Georgetown Basketball: March 2009 News Archive
Despite concerns that he is not ready for the NBA, junior forward Dajuan Summers will leave school and pursue an agent in hopes of being selected in the 2009 draft, according to a Georgetown press statement released Monday night.
"We wish Dajuan all the best in his future endeavors, wherever they may take him", said John Thompson III in a brief statement. "He informed me that he is closing the book on his college career and focusing fully on the opportunity to play professionally." Summers averaged 11 points and four rebounds over a three year career.
The departure leaves eight returning lettermen and one incoming freshman for the 2009-10 team, which for the first time since 1992-93 will be without a senior on the team.
Additional links follow below.
In the midst of the Big East's best showing in the NCAA tournament since 1985, even longtime ACC supporter John Feinstein acknowledges the obvious: the traditionally rich ACC has been passed by this season, as discussed in Saturday's Washington Post.
Feinstein also contends that this may not be a one-shot deal, however.
"The Big East's current dominance is something not seen since it landed three teams in the 1985 Final Four, this is more than a one-season blip," Feinstein writes. It dates, ironically, to 2005, when the ACC raided the Big East for three football schools -- Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College -- forcing the Big East to recruit Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, DePaul and South Florida to survive as a conference.
How much did youth and inexperience affect the Hoyas this year? Earlier this week, the Casual Hoya blog analyzed the Hoyas' 2008-09 roster against recent championship teams.
Earlier this year, the Washington Times wrote: "According to basketball analyst Ken Pomeroy, Georgetown's roster ranks 314th among 344 Division I programs and 14th in the Big East with an average of 1.12 years of experience. "Given that Pomeroy credits Mescheriakov with a season of experience, Wright with a season (though he was injured throughout league play in his freshman campaign), and seldom-used walk-on Bryon Jansen with a season, Georgetown is even younger than 1.12 years suggest."
How did individual players fare this season? There are some great numbers over at Hoya Prospectus, but here are just two statistics for comparison.
One efficiency measurement is points per field goal attempt. And as a point of comparison, the 2008-09 numbers are very comparable to the 2007-08 team::
A more detailed statistic is points per possession (PPP), defined as the sum of total shots - offensive rebounds + possessions that end in a turnover. The ratings follow below:
There has been some anecdotal speculation that the 2008-09 team played a lot like the 2004-05 team, which lost games late and settled for the NIT. In fact, the 2008-09 team was better offensively:
Down the stretch, Georgetown could not win the close games. If Georgetown won just two additional games settled by five points or less (among a group that included Cincinnati, Syracuse, Seton Hall, and St. John's), the Hoyas finish 9-9 in the league, good enough for a tie for eighth place, and a more likely NCAA opportunity with a better result in the Big East tournament.
At season's end, a review of the season from the final statistics points out some interesting items.
Here are the final player totals for points, rebounds, and assists:
Here's how GU finished among 16 Big East schools in each category:
GU 71, Jacksonville 62
GU 81, Drexel 53
GU 58, Wichita St. 50
Tennessee 90, GU 78
GU 75, Maryland 48
GU 73, American 49
GU 100, Savannah St. 38
GU 79, Memphis 70 (OT)
GU 69, Mt.St. Mary's 58
GU 76, Florida Int'l 38
GU 74, Connecticut 63
Pittsburgh 70, GU 54
Notre Dame 73, GU 67
GU 82, Providence 75
GU 88, Syracuse 74
Duke 76, GU 67
W. Virginia 75, GU 58
Seton Hall 65, GU 60
Cincinnati 65, GU 57
Marquette 94, GU 82
GU 57, Rutgers 47
Cincinnati 64, GU 62 (OT)
Syracuse 98, GU 94 (OT)
GU 65, S. Florida 40
Marquette 78, GU 72
Louisville 76, GU 58
GU 56, Villanova 54
St. John's 59, GU 56 (OT)
GU 48, DePaul 40
St. John's 64, GU 59
Baylor 74, GU 72
The promising beginning. The lapse in the middle. The scoring drought at the end.
Such was the story of the 2008-09 Georgetown Hoyas, and such was the story of a 74-72 loss to Baylor in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday in Waco, TX. The exuberant crowd of 8,424 at the Ferrell Center saw the Bears rally from a 10 point halftime deficit for its first post-season win of any kind since 1950, while the Hoyas were bounced from the first round of a post season tournament for the first time in ten years.
During the first half of the season, the Hoyas played as well as anyone in the nation, and Wednesday's opening harkened back to the days when Georgetown was nearly unstoppable. Georgetown opened the game 5-5 in a furious opening that saw neither team miss a field goal for the first five minutes of the half. Before Austin Freeman finally missed a three pointer with 12:39 in the half, Georgetown was 7-7 from the field, with four three pointers and five assists, but still led by only three, 18-15, thanks to 5-7 shooting by the homestanding Bears.
Baylor focused on a man to man offense midway in the half and the Hoyas punished them for it. Two back door plays and a pair of close-in jumpers extended the Georgetown lead to as many as 12 in the first half before a pair of Baylor free throws closed the margin to 10 at the half, 44-34. While the Bears shot a healthy 54 percent from the floor in the first half, they had no answer for a Georgetown first half run that stands up statistically with any first half in the last 25 years: 16-21 from the field (76 percent), 10-11 from two point range, 6-10 from three. The Hoyas held Baylor to just seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
Baylor made a halftime adjustment to a zone defense and Georgetown seemed ill-suited to the change. The Bears opened 3 for 3 from the field to start the second half, while the Hoyas opened with a pair of misses from Dajuan Summers, and within 1:34, the 10 point lead was down to two and the game was on. Baylor led briefly before the Hoyas began to move the ball back inside to carve out a narrow lead, but its defense could not stop Baylor from repeated drives along the baseline, alley-oop dunks and close-in jumpers. With the Hoyas seeking to rebuild momentum, the Bears picked up key offensive rebounds at the 15:29 and 14:37 mark, converting each into points and keeping the score tight.
The Hoyas led by no more than five entering the home stretch, helped by a resurgent Summers but hampered by defensive lapses and Baylor's good shooting. A dunk by Summers gave Georgetown a 67-63 lead with 6:10 to play, but as has been the case so often this season, the Hoyas abandoned the verities of the inside game for the three point shot, and its late game defense sowed the seeds for Baylor's momentous win.
Down four, a miss by Curtis Jerrells was saved with an offensive rebound and putback by LaceDarius Dunn, 67-65. Greg Monroe dropped a pass in the paint and Jerrells drove inside for the tie, 67-67. Chris Wright then lost the ball on a bad pass and point guard Tweety Carter brought down the house with a three to give Baylor a 70-67 with 4:32 to play. After an exchange of turnovers entering the final three minutes, Georgetown went outside for a Chris Wright three...and missed.
A week ago, Nikita Mescheriakov was locked in the corner and put up an ill advised three point shot. Mescheriakov was on the bench this time when Chris Wright opted for one more three, and one more miss, with 15 seconds remaining.
After the foul, Baylor connected on two foul shots, 74-69, whereupon Summers hit the elusive three with :04 left, 74-72, the first three in nearly 10 minutes after the Hoyas had missed eight straight. With a quick foul by the Hoyas, the Bears missed the front end of the foul, but without time outs, Georgetown was left with a midcourt heave by Summers that fell short.
"I was just going to try to get close to the basket, but I didn't have enough time so I had to settle for that type of shot," Summers said. "It felt good, but it was kind of short and did not go in."
The story of the game was Georgetown's inability to hold the Baylor line in the second half. Baylor returned Georgetown's first half firepower with some of its own, shooting 67 percent in the second half, 12-16 from two and 4-8 from three. The Bears outrebounded the Hoyas 13-11 in the second half, with 10 assists to Georgetown's five. The Bears' 61 percent shooting for the game ranks among the highest percentages given up by a Georgetown team all season.
Dajuan Summers led all Georgetown scorers with 19, as four starters were in double figures. Baylor also posted four in double figures, as its starting five accounted for 69 of its 72 points and shot a collective 27-41 (66 percent) from the field.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 35 2-2 1-4 3-4 2 6 1 10 Freeman 34 5-6 0-5 1-1 4 2 4 11 Mescheriakov 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Summers 32 3-4 4-8 1-1 1 0 2 19 Monroe 32 5-6 0-0 2-2 3 3 2 12 Reserves: Clark 19 1-1 1-2 0-0 4 1 2 5 Sapp 28 0-1 3-5 0-0 3 0 3 9 Vaughn 8 1-1 0-0 0-0 2 2 0 2 Sims 7 1-2 0-0 2-2 2 1 0 4 DNP: Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 1 TOTALS 200 18-23 9-24 9-10 22 15 15 72
Additional coverage follows below. All three Washington dailies posted wire service reports.
Georgetown has accepted a bid to the 2009 National Invitational Tournament, where the Hoyas will meet Baylor in first round action in Waco, TX. The Bears (20-14) advanced to the finals of the Big 12 tournament this weekend.
This is the first NIT appearance for Georgetown since 2005, John Thompson III's first season at the Hilltop, and the first for the Bears since 2001, which will host its first ever NIT game on Wednesday.
Georgetown was one of three Big East teams selected for the NIT, joining Providence and Notre Dame. Two other eligible teams, Cincinnati and Seton Hall, each of which finished higher than Georgetown in the final Big East standings, were not selected. St. John's accepted a bid from the College Basketball Invitational, which does not require a winning record to participate.
Additional coverage follows below.
The nation's largest conference came up big in the 2009 NCAA tournament, with three number one seeds and seven teams overall.
Louisville was named the top #1 seed entering the tournament, and was joined by Pitt and UConn despite each of the latter two schools having been eliminated in the conference quarterfinals.
Six Big East schools with an RPI under 40 were selected. The seventh ranked school by RPI was Georgetown, at 61.
Here's a recap of the Big East teams selected in the NCAA:
It was improbable that Georgetown could make a five day run in the Big East tournament. Instead, it lasted about five hours.
By the end of the afternoon of the first day of the tournament, Georgetown was gone and soon forgotten following a bitter 64-59 loss to #13-seeded St. John's, the second loss to the Redmen within a week. This marked only the second time in 30 years that Georgetown lost an opening round game prior to the quarterfinals.
Twice the Hoyas closed in the final minutes, and twice St. John's hit the free throws they needed. The Hoyas closed to one, 60-59, where St. John's added two free throws and left the Hoyas 18 seconds to draw up a play to tie the score.
"I think we were a little confused when we came out because one of our teammates [Dajuan Summers] was supposed to be at center and we had so many perimeter guys that we just got confused," said sophomore Chris Wright, as the Hoyas had no options in the final play, getting the ball instead to Nikita Mescheriakov, backed up in the corner with no good look at the basket. His three point shot sailed behind the backboard, St. John's added two more free throws and the Hoya fans were on the evening train home, leaving its coach with a mix of press conference quotes that read like something from the 2005 season rather than as a defending Big East regular season champion.
"I'll take some time to digest it before I figure it out. It's extremely disappointing. They all are," Thompson said.
"There were several possessions we played decent defense for 30 seconds and then all of a sudden the last five, four, three seconds they get a foul, they get a layup; that happens. That happens as we focus on execution."
"In spite of everything we've gone through this year, I don't think this group has not been confident," he continued. "We still struggled but I don't think we've ever shown up not confident that we can go out and play well and get a win. So I don't think it's struggled -- I don't think we've had up and downs in terms of our confidence. We haven't gotten wins consistently. We haven't, necessarily, executed as we should have but I don't think confidence is part of the equation."
The stat sheet was a wreck once again. Dajuan Summers finished 2-8, Greg Monroe 4-10. The Hoyas managed 18 field goals and 15 turnovers, 3-14 from three point range, and gave up more offensive rebounds to Sean Evans alone (seven) than its entire starting five collected (four). The starting five shot 33% from the field, 1-10 from three point range, and were outrebounded 27-19 by the starting five of the Redmen, none of whom stood taller than 6-8.
With its NCAA hopes over and out, Georgetown must wait until Sunday night to see if its 16-14 record gathers any interest from the NIT and two other tournaments picking up what's left of the 2008-09 contenders.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 24 4-7 1-3 3-5 2 3 4 14 Freeman 32 2-6 0-1 4-4 2 2 1 8 Mescheriakov 14 0-1 0-3 0-0 3 0 2 0 Summers 28 2-5 0-3 5-8 4 1 3 9 Monroe 29 4-10 0-0 5-6 8 0 5 13 Reserves: Clark 18 0-0 0-0 2-2 2 0 2 2 Sapp 26 0-0 2-4 1-2 2 1 2 7 Vaughn 10 1-2 0-0 0-0 4 0 3 2 Sims 18 2-3 0-0 0-0 5 1 3 4 Wattad 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 DNP: Jansen Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 15-34 3-14 20-27 37 8 25 59
Additional coverage follows below:
Freshman center Greg Monroe was named the Big East Rookie of the Year Tuesday, hours after the Hoyas' first round loss.
"There are a lot of great rookies, I’m pretty sure it was a very hard decision and I am very grateful for it, but it doesn’t take away from any of the pain from the loss today,” Monroe said.
Monroe is the sixth rookie honoree from Georgetown, joining Fred Brown (1981), Patrick Ewing (1982), Othella Harrington (1993), Allen Iverson (1995) and Jeff Green (2005).
Here's a review of the overall tournament records of the 16 teams heading into the week. Georgetown is one of three original Big East teams to have qualified in every Big East tournament.
Freshman center Greg Monroe was named to the Big East All-Rookie team per a Big East news release announcing the all-conference teams.
On Tuesday, Monroe was named Rookie of the Year.
"It was an ugly game."-DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright
Dajuan Summers scored 15 points in a 48-40 win over DePaul in the regular season finale Saturday, a game where the Hoyas shot just 39 percent against the 15th ranked defense in the conference and missed 16 of 20 three point attempts.
DePaul (8-23, 0-18 Big East) made the first basket of the game and then began a run of futility, missing 20 of its next 22 attempts over the first 12 minutes of the first half. But for its part, Georgetown led by only eight once the Blue Demons got their second basket. The Hoyas led 12-4 with 8:59 in the half, in part due to an 0-6 run from three point range and five turnovers.
Georgetown never pulled away in this one, and led by only three with 8:31 to play, when Summers scored on consecutive possessions to push the lead back to seven, 38-31. The Demons then proceeded to miss five straight from the field and despite the Hoyas' poor free throw shooting in the half (6-12) and eight turnovers, DePaul never closed within seven the rest of the game.
"The kids really tried," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "We're just not good enough yet, in all honesty."
Two players dominated their respective stat sheets. DePaul's Will Walker was 9-23 for 20 points, the rest of the team was a combined 8-30 for 20 points. Dajuan Summers led all Georgetown scorers with 15 points on 6-14 shooting, the rest of the team was a combined 11-29. No Georgetown player other than Summers had more than two field goals in the game. Jessie Sapp, making his last home court appearance as a senior, finished with seven points for the announced crowd of 12,218.
So what happened in this game? Two players and their statistics tell the story. Dajuan Summers was 5-7 from two point range, but he missed six of seven from three point range. Georgetown's insistence on the outside shot when they rank in the bottom half of the league in three point accuracy speaks to a hesitancy to get the ball inside to Monroe. Monroe's stats also tell a story. he got the ball only twice all game, making both shots. It was the first conference game all season where he had less than seven attempts.
Turnovers continue to hasten the slide of the team in conference play. Georgetown had 16 turnovers which contributed to 15 of DePaul's 40 points. Georgetown did not convert a single field goal from DePaul's seven turnovers.
Owing to Seton Hall's upset of Cincinnati, Georgetown's seeding in the Big East was not in play during this game. The Hoyas are the 12th seed and face a rematch with St. John's in the 2:00 game on Tuesday.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 33 1-2 1-4 1-4 1 3 3 6 Freeman 19 1-3 0-0 0-0 8 3 1 2 Mescheriakov 20 2-4 0-1 0-0 4 0 2 4 Summers 33 5-7 1-7 2-4 3 1 1 15 Monroe 33 2-2 0-0 2-2 8 3 1 6 Reserves: Clark 17 0-0 1-4 1-2 2 1 0 4 Sapp 26 1-2 1-4 2-2 5 1 1 7 Vaughn 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 0 1 0 Sims 12 1-2 0-0 2-2 4 0 1 4 DNP: Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 225 13-23 4-20 10-16 42 12 11 48
Additional coverage follows below:
It has been a truism over the years in Georgetown Basketball that early transfers undermine a team's depth by its senior season. And so it is the case with the Class of 2009, where only one scholarship senior remains from a four man group that marked John Thompson III's first full recruiting class.
It was four years ago that Josh Thornton arrived at Georgetown with high hopes, averaging 25 points a game in high school, but after a freshman season where he played in just six games, he transferred at the end of 2006 to Towson, where he has averaged 12 points a game for the Tigers over two seasons. Forward Marc Egerson played for a year and a half at Georgetown, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds before returning to Delaware, where he is averaging 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Blue Hens, and leads the team with a 15.5 point, 10.4 rebound average this season. The third transfer was Octavius Spann, who averaged 0.9 ppg in 22 games over two seasons at GU. He transferred to Marshall, where he has battled injuries this season and is averaging 2.7 points per game as a junior.
The one who remained has distinguished himself among the top players of this decade. Jessie Sapp, Georgetown's first major New York City recruit in nearly a decade, played every game the only way he knew how: hard. "He never gets the credit he deserves, but that’s the good thing about him – he doesn’t worry about it,” said Pitt's Levance Fields for a player who was a cornerstone of the Hoyas' 2007 and 2008 teams. A reserve in 2005-06, Sapp started for 79 consecutive games at guard over two and a half seasons, with memorable games such as 15 points against North Carolina in the 2007 NCAA regional final and 23 points in the 2008 Big East quarterfinals against Villanova. Dogged by a season long shooting slump, Sapp returned to the starting lineup in Austin Freeman's absence and could do so again Saturday. He ranks 16th all time in assists.
Year G FG FT REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG. 2005-06 33 37-91 9-12 63 20 17 2 92 2.8 2006-07 37 123-290 51-81 148 128 45 5 337 9.1 2007-08 34 112-256 44-58 140 110 42 13 330 9.7 2008-09 28 58-158 31-43 102 48 38 5 175 6.2 Totals 132 330-795 135-194 453 306 142 25 934 7.0
Bryon Jansen's college career got off to a late start and ended a little short. A practice player from the Seattle area, Jansen was called up to the varsity for the 2007-08 season after the transfer of Octavius Spann. He played in ten games as a junior, with his three point basket against St. John's a singular highlight. Jansen played in only five games this season before being lost to the season with injury, he was 4-4 at the line in just nine minutes of play.
Year G FG FT REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG. 2007-08 10 1-4 0-0 1 0 0 0 3 0.3 2008-09 5 0-0 4-4 1 0 0 0 4 0.8 Totals 15 1-4 4-4 2 0 0 0 7 0.4
Both will be honored at Senior Day ceremonies Saturday. Congratulations to Jessie, Bryon, and their families.
Perhaps in a year or two, when Georgetown fans gather at Cafe 31 in New York on a Saturday night in March to see their team in the Big East final and argue the finer points of NCAA seeding, the 2008-09 season will be seen in the same light as Duke fans regard the 1994-95 campaign: the ill-titled "Pete Gaudet Season" that saw the Blue Devils start 9-3 and finish 4-15, only to return to its winning ways a season or so thereafter.
Perhaps by then fans can appreciate the 2008-09 season for what it was, a team that never quite adjusted to the talent and leadership void of men like Jonathan Wallace, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Crawford, and Patrick Ewing Jr. They may see the 2008-09 team the way that others see John Thompson III's 2004-05 team, a young club that hit a wall and dropped six of its last eight conference games, but which provided the foundation for greatness to come.
Until then, there is little consolation in a deflating 59-56 overtime loss to St. John's at Madison Square Garden, a game that saw the Redmen come back from a 15 point second half deficit.
Both teams opened the game with a pair of runs that promised a close, even handed game. The Hoyas were hampered early by two quick fouls on Dajuan Summers but Summers was able to avoid a third foul in the first half as Georgetown's defense held the Redmen in check and forced 12 turnovers. Still, Georgetown's inconsistent shooting and seven turnovers of its own kept the game close and the Hoyas managed only a two point lead at the half, 31-29, on a Greg Monroe basket with four seconds before intermission. Georgetown shot 48 percent from the field, St. John's 44 percent, with each team missing only one free throw in the half. Few, if anyone, in the 9.959 at the Garden could have expected the second half to come, which featured one of the great comebacks in Big East history--and one of its most humbling collapses.
From 31-30, the Hoyas connected on a Monroe basket and foul to extend the lead to 34-30 at the 16:32 mark. Its defense had St. John's not just in check, but a virtual checkmate--nothing was working for a Redmen team that could not get a basket. By the time Jessie Sapp had completed a back door pass, the Hoyas led 40-30 at the 12:34 mark, and assorted boos rained down on the St. John's half of the house. The Redmen had missed seven, eight, ten shots in a row and the game was getting away from them.
Sapp turned his ankle a minute later on a drive to the basket, 42-30, but returned to action. A Jason Clark three pointer with 10:40 to play gave the Hoyas a 45-30 lead off a 14-1 run, one of its best stretches of the season. For St. John's, the game and season seem typified by a three on one break with 8:55 where the Redmen still could not get a basket.
After a pair of free throws, Paris Horne got St. John's first field goal at the 6:50 mark, and as they did, it was as if a giant light bulb went off in the team's collective head--they need only look at the scoreboard.
Because a team that started the half 0-14 from the field now trailed by ten, 46-36. That's right, ten.
Georgetown never built enough of a lead, taking time off the clock more than putting points on the board, and its offensive sets had largely gone into a "prevent" mode, once recalled in the 1996 Big East tournament against Connecticut. St. John's needed a spark, and it came from 6-6 reserve forward Rob Thomas, who teamed with Horne to wake up the echoes of a 100 year rivalry and give the Hoyas a run for its money. Instead, there was little run left in the Hoyas.
The defense stopped a second St. John's possession at the 1:25 mark, where Monroe added both free throws, 51-47. Rob Thomas drove inside and was fouled with 51 seconds to play. Thomas approached the line as a 54 percent free throw shooter, easily the biggest foul shooting liability on the floor for either team. What did he do? Made them both, 51-49.
The Hoyas still had the lead and the ball, but its final possession was emblematic of the season as a whole--it lost focus on what to do, how to do it, and most importantly, when to do it. Georgetown could run down the clock but its shot sailed wide; on the rebound, St. John's called time out while falling out of bounds. A recent rules change disallows timeouts while in flight, but neither referee Tony Greene, Wally Rutecki, or James Breeding went to the scorer's table to overrule the decision. Not only had Georgetown failed to score - again - but the Redmen had a chance to tie the game in the final possession. And they were what, 0-14?
Georgetown's defense cut off the outside lanes but St. John's was going inside all along. Monroe fouled Thomas with 2.3 seconds to play and again Thomas' free throws were the center of attention.
The comeback was real: 51-all. All it took to send this one to the "whew!" category of the win column was one good three pointer by the Hoyas, but instead, Omar Wattad's relay throw to Greg Monroe sailed out of bounds when Monroe missed Chris Wright on the sidelines pass with 0.2 left. St. John's missed a long three and the teams were on to overtime, the fourth overtime in the 91 game series, not the first as was reported on the television broadcast and in some media reports.
One need only recount a statistic from last season to measure the failure of the 2008-09 season, From 2006 to 2008, the Georgetown Hoyas never lost an overtime game, and were a remarkable 8-0 in games decided by three or fewer points. This year's team has no such track record, having already lost two overtime games. Its last five minutes--its last five minutes as a plausible NCAA contender-- were more of the same.
Georgetown opened the overtime but could not connect, and the Redmen took the lead 53-51 with 4:02 to play. Dajuan Summers hit a big three to revive the Hoyas, 54-53. St. John's had a nice run inside and continued to work against a self-doubting inside game for the Hoyas. Thomas got inside with 2:15 to play to score, 55-54, while Monroe was fouled and sank his free throws, 56-55, with 2:06 to play. Again Thomas was fouled inside and again the 54% free throw shooter laid waste to his numbers, hitting two more, 56-55. Georgetown needed an answer and failed to do so, when Jessie Sapp was called for charging at the 1:57 mark.
St. John's uncharacteristically went outside in its next possession, launching a three pointer that missed, as the Redmen quickly fouled Nikita Mescheriakov with 1:36 to play. Georgetown had the lead, the ball, and two free throws, but both free throws pulled up short, and St. John's took command. St. John's guard D.J. Kennedy was fouled with 1:15 to play and hit both shots, an 11-11 run on free throws in the final five minutes of regulation and into overtime. Down one with 47 seconds left, Monroe's inside pass to Summers sailed high out of bounds.
Georgetown could have taken a quick foul to stop the clock with under 40 seconds to play, but instead allowed St. John's to work down the clock. Thomas got inside for a dunk with 10 seconds remaining that sent the half-empty Garden into a roar, 59-56.
Georgetown had one final possession, but it was not much of one. The Hoyas never found a good shot and Dajuan Summers' three point attempt showed it. Up 15 points, Georgetown had given up one of the largest leads in school history, ending a five game win streak against St. John's dating to a 76-67 loss to the 8-14 Redmen in the 2004-05 season.
If Norm Roberts (19 games under .500 in his fifth season at the St. John's helm) was under fire this season, Tuesday's game was a fire hydrant. For a team which had been publicly embarrassed at the Garden when "Let's Go Orange" was belted out by the crowd during Syracuse's 21 point rout there, Tuesday's win reaffirmed the Roberts program.
"It was definitely one of the best games I've been a part of as a coach," Roberts said. "I was really proud of our guys. They never gave up even when we got down by 15. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We couldn't make layups, we couldn't finish plays, we were fumbling balls. But I thought our guys showed tremendous character and toughness in staying with it. We constantly told them, `Don't let your offense affect your defense. Stay with your defense. Stay strong, we're going to make some shots.' And I thought all of our guys, to a man, all stepped up and made big plays."
"Realistically, I thought we could get back in the game, I really did. I told them that we had to get some stops. And I think what happened was D.J. [Kennedy] might have gone to the line twice, made two free throws and then boom, it's a 12-point game and you're right there. We just kept telling our guys, `Grind it out. Let's get some stops.' And then we told them, `Guys, get stops and then just push it as hard as you can in transition. Forget about going against their set-up defense. Push it and let's try to score."
"I think we did the little things, hustling for loose balls and getting rebounds, being solid on defense," said Paris Horne. Making them run down to five seconds on their shot clock and not fouling."
For the two time Big East season regular champs, post-game plaudits have become hard to come by for a Georgetown team now ranked among the four bottom teams in the conference.
"We have made some progress in some areas and not in others. That is probably the best I can answer that right now," said John Thompson III.
Greg Monroe led all Georgetown scorers with 18--he scored seven of the team's final 10 points over the last 15 minutes of play. Dajuan Summers managed just one two point field goal and ten points overall, while Chris Wright had nine points and five assists.
St. John's moves to 15-15 on the season and can qualify for its first post-season bid since the 2003 NIT title (won over Georgetown but vacated due to NCAA violations) with a win either Saturday versus Notre Dame, or in Tuesday's first round of the Big East tournament.
The Hoyas return home Saturday in the worst of circumstances: eliminated from NCAA contention, playing an 8-21 DePaul team before what could be the smallest Big East crowd in John Thompson's five years at Verizon Center. Georgetown will be playing to avoid tying a record 12th Big East loss, while DePaul will be trying to avoid a first ever 0-18 mark in conference play. Both teams advance this year to the tournament; if the previous 12 team format were in place, the defending #1 seed might not have been invited at all.
Coming Thursday: where this ranks among Georgetown's disappointing late-game finishes.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 42 3-7 1-3 0-0 5 5 2 9 Sapp 31 1-4 1-2 0-0 2 0 1 5 Mescheriakov 20 1-2 0-1 0-2 1 0 2 2 Summers 27 1-3 2-6 2-2 1 2 4 10 Monroe 30 6-9 0-0 6-9 5 1 3 18 Reserves: Clark 31 1-4 1-1 1-2 3 0 1 6 Vaughn 12 1-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 1 2 Sims 19 2-4 0-0 0-0 3 2 3 4 Wattad 10 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 1 1 0 DNP: Jansen, Freeman Team Rebounds 3 TOTALS 225 16-36 5-15 9-16 25 11 18 56
Additional coverage follows below:
Over the weekend, it was announced that the NBA's Miami Heat will retire Alonzo Mourning's #33 jersey at a ceremony March 30 in Miami. Congratulations to Alonzo and his family on the honor.
Despite 25 turnovers and one field goal in the final 6:12, the Georgetown Hoyas held on to their post-season lives in a 56-54 upset of #10-ranked Villanova at Wachovia Center Saturday, its first win over a ranked team since January 15.
The first half began with an Dajuan Summers airball, emblematic of a first half filled with poor shooting and turnovers by both teams. By the midway point of the first half, Villanova led 11-8, as the two teams were a combined 6 for 23, 0 for 10 from three point range. Georgetown posted six turnovers over nine possessions early in the half, while Villanova was 3-16 from the floor, picking up the majority of its points from the foul line.
After a run where neither team scored for nearly two minutes, a Summers three with 6:56 in the half broke a 14-14 all tie and began a remarkable run by the Hoyas to close the half. With the exception of a missed jumper by center Henry Sims at the 6:03 mark, Georgetown made the remaining six field goals of the half, while Villanova went 2-5 with three turnovers. Villanova had closed to one before a pair of Chris Wright baskets extended the lead, and when Wright picked up a rebound with :06 left and found freshman center Greg Monroe streaking to the basket, Monroe's buzzer-beating layup gave the Hoyas a five point lead, 32-27. The Hoyas ended the half shooting 56 percent from the field to just 29 percent for Villanova--each team converted 11 points off a combined 22 turnovers, while the Wildcats had 10 more free throws in the books by halftime.
In each of its next four possessions, the Hoyas turned the ball over, and the Wildcats responded. Reggie Redding closed the lead to six at the 8:13 mark, 50-44, to four a minute later, 50-46, and a pair of free throws by Dwayne Anderson cut the lead to two, 50-48, with 6:46 remaining. Once again the Hoyas bent but did not break, as Jessie Sapp drive to the basket for a critical layup with 6:12 to play, 52-48. When Dante Cunningham answered with a jumper at the 5:02 mark, 52-50, it marked the onset of five minutes of attrition: the two clubs would combine for just one field goal each down the stretch.
In its next possession, up two, the Hoyas lost track of the shot clock, forcing Wright to launch an errant three, but Sapp picked off Scottie Reynolds on the next series. Unfortunately for Georgetown, with the clock again running out, Sapp missed wide on a three. On its next series, with Georgetown's defense tightening, Villanova chose to move away from the inside game that had picked up fouls throughout the game and put the ball in the hand of Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds' three for the lead missed, but Henry Sims lost the ball on the next series, and Shane Clark fed Reynolds, who missed an open jumper.
Chris Wright was fouled on the next possession, but missed the front half of a one on one, whereupon the Wildcats missed a long three and the Hoyas were back in possession...for now, anyway. With 1:39 to play, Austin Freeman drove into traffic and picked up his fifth foul, but on the next series Reynolds's shot was off again and Georgetown got the ball back, only to see Chris Wright's uncontested layup get blocked by a trailing Dante Cunningham.
With 1:15 to play, the Hoyas were in desperate need of points. CBS-TV's Len Elmore had been insistent that the Hoyas get the ball inside to Greg Monroe, who was 4-4 in the first half but who had not taken a shot since the 13:05 mark. Monroe missed a short jumper, but the Hoyas picked up its first offensive rebound in nearly eight minutes and Wright drove to the basket for a layup, 54-51, with :45 left.
No Georgetown-Villanova game passes without some controversy, and Saturday was no exception. On the Cats' next possession, Reggie Redding's pass to Corey Stokes sailed out of bounds, but there was question as to whether Jason Clark had touched it en route. The referees called it quickly and without comment gave the ball back to Georgetown with 36 seconds, only to see Clark lose the ball five seconds later.
Yet again, Villanova had a chance to close the lead. Rather than go for a quick two, Stokes launched a three with 11 seconds to play, which missed, and Wright was quickly fouled. He sank both free throws with 10 seconds left, 56-51, only to see Stokes close it on a three pointer five seconds later, 56-54. On the inbound, with two Villanova guards on the bench, Wright raced down the sidelines with the inbounds pass and the Villanova big men could not catch him, as Georgetown took an improbable but none more important win.
"You go through what we've gone through and hopefully, you learn," said coach John Thompson III. "Today when there was a bad possession, it didn't linger as long as it has in the past."
And there were plenty of those. For the game, Villanova collected 25 Georgetown turnovers, the second most surrendered by a Georgetown team in any Big East game ever. Of Villanova's 54 points, 22 came from turnover. Dajuan Summers's eight turnovers was the most by a Georgetown player since Jeff Green in a six point road loss to Marquette in 2006.
But where the Hoyas giveth, they also did their share of taking away. The Hoyas forced 20 Villanova turnovers and held the Wildcats to 33 percent shooting, just 3-16 from there point range. From the time between the 15:09 mark the second half to the final shot, Villanova missed all six attempts from three.
Dajuan Summers led the Hoyas with 16 points, including six straight during a key second half stretch. Chris Wright had 13, and Nikita Mescheriakov had eight in the first half and 11 overall, a career high. Greg Monroe, with 8 points on 4-4 shooting in the first half, did not score in only two shots in the second, while Austin Freeman, who got into foul trouble early in the first half, finished with just two points.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wright 36 5-7 0-3 3-5 4 5 1 13 Freeman 16 1-2 0-1 0-0 2 1 5 2 Mescheriakov 21 3-3 1-2 2-2 3 1 3 11 Summers 29 2-2 3-6 3-3 2 1 3 16 Monroe 30 4-8 0-0 0-0 4 3 3 8 Reserves: Clark 25 2-3 0-1 0-0 4 3 2 4 Sapp 17 1-2 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 2 Vaughn 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Sims 16 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 1 3 0 DNP: Jansen, Wattad Team Rebounds 7 TOTALS 200 18-29 4-16 8-10 29 15 20 56
Post game articles follow below.
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