Georgetown Basketball: December 2007 News Archive
The ball dropped a few hours early for Fordham.
Five Georgetown players scored in double figures as Georgetown ran over the Rams, 82-55 at Verizon Center Monday.
The first eleven minutes of the half may have been as close to flawless as any team this year. Georgetown opened the game with a 10-2 run, scoring on 5 of its first 8 shots. A pair of jonathan Wallace jumpers extended the lead to 20-8, the latter being Wallace's 190th career three, a new school record. The Hoyas held a 10-4 rebounding edge in extending the lead to 29-8, then extended the pain with a 13-3 run that, at one point, had Georgetown hitting 12 straight shots and 17-20 from the floor overall, versus just 4-20 for the shell shocked Rams.
Marcus Stout was the only bright note for the Rams all afternoon. He rescued the Rams late in the half, hitting four threes in a row to close to 46-23, but a pair of jumpers from Roy Hibbert and an Austin Freeman three gave GU a 50-25 halftime lead.
After the half opened with Roy Hibbert's first ever three pointer, defense was the order of the afternoon. Thanks to Stout, Fordham had shot 4-6 from three point range in the first half, but managed only 2-9 in the second as Georgetown built leads of as many as 36 in the half. While the Hoyas shooting was not as crisp (shooting 13-33 in the final 30 minutes of the game), the Hoyas had no problem sharing the wealth, with 25 assists on 33 field goals.
Jonathan Wallace led all scorers with 19 points, passing 1,000 points for his career, along with 15 from Dajuan Summers, 12 from Austin Freeman in his first career start, and 11 each from Jessie Sapp and Roy Hibbert.
The Rams were 18 of 66 from the field, 10 of 32 in the second half, Marcus Stout and Bryant Dunston accounted for 47 of the Rams' 55 points, as high scoring guard Brenton Butler was held scoreless on the day.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 19 3-3 4-5 1-2 3 0 1 19 Sapp 19 3-3 1-4 2-2 3 6 1 11 Freeman 24 2-4 2-2 2-2 1 1 0 12 Summers 19 2-2 3-4 2-2 9 3 1 15 Hibbert 20 4-7 1-1 0-0 4 6 2 11 Reserves: Macklin 22 2-2 0-0 0-0 3 3 3 4 Wright 21 1-3 0-1 0-0 3 3 0 2 Rivers 24 1-2 1-1 0-0 2 1 3 5 Jansen 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Crawford 8 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 1 0 0 Wattad 4 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0 Ewing 21 0-3 0-2 3-4 4 1 5 3 DNP: Mescheriakov Team Rebounds 2 TOTALS 200 18-30 12-23 10-12 35 25 13 82
Additional articles follow below.
Monday's game marks the first game between Georgetown and Fordham in basketball in 28 years--a significant gap in a series that was once one of the highlights on the annual Georgetown basketball schedule.
Each school recognizes 49 games played in a series that dates from 1908 through 1979, but as many as 51 games have been played. Georgetown does not recognize a pair of games played at Fordham in 1908 and 1909, while Fordham records do not contain games between the schools recognized by GU in 1927 and 1957. Georgetown won five of the first seven games, but as Fordham's program took off in the 1920's, so did the wins for the Maroon.
Beginning in 1925, Fordham won 13 of the next 14 in the series and 18 of 21 through 1958, while Georgetown turned the tables sweeping the Rams from 1959-66. In an era when it was Fordham, not Georgetown, that earned regular post-season appearances (six NIT bids from 1958-69), the annual clashes at McDonough and Rose Hill gyms were a big deal. Games were uniformly close as well--nine of ten games between the teams from 1961-70 were decided by a margin of six points or less.
At the onset of the Big East conference in 1979, Georgetown ended a number of longstanding series to accommodate games in the new conference, among them St. Joseph's (an annual series from 1953 through 79), Manhattan (1960-79), St. Peter's (1954-68, 1974-80) and Fordham (1947-79). The last meeting between the teams was on Jan. 18, 1979, 71 years to the day of the first game between the schools.
With two New York area teams already set for the new conference, Fordham joined the MAAC in 1981, earning eight NIT bids in 11 seasons before a move to the Patriot League, a controversial decision to this day among many Fordham fans. Since 1995, it has been a member of the Atlantic 10 conference.
Four Hoyas scored in double figures as Georgetown defeated American 78-51 at Verizon center Saturday.
The Hoyas had to overcome an early three point barrage by the Eagles (7-6), who opened with five straight threes to lead 19-15 with 11:45 to play. Improved defensive pressure shut off the outside shot, while the Hoyas got Roy Hibbert involved inside. Hibbert scored eight points in the first half, helping the Hoyas take the lead with 7:43 to play, 22-21. For its part, the Eagles were stopped cold from outside, finishing the half 1-5 as Georgetown was able to pull ahead and take a ten point lead at the break, 38-28.
Georgetown's accuracy in the first half was impressive: nine of 11 from inside the arc, six of 10 outside it, matching American's six first half threes. American's shooting was largely disabled by Georgetown's improved defensive play, as the Eagles were just 5 for 14 from inside the arc in the first half.
American's second half adjustments were more than met by a strong Georgetown effort to open the half and put away the game. The Eagles trailed by 12 in the first four minutes of the half, 46-34, when the Hoyas went to work. Georgetown went on a 17-0 run, capped by six baskets either by layup or dunk. For its part, American missed five consecutive three point shots and turned over the ball five times in a 6:36 stretch that saw the Hoyas extended the lead to 63-34.
A pair of three pointers by the Eagles closed the lead to 20 with 7:17 to play, 65-45, but the Georgetown defense went to work again, as American was held without a field goal for nearly six minutes, adding its next field goal with only 39 seconds to play. Georgetown converted four layups and a number of foul shots to lead by 24, while a late three by freshman Omar Wattad closed out the scoring, 78-51.
"We got off to a good start, we made some shots then they really upped the energy level and we didn't have an answer for that," said AMerican coach Jeff Jones. "They are bigger, stronger, faster, and they were making plays on every pass...the constant pushing out, trying to take away the shots, daring us to drive the basketball, wore us down."
Georgetown shot 60% for the game, forced 20 turnovers, and collected 20 assists in the game.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 21 1-1 3-4 0-0 1 1 1 11 Sapp 23 0-2 1-2 0-0 4 2 0 3 Ewing 17 0-0 1-1 1-2 2 3 1 4 Summers 20 5-5 1-4 3-3 0 1 3 16 Hibbert 20 6-9 0-0 2-4 1 1 0 14 Reserves: Macklin 20 4-5 0-0 0-1 3 3 3 8 Wright 21 3-3 1-1 4-4 3 4 2 13 Rivers 20 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 Jansen 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Freeman 24 1-4 0-1 2-2 5 3 3 4 Crawford 8 1-1 0-1 0-0 3 1 0 2 Wattad 4 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 3 Team Rebounds 4 TOTALS 200 21-32 8-16 12-16 28 20 13 78
Post-game articles follow below.
Saturday's game is the 49th meeting between Georgetown and American, located just three miles apart. The two schools had not met since the 1986-87 season.
The first meeting took place in the 1938-39 season, with Georgetown winning 51-35. Three years later, the Hoyas posted one of its biggest wins ever in a 105-39 win over the Eagles in December 1942, a number still listed in Georgetown press guides as 86-39, owing to a wire service typo.
In fact, Georgetown won the first 19 games in the series until Jan. 7, 1959, until AU's Wil Jones led the Eagles to a 92-67 rout at Ft. Myer, VA, the home of the Eagles from 1958 through 1986. From 1970 through 1975, American won four of five against Georgetown, with three straight losses at the hands of All-American Kermit Washington.
Washington's play, some 35 years later, remains the stuff of local legend. As a sophomore against the Hoyas on Feb. 6, 1971, he scored 15 points, collected 34 rebounds, and blocked 13 shots in the Eagles' 60-57 upset at Ft. Myer, spoiling a 24 point, 18 rebound effort by Georgetown junior Mike Laughna. Washington's 34 rebounds and 13 blocks are Georgetown opponent records that stand to this day.
The next season, Washington scored 27 points and collected 12 rebounds as the Eagles came back from a 14 point second half deficit to sting the Hoyas in overtime at McDonough Gym, 82-75. In his senior season, Washington's career high 40 points was matched with 26 rebounds and eight blocks in 90-62 rout of the Hoyas at Ft. Myer, a win which clinched the Eagles' first ever NIT bid. "From Nothing To A Hell Of a Lot" was the headline the next week in the American University Eagle newspaper, extolling Washington's play in the Georgetown game.
The teams split games in 1974 and 1975 before Georgetown won six straight. Coming off the loss to #1-ranked Virginia in the heralded "Sampson vs. Ewing" game, the #5-ranked Hoyas met American in the midst of exam week on Dec. 15, 1982. The Eagles' Mark Nickens scored 13 first half points to give the Eagles a stunning 15 point halftime lead, 39-24.
David Wingate helped key an 18-2 Georgetown run which gave the Hoyas a brief lead late, that is, before American guard Gordon Austin took over. Austin scored seven points in the final 4:00 of play to preserve a 62-61 upset for the Eagles.
Four years later, AU's Frank Ross almost engineered another upset, scoring 21 points as the Eagles fell late to the Hoyas, 62-59. Local basketball lore had it that as the coaches exchanged greetings after the game, Georgetown's John Thompson told American coach Ed Tapscott that this was the last time the teams would meet. Fact or fiction, GU dropped American from its 1987-88 schedule and has not met the Eagles again until this weekend.
As John Thompson III is more amenable to playing local and regional opponents, American is the kind of school that's become a good fit again in the non-conference schedule.
Against a #2 ranked team, there's little room for error. Georgetown's errors were far too many to overcome in an 85-71 loss to the #2-ranked Memphis Tigers before 18,864 at FedEx Forum Saturday. The win was the 37th straight home win for the Tigers, and its first against Georgetown in six tries dating to 1983.
Although the game may have limited impact upon the final standings, the game had a tournament atmosphere as the teams battled early at top form. Georgetown was effective in opening back-door plays and close-in shots, holding leads of 14-9, 24-17, and as many as eight, 35-27, with 4:41 to play, when Memphis turned up the heat and the Hoyas did not respond. Georgetown missed four of its last five shots of the half, while Memphis made four of its last five, outscoring Georgetown 16-5 to end the half leading by three, 43-40.
Georgetown's defense opened the half forcing five consecutive Tiger misses and three turnovers, aided by a bench technical on Memphis coach John Calipari over a non-call. The offense, however, never left the locker room, and within the first five minutes it became apparent that the focus and precision of the first half was simply not there. Following a Jon Wallace three to open the half, the Hoyas missed its first five shots of the half. A 46-45 lead with 15:41 to play was the last Georgetown would see in the game, as Memphis went on a 9-0 run that put the Tigers ahead to stay.
Much of this was a salute to the defensive efforts of Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier, but the key to the run was the play of Chris Douglas-Roberts. Douglas-Roberts scored seven straight during the run, which saw the Hoyas miss two shots, miss two free throws, and a turnover which led to Douglas-Roberts' run to lead 54-46 with 12:18 to play. An Austin Freeman jumper narrowed the lead to six midway through the half, where the Tigers began to leverage an unusual weapon: the free throw.
The second half play score exposed a Georgetown game plan that was unprepared for Memphis' heightened level of play and without an answer when defensive pressure limits Roy Hibbert in the paint. After a first half in which the the Hoyas shot 55% from the field, it could only shoot 40% in the second, including 5 for 18 from the starting five. Georgetown was 0-6 from three point range, with more fouls (14) than field goals (13) in the second half. After a first half in which Georgetown collected 11 assists on 15 field goals, it earned only four in the second half.
While free throw shooting failed the Hoyas again (DaJuan Summers and Vernon Macklin were a combined 3-13), the entire front line was a bigger issue--and the line was largely ineffective in this game. Players like Summers, Hibbert, and Macklin were all held in check by the Memphis front line, a line the Hoyas could not seem to counteract. The front line contributed 54 of Memphis' 85 points, with Douglas-Roberts leading the way with 24.
Memphis posted 19 offensive rebounds on Georgetown, most for a GU opponent since Temple in 2004, and the Tigers' starting five played all but four minutes of the second half.
"I didn't go to the benches that much because to be honest with you some guys were breaking down defensively," said Memphis coach John Calipari in post game comments. "They were just on a roll, and I was going to let them run it out. I was pitching a pitcher that probably needed to come out in the seventh inning and I said I'm not taking him out because he's pitching a no-hitter."
"When we would make a mistake or a bad decision on offense it would lead to an easy basket to them down the other way," said head coach John Thompson III. "This is something we know we have to address."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 25 3-4 0-1 2-2 1 6 3 8 Sapp 24 2-6 0-2 1-1 1 1 3 5 Ewing 21 3-3 0-1 4-4 4 1 3 10 Summers 32 2-5 2-6 3-9 6 1 2 13 Hibbert 27 3-8 0-0 0-0 6 2 4 6 Reserves: Macklin 12 2-3 0-0 0-4 2 0 0 4 Wright 17 4-6 0-1 1-1 0 3 3 9 Rivers 16 1-4 0-0 0-0 2 0 1 2 Freeman 26 5-6 1-3 1-2 4 1 2 14 Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Team Rebounds 4 DNP: Jansen, Wattad TOTALS 200 25-45 3-14 12-23 30 15 21 71
Post-game articles follow below.
Austin Freeman's career high 21 points joined four other players in double figures as Georgetown buried the Radford Highlanders 110-51 at McDonough Gymnasium Saturday.
Georgetown opened the game scoring 13 of the first 16 points of the game and never looked back. A 12-0 run extended the lead to 18-3, and the Hoyas shot 65% from the field in the first ten minutes of the half, with five three point shots. A 38-14 lead ballooned to 30 at 46-16 before Radford, buoyed by a number of foul calls, closed to 49-28 at the half before fouling Austin Freeman on a last second shot, which Freeman converted with three free throws to close the half at 52-28.
Roy Hibbert didn't get his first points of the game until the 18:10 mark, but it really didn't matter, with Georgetown in full command at 63-36. The 27 point margin was soon to be in Georgetown's rear view mirror, as an array of long range, midrange, and inside plays shredded the Radford defenses. Georgetown went on a 9-2 run midway in the half, 77-40, followed by a 12-4 run to go to 82-44.
"I thought tonight was one of Roy's biggest games since he's been here, believe it or not," said head coach John Thompson III in postgame comments. "I thought he was terrific particularly in the second half just with his decision-making process and the way he pursued the ball, the way he worked on the defensive end, making it hard for (Radford) to get the ball in side. Too many people look at the stat sheets and make determinations on how someone plays and that's hard to do because of how we do things, but I thought Roy was absolutely terrific."
At the 7:38 mark the lead was 40, 85-45, when the reserves went to town on the visitors, with a 21-2 run punctuated by an Omar Wattad three to break the triple digit mark. For the game Georgetown shot an 65% from the floor.
"I just wish we had played better," said radford coach Brad Greenberg. "The guys were a little disappointed that they weren't more competitive at the beginning to at least get a feel for the game, but they jumped on us so quick and made three's and we never had a chance.
Georgetown excelled in all phases of the game. The Hoyas were effective in its more deliberate pace, was ably suited in the uptempo style, connected on threes from a variety of players, and was able to efficiently and effective leverage its bench for spurts at key times of the game. More so than any recent group since the Charles Smith teams of the late 1980's, this is a team that is a legitimate ten deep. A "second line" featuring Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Jeremiah Rivers, Vernon Macklin, and Tyler Crawford is proving up to the challenge, and the development of Omar Wattad and the soon to arrive Nikita Mescheriakov will be even more proficient when Thompson needs their effort.
"You don't think about them in terms of speed and quickness because you marvel at how savvy and how efficient," said Greenberg. "They do have deceptive speed and quickness at a lot of positions and they're very deep."
The score and margin of victory are the most in the John Thompson III era, and the most points in any game for Georgetown since the 2001-02 season. The 59 point margin of victory is the most ever against an opponent playing in Division I at the time of the game--a 66 point margin over American in December 1942 was when AU was playing in the small college ranks.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 17 1-1 3-3 0-0 0 3 1 11 Sapp 17 2-5 3-3 0-0 4 4 1 13 Ewing 16 5-5 0-1 5-6 3 0 4 15 Summers 19 4-5 2-5 3-3 6 3 3 17 Hibbert 18 3-3 0-0 2-5 7 3 1 8 Reserves: Macklin 23 2-2 0-0 1-3 4 1 2 5 Wright 23 3-5 0-1 3-7 3 3 0 9 Rivers 23 1-3 0-1 2-2 5 3 3 4 Jansen 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Freeman 21 5-6 2-3 5-5 2 0 3 21 Crawford 13 2-3 0-3 0-0 2 0 5 4 Wattad 7 0-0 1-2 0-0 1 0 0 3 Team Rebounds 2 TOTALS 200 28-38 11-22 21-31 39 20 23 110
Additional post-game links follow below.
Off the sports pages, an article in the Robertson County Times that tells the first person account of Jenny Faenza, a Georgetown student who has a lot to be grateful for this Christmas season.
"While at Georgetown, I spend my time studying and being involved in extracurricular activities, but I spend an equal amount of time being an example for my fellow students by living a grateful life," she said. "There is always something worse that could be happening to me than what Iím going through right now, and most certainly someone on this earth is in a more unfortunate position than I am right now. God wants us to be thankful in all circumstances, and I know that we can do that by helping each other - by sharing our blessings with others that may be in need."
Freshmen Austin Freeman and Chris Wright combined for 29 points in an 87-55 win over Jacksonville Sunday at Verizon Center.
The Dolphins (3-6) entered this game with three road losses in their last seven days, and were 36 hours removed from a two point loss at American. While a pair of early baskets by Ayron Hardy earned Jacksonville a 5-4 lead, the success was fleeting. The Hoyas answered with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes, leading by 11 at the eight minute time out, 15 at the four, and 18 at the break.
Ten Jacksonville turnovers and a 36% shooting pace set the Dolphins back, while Ben Smith, the team's leading scorer entering the game, was 0-6 from the field. Georgetown had shot 50 percent at the half and was about to step up the assault.
For the record, Georgetown missed its first shot of the second half, a layup attempt by Jonathan Wallace. Thirty seconds later, Jessie Sapp followed it up with a layup that began a run of eight straight shots that obliterated the Dolphins' comeback hopes, leveraged by strong rebounding, steals, and a shutdown of Jacksonville's outside shooting. The Dolphins were held to 1 of 8 shooting from three point range and not only gave up size to the Hoyas, but speed, as a smaller lineup dominated by guard play tore into the Jacksonville defenses with surprisingly regularity.
"They talked last year about how deep we were and it was just up front, we weren't deep at all," said head coach John Thompson III in post game comments."With the group we have this year with John, Jesse, Jeremiah and Chris, they all have different strengths and different weaknesses."
Freshmen Chris Wright and Austin Freeman assumed major scoring roles for the first of many times in their tenure at Georgetown, and do so very well. Wright was a perfect 4-4 from the field in the first half, and added to it in the second, while Freeman was 3-4 in the second half with a pair of threes to extend the lead.
"I've said it before, Chris learns fast," said Thompson. "His understanding of what we're trying to accomplish and how we're trying to accomplish it is way beyond the normal freshman guard having sat out five weeks, six weeks and being however many games we are into the season."
Jacksonville's poor touch and overall fatigue did not allow it to keep up. The Dolphins were outscored 7-1 in the first four minute quintile of the half, 19-6 in the second. By the 10:45 mark the Dolphins trailed by 34, with many of the Georgetown starters (none of which played more than eight minutes in the first half) taking a seat for the reserves. Only one Georgetown starter played more than 20 minutes for the entire game, while the bench turned in a remarkable 49 points. By the time the second half concluded, GU had shot 69 percent from the field compared to just 33 percent for the Dolphins.
"I think I knew exactly what was coming, but again, it's hard to stop," said JU coach Cliff Warren. "I think they did a better job than what I expected of breaking our press and just going and attacking the basket. We wanted to play our game and slow the game down, and...we thought they were going to be a little more deliberate. They wanted to just attack the basket."
The game was was not without areas to work on for the coaches this week, though. Foul shooting continues to be an area that needs improvement, and a total of 24 assists were matched with an unusual number of turnovers (20), 13 in the second half alone. All in all, however, these issues took a back seat to a superior team effort which has elevated Georgetown's non-conference efforts to date.
Owing to semester exams, the Hoyas will play once over the next 12 days, with a Saturday night game against Radford on campus at McDonough Gymnasium to follow before its Dec. 22 game at Memphis.
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 16 3-5 0-2 0-0 2 2 0 6 Sapp 20 1-2 2-3 0-0 8 2 2 8 Ewing 17 1-2 0-2 0-2 1 1 1 2 Summers 22 1-1 2-4 6-7 6 0 0 14 Hibbert 15 4-5 0-0 0-1 3 1 1 8 Reserves: Macklin 25 3-3 0-0 1-4 4 2 2 7 Wright 22 4-5 2-4 0-0 2 5 3 14 Rivers 14 0-1 2-3 0-0 2 3 5 6 Jansen 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Freeman 25 4-5 2-2 1-1 2 4 1 15 Crawford 14 0-1 0-2 2-2 2 4 0 2 Wattad 6 1-1 1-2 0-0 2 0 2 5 Team Rebounds 5 TOTALS 200 22-31 11-24 10-17 39 24 17 87
On Dec. 18, 1969, Georgetown traveled to Jacksonville meet the #18-ranked Dolphins, led by All-American Artis Gilmore. The Dolphins led 41-26 in the first half when a pair of elbows by Jacksonville's Mike Blevins led Georgetown's Art White to return the favor, promptly sending Blevins to the floor. (A photo of the incident can be found at this link to the First Coast News review of the Dolphins' 1969-70 season.)
White's retaliation and a second fight which cleared the benches led a number of hostile Jacksonville fans at Swisher Gymnasium to go onto the floor in response, and the game quickly got out of hand as more fans joined the fray. Georgetown coach Jack Magee pulled the team into the locker room during the ensuing confusion, and when they did not return, officials called the game.
The game made headlines literally worldwide. "Cagers And Fans Fight" read the European edition of Stars & Stripes, while the local paper asked "What Makes Jack Run? Unruly Fans" in the December 19, 1969 issue of the Jacksonville Times News.
"When they come at you out of the stands, it's time to get out," Magee told the Associated Press. The AP's description of a "blood stained college game" ran across the national news wires and was picked up in hundreds of papers that morning. The game is listed as a forfeit win in the Jacksonville record book, where the Dolphins finished 27-2 with an appearance in the Final Four.
Following the game, Georgetown officials appealed to the NCAA, which declared the game a "no-contest" two months later, a ruling which gave Georgetown six losses, not seven, ending the regular season. A seventh loss would likely have denied Georgetown its 1970 NIT post season berth, its only post season invitation in a 22 year run from 1953 through 1975.
When asked after the game if he would reschedule the game, Magee said "No, I don't think we'll try it...not next year," but that's almost what happened, and the confusion persists to this day.
The 1969 game was never mentioned in the following year's media guide, and for the next 30 years it existed as a peculiar non-entity in Georgetown's basketball records. In the fall of 2000, however, the GU media guide began to list the outcome as a 41-24 loss in the 1970-71 season, a year after the original game and without mention of a "no contest".
The confusion arises over the 1970 Gold Coast Classic in Palm Beach, FL. While both Georgetown and Jacksonville were invited to the tournament, they never met--Jacksonville defeated Creighton in its first game and lost to Wake Forest in the championship round, while Georgetown lost to Wake in its first game and Creighton in the consolation game.
"They had a sense of poise that we have to gain as the season goes on. Even though they were down one with four minutes to go, they had a sense of poise. It looked like they weren't nervous." --Richard Hendrix, Alabama center
A combined 30 points and 17 rebounds from Jessie Sapp and DaJuan Summers combined to lead Georgetown offense in a hard fought 70-60 win over Alabama at the inaugural Big East-SEC Challenge in Birmingham, AL.
Georgetown opened the game looking a bit ragged, trying to rely on the quick three point shot against an Alabama defense which eventually locked down Roy Hibbert in the middle. Hibbert had nine points but only two field goals, as Georgetown went to the outside shot in an attempt to run on the Crimson Tide, with as many attempts as from three as from two.
Of more immediate concern was turnovers. Despite averaging 10 turnovers in its first five games, Georgetown gave up nine in the first half alone, allowing the Tide to take 11 more shots in the half and earn leads at 19-17, 38-26, and 32-29 despite their own 28% three point shooting in the half. Following a DaJuan Summers layup, Mikhail Torrance answered with a three pointer, 35-33, and Georgetown proceeded to miss its last four shots of the half, earning the Hoyas its first halftime deficit of the season.
The second half started erratic for both teams. Georgetown missed six of its first seven shots, four of which were from three point range, while Alabama was 0-3 from the field with three turnovers. Jonathan Wallace had six of the Hoyas' first eight points of the half, but Georgetown picked up another four turnovers in the first seven minutes of the second half, holding a tenuous 41-40 lead. Both teams traded threes but with good interior defense neither team could shake the other. A pair of Roy Hibbert free throws gave Georgetown a 48-44 lead with 10:43 left in the game, but the game began to change as Alabama rediscovered the outside shot.
Key to Alabama's run in the game was guard Mykal Riley. The Tide closed to 48-46 following missed free throws by Patrick Ewing Jr., and off a Ewing turnover Riley calmly sank a three from the top of the key to take the lead, 49-48. The Hoyas went outside with consecutive threes by Sapp and Summers, but a Riley three with 5:37 cut the lead to one and his three with 4:00 woke up the home state crowd as Alabama held a 57-56 lead.
In the final four minutes of the first half the Georgetown offense sputtered, but as the many of the same challenges faced them at that point of the second half, the offense responded in a big way. On its next series, Ewing found Summers open for the three, 59-57, and Hibbert controlled the ball off an Alabama short range miss. Off a held ball, Sapp hit a three, 62-57, and on its third series Sapp found Hibbert alone for the basket, 64-58. Sapp's steal with 1:22 ended the Tide's hopes of a comeback, as its outside shooting fell apart amidst a 14-1 Georgetown run. The Tide failed to score on four straight possessions before picking up a basket with two seconds to play.
Overall, the Hoyas were fortunate to win. The offense failed to get Hibbert involved for long stretches, and the defense could not keep Alabama off the ball until late. Free throw shooting was poor throughout the game, but particularly in the second half, where GU missed seven of nine free throws from the 9:12 mark until Summers hit two straight with 50 seconds to play.
Good teams prevail in adversity, however, and that's the best thing that can be said of the outcome. Sapp and Summers were stars in this game, on both sides of the ball and Georgetown's rebounding edge (45-29) denied Alabama many second chance points when it could have made the difference.
"This team is learning," Thompson said in post game comments. "We slowly, methodically pull away, and if we stick with our stuff Ö we can wear people down the last few minutes of the game."
Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Wallace 22 2-4 1-5 4-4 6 2 1 11 Sapp 27 2-6 2-6 2-4 8 3 2 12 Ewing 26 1-2 1-2 0-3 3 4 2 5 Summers 29 3-4 3-7 3-4 9 0 3 18 Hibbert 33 3-6 0-0 8-12 9 1 1 14 Reserves: Macklin 7 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 0 1 2 Wright 16 0-2 1-1 0-1 2 0 1 3 Rivers 20 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 1 2 3 Freeman 20 1-1 0-1 0-0 3 2 1 2 DNP: Jansen, Crawford, Wattad Team Rebounds 2 TOTALS 200 13-27 9-23 17-28 45 13 14 70
Additional coverage follows below.
Head coach John Thompson III sat down recently with the Washingtonian magazine for some thoughts about his efforts to date and his charitable activities within the city.
"Itís not hard [to sell recruits on Washington]," Thompson said. "You open the door and walk around. Itís not just the most powerful city in the world; itís a place where no matter what your field is you'll find leaders in that field here. Itís a terrific place to be and a terrific place to live. Just in terms of the big pictureóyour experiences beyond basketballóthereís no better place than Washington, DC."
"Washington is not just home. Itís a place thatís very special. We have so many children that are in need in many different areas. Monica and I feel that our foundationís emphasis is bringing attention to existing entities that do good work."
Amidst the preview articles for the Fairfield game is a Washington Times feature on junior guard Jessie Sapp.
"He's incredibly tough," said coach John Thompson III. "He's a relentless competitor. He's incredibly emotional. Some people wonder whether he's a [point guard] or a [shooting guard]. I've always said that I don't know and I don't care. What I do know is that Jessie Sapp is a guy who has an uncanny knack for making plays."
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