the hoyas could do little more than get out of the way. Second and third fouls by Jessie Govan in a seven second stretch took the Hoya defense out of the picture, as the Wildcats extended the lead to 17 inside the final minute of the half. A goal tending call with three seconds to play afforded L.J. Peak his only field goal of the half as Villanova, which committed just one turnover in the final 19 minutes of the first half, carried a 43-28 lead into the break.
If Villanova has any weakness this season, it has been the inability to play 40 minutes of consistent basketball. Such was the case after halftime, as the Wildcat starters which had dominated the first half turned in one of the coldest second halves seen at the Villanova Pavilion in a generation. Villanova opened the second half shooting ten for its first 10 but Georgetown did little to claw into the lead. Six straight points from sophomore guard Donte DiVicinzo steadied the Wildcats and pushed the lead back to 17 at the 11:02 mark. With a scoreless half from starters Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Kris Jenkins, the Wildcats sank further into the mire, shooting 5 for its first 22 as Georgetown mounted a 12-2 run to close to 58-51 with 6:25 left. Within thee minutes, the Villanova lead had all but disappeared.
A 7-0 run brought the Hoyas to the precipice of a significant upset. A basket by Peak closed to 60-53, a Villanova miss followed and Peak struck from three, 60-56. Pryor answered with a jumper to close to 60-58 with 3:50 to play. With under three minutes to play, Hart, Brunson, and Jenkins were a stunning 0 for 15 in the second half and the Wildcats led by just three, 61-58.
And yet, the continuing inability for Georgetown to to close out games was in evidence yet again. With 2:18 to play, down three, Rodney Pryor failed to connect on a dunk but was fouled. What could have been a three point play to tie the score fell far short, as Pryor missed the first of two free throws, settling for one of two and a 61-59 score. A foul inside allowed Brunson two free throws, 63-59, and on the next series, Peak turned the ball over inside. On the next series, the Villanova offensive set isolated Peak from a cutting Hart, whose open three with 1:24 stuck a dagger in Georgetown's upset hopes, 66-59, and the Cats never looked back.
Five possessions sealed the Hoyas' defeat:
1. 2:18: Instead of a dunk and foul to tie the score, Pryor goes one for two from the line.
2. 1:51: Peak turnover
3. 1:04: Peak goes one for two from the line
4. 0:50: Peak blocked down low
5: 0:42: Pryor misses wide from three
Five possessions, two points. In its five possessions over this same period, Villanova answered as follows:
2:08: Brunson hits two free throws
1:24: Hart three pointer
0:58, DiVicinzo gets a layup on a 3 on 1 break
0:46: Peak blocked inside, Hart goes inside for two
0:35: Hart hits two free throws
Five possessions, 11 points. And that's why Villanova will be playing in March and Georgetown will not.
This game might have been lost far earlier than the final three minutes. Georgetown continues its unrequited love of the three point shot, missing 12 of 18 attempts and connecting on just one in the final 7:52. Second half foul trouble to Govan limited his efforts after halftime. The Wildcats spent the final 11:54 in the bonus compared to the final 38 seconds of the game for Georgetown, gaining Villanova seven more free throws than Georgetown for the second half and steadying the ship when the baskets weren't falling outside the free throw line. Villanova led for the final 35:34 of the game.
L.J. Peak scored 18 of his game high 21 points after the break, along with 20 from Rodney Pryor. The two combined for just 15 for 35 from the field, 4 of 143 from three point range. No other Georgetown player scored more than six. Hart led the Wildcats with 25 while DiVicinzo's 15 points, 11 in the second half, may have been the most important points when it counted.
Georgetown drops to 13-12 on the season and must come to grips with the likelihood that the door to the NCAA post-season is all but closed. Over the last three seasons there have been 108 at-large NCAA selections, and only six of 108 teams were invited as an at-large with fewer than 20 wins, and only one of those six had fewer than 19. With six games remaining in the regular season, Georgetown would have to sweep all six (including a return game with Villanova) just to get to 19.
Next up: the Marquette Warriors arrive Saturday at Verizon Center.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 35 0-3 1-1 2-2 1 2 4 5 Pryor 34 5-11 3-10 1-2 9 1 2 20 Peak 36 6-11 1-3 6-9 3 6 2 21 Derrickson 22 1-3 1-2 0-0 5 3 2 5 Govan 18 2-3 0-1 0-0 3 2 4 4 Reserves: Mosely 10 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 Cameron 5 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 Agau 12 1-1 0-0 1-2 1 0 3 3 Johnson 15 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 1 0 Hayes 13 3-4 0-0 0-0 4 2 0 6 Team Rebounds 3 DNP: Campbell, Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 200 18-37 6-18 10-15 30 19 19 64
Two people were hurt Monday when an SUV collided with the Georgetown men's basketball team bus along Interstate 95 in Maryland. The incident was reported in local Baltimore TV coverage Monday night but did not identify the team bus as being involved.
Just after 1:45 AM, The HOYA published the photo above as players sought to assist the passengers of the SUV, who were sent to a nearby hospital. Although no players or staff within the bus were hospitalized, later reports Tuesday afternoon included knee bruises to junior guard Tre Campbell and head coach John Thompson III. Campbell will not play in Tuesday's game.
The accident remains under investigation and the team continued to Philadelphia for tonight's game at Villanova.
Update: The Maryland State Police report is below:
Two people in a car struck by a bus carrying university students were taken to an area hospital, but were the only ones reported injured in a two-vehicle crash on I-95 in Howard County this afternoon.Additional coverage:
A 49-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son were in a Lexus SUV that overturned and were both taken to Harbor Hospital by personnel from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
The passenger bus involved is from Georgetown University and was transporting students and staff. No one on the bus reported injuries to rescue personnel who responded.
Shortly after 2:30 p.m. today, Maryland State Police from the Waterloo Barrack were dispatched to a reported traffic crash on northbound I-95 north of Rt. 100. Upon arrival, troopers found the bus and Lexus were involved. A private ambulance was passing by the scene just after the crash and had stopped to assist. Fire and EMS personnel from Howard County also responded.
The preliminary investigation by Maryland State Police indicates both the Lexus SUV and bus were northbound in lane four of the interstate when, for reasons unknown at this time, the bus struck the rear of the SUV. The SUV traveled off the right side of the highway and overturned. Both occupants of the Lexus reportedly exited the vehicle on their own. The bus pulled off the interstate to the right shoulder following the collision.
The right two lanes of I-95 were required to be closed for about 45 minutes. The lanes are open and vehicles are now only on the shoulder of the interstate. Assistance is being provided by MDOT State Highway Administration personnel.
The crash investigation is continuing. No charges have been filed.
The puzzling reality of a 68-66 Seton Hall win over Georgetown yields two disparate questions: is Georgetown a talented team that is poorly coached, or is it an overrated team that is merely playing to another sub-.500 finish, regardless of coaching?
Georgetown could have made just three point attempts and won this game. It could have made two and won this game. It made one.
Then again, it wasn't just one play that lost this game. For John Thompson III, it never is anymore. A below-average Seton Hall team won its first road game since November 17, and Georgetown once again showed the college basketball world that this team is not making plans in March.
Did Georgetown lose this game before it began? For a team ranked seventh in the league in three pointers, coach Thompson's team opened up with three three point attempts in its first five possessions, and missed them all. In the first five minutes of play, Georgetown was outscored 13-2. What opportunities were lost right there?
For its part, Seton Hall is not Villanova, and the Pirates stumbled offensively and failed to take the game out of reach. Trailing by as many as 12 in the half, Georgetown whittled away at a lead but with limited offensive effect. By the 10:09 mark of the first half, Georgetown had scored just ten points but took advantage of the Pirates struggles inside to close to five with 8:11 to halftime and just one, 26-25, on a Rodney pryor three at the 4:41 mark. It was the only three of the first 16 minutes, and would be the only one for the next 24.
Coaches don't take three pointers, but they do control play calling, and Georgetown's late half maneuvers were an example of Thompson's inability to hold a lead in the final minutes. Two pairs of free throws gave GU a 29-26 lead with 3:11 to play, but the Hoyas responded with three missed threes from Rodney Pryor, the team's poorest shooter at the break with a 2 for 8 mark. An inside basket and foul shot from Jagan Mosely gave Georgetown its only points of the final three minutes as the GU defense, which had held Seton Hall scoreless in the prior four minutes, coughed up 10 points in the final 2:46 as the Pirates took a 36-32 lead into the break.
What opportunities were lost right there?
The second half tightened as Seton Hall opened by missing six of its first seven. GU closed to within two at the 16 minute mark but would not regain the lead until five minutes later following a Pryor layup to give the Hoyas a 48-47 advantage. Neither team led by more than two for the next three minutes, though Seton Hall stayed close thanks to another run at the foul line which has become an all too familiar pattern for Georgetown. The Pirates owned a +6 at the line after halftime and yes, opportunities were lost there too. A 54-all tie was broken on four Pirate free throws, while a wayward L.J. Peak three was quickly deposited for a layup and a 59-54 Hall lead with 7:18 to play.
Back came the Hoyas. baskets by Marcus Derrickson and Rodney Pryor brought the G-men to within one, 59-58. L.J. Peak tied the score at the line but missed the second, a painful reflection of a game where GU's foul shooting indifference cost them at key moments of the game. Neither team scored for the next two and half minutes, but following two Peak free throws and a Peak basket, GU led by two with 51 seconds to play. One defensive stop would win it, but Georgetown's defensive assignments weren't enough as Khadeen Carrington went inside for a layup to tie the score with 36 seconds to play. Georgetown owned the last possession, but Pryor lost another game winning opportunity when, caught in a defensive corner, failed to move the ball to the wing, settling for an off-balance shot that had no chance and settling for overtime.
Overtime at Verizon Center has been kryptonite for the John Thompson III offense--it had not won an OT game since the 2012-13 season in three previous tries, and soon found itself on the backside of a fourth straight overtime loss. Georgetown managed just one basket in the first five minutes of the game and returned the favor to score just one in the last five. Despite good defense across the overtime, holding Seton Hall to just 2 for 7 from the field, the two jumpers were enough for the win.
The hits kept on coming for Georgetown--a missed free throw by Marcus Derrickson could have given GU a two point lead at the 2:53 mark, instead answered by a Seton Hall basket. Three turnovers in the overtime led to lost points, while Rodney Pryor found himself with the ball, again, and lost the ball with five seconds to play.
"Sometimes a player just has to make a play," said coach John Thompson III. "S. I didn't want to go against a set defense and we have some things that we know that we look for. [Pryor] stumbles, fumbles the ball, but him coming off and playing on the same side as L.J. is what we wanted to get to and what we got...[Pryor] probably should have kicked it to L.J., but he lost the ball."
"We just let them get too many offensive rebounds and that really hurt us," said junior Akoy Agau, who played one of his best games of the season while Georgetown got very little from Jessie Govan and Bradley Hayes, combining for just two rebounds. "We lost the rebounding margin at the end of the game and that is something that is going to hurt us all year."
Seton Hall was led with another strong effort from Angel Delgado, with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Georgetown shot 51 percent from two point range which would have been enough if it hadn't been so foolhardy about the three point line. The Hoyas finished 1 for 19 (.056), the lowest percentage Georgetown has scored in a Big East game since the 1994-95 season.
"I don't know what the biggest factor is," said Thompson in a three minute post-game press conference. "Clearly, 1-for-19 is not good."
The loss may have set in motion the elimination of Georgetown from NCAA at-large consideration if they cannot defeat Villanova and Marquette this week. At 13-11, Georgetown would have to win six of their final seven and nothing suggests this team is capable of such a feat. Georgetown has lost six of its last seven to Villanova and will seek its first win in Philadelphia since Jan. 29, 2011 in Tuesday's game.
Georgetown must win four of its remaining seven games (two of which include Villanova) to ensure a winning record; otherwise, it will suffer back to back losing seasons for the first time in 44 years.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 21 1-1 0-0 1-2 1 0 3 3 Pryor 41 5-10 1-7 0-0 5 0 0 13 Peak 38 6-11 0-4 6-8 5 7 3 18 Derrickson 31 2-4 0-4 5-6 8 1 4 9 Govan 17 4-7 0-1 0-0 2 0 4 8 Reserves: Campbell 3 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 1 Mosely 27 3-5 0-3 1-2 1 2 2 7 Cameron 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 Agau 29 2-4 0-0 3-5 11 1 5 7 Johnson 7 0-2 0-0 0-0 5 0 0 0 Hayes 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Team Rebounds 5 DNP: Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 225 23-45 1-19 17-25 43 12 22 66