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Georgetown Basketball: December 2009 News Archive

Wash. Times Drops Sports Staff 12/31/09

The note at the top of the page reflects some unfortunate news first reported last month--tonight's game with St. John's will be the last Georgetown game covered by the Washington Times' Barker Davis, as the paper announced Wednesday it is laying off its sports staff effective with Friday's issue, a month earlier than originally reported.

"The words still sting as much as anything I've ever been told in my life," wrote the Times' Mark Zuckerman. "...The most excruciating aspect of this news is the stark realization that comes with it: neither I nor most of my two dozen colleagues are likely to ever cover sports for a newspaper again. The business is shriveling up, and it may not be long before it ceases to exist at all."

Davis joined the Times out of Georgetown in 1994 and has written basketball and golf coverage almost non-stop since. His aggressive coverage of the Hoyas was a challenge to what had become a somewhat matter-of-fact approach by the larger Washington Post over the same period, and Davis' reporting made the Post refocus its efforts as a result. His hard work and attention to detail won him acclaim among fellow journalists and the public at large.

AP: #13 12/29/09

Following its win over Harvard, Georgetown is ranked 13th in the Monday Associated Press poll, up from 14th last week.

Other conference teams in the Top 25 include Syracuse (5), West Virginia (6), Villanova (8), and Connecticut (11).

Efficiency Ratings 12/28/09

How have individual players fared this season? This site used to run simple efficiency stats but it's kept up on a much more detailed basis over at Hoya Prospectus. For up to date season statistics and trends, check this link.

Big East Writers: Re-Poll? 12/28/09

After the initial Big East pre-season media poll picked Syracuse 6th, the Syracuse Post-Standard decided to re-poll the group to see where Syracuse was seen entering the conference race. Eleven of the 14 writers responded and Syracuse is now #1 in the poll:

  1. Villanova
  2. West Virginia
  3. Connecticut
  4. Georgetown
  5. Louisville
  6. Syracuse
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Seton Hall
  11. St. John's
  12. Marquette
  13. Rutgers
  14. South Florida
  15. Providence
  16. DePaul
  1. Syracuse
  2. West Virginia
  3. Villanova
  4. Connecticut
  5. Georgetown
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Louisville
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. St. John's
  12. Marquette
  13. South Florida
  14. Providence
  15. Rutgers
  16. DePaul

Three writers in the October poll did not participate in the December effort, including Barker Davis of the Washington Times, Bill Koch at the Cincinnati Enquirer, and J.P. Pelzman of the Bergen Record.

Back To School 12/28/09

Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News has an extended feature on sophomore center Greg Monroe and discusses his thoughts about the NBA draft.

"Once I made the decision [to return for his sophomore season], I definitely let it stay behind me," Monroe said. "The main reason I did that – I didn't want it to be a distraction to my teammates. I was ready to get back with them and get ready for the season.

One NBA scout featured in the article rates Monroe as a "fringe lottery pick", telling the Sporting News that Monroe's range is improving but he still lacks low post positioning.

Georgetown 86, Harvard 70 12/24/09

A career performance by junior guard Chris Wright led the #14 ranked Georgetown Hoyas to an 86-70 win over Harvard Wednesday at Verizon Center, repositioning the Hoyas for the arrival of Big East play next week.

Harvard (7-3) arrived to Wednesday's game following an upset of Boston College on Dec. 9 and a narrow six point loss to Connecticut. The Crimson opened with the first two baskets of the game, 4-0, and traded a pair of early runs, leading 10-7 at the 15:37 mark of the first half. A Chris Wright layup gave GU its first lead at 13-12, while a Jason Clark three pointer with 13:13 to play gave the Hoyas a lead at 14-13.

Wright scored 13 in the first half and picked up three steals as the Hoyas fended off a number of first half runs by Harvard, including an 8-2 run to close to 27-25, and saw the Crimson tie the score at 33-all with 3:31 in the half. From that point, Georgetown outscored the Crimson 11-0 to end the half, shooting 4-7 from the field while forcing four Harvard turnovers to lead 44-33 at the break.

Georgetown opened the second half with a strong push, shutting down the Cantabs inside while dominating on its side of the court. Georgetown scored eight layups and a dunk in the first nine minutes of the half, doubling the halftime lead to 66-42 with 10:57 to play. Harvard closed to 12 points without effect, and managed only one field goal in the final 4:11 of play as Georgetown utilized a liberal substitution plan to give reserves experience prior to the onset of conference play.

Points by Chris Wright, most by a GU player since 2004

Last 30+ point game
by a GU guard
(Kevin Braswell vs. Virginia)

Points in the paint for GU

Turnovers between both teams

Scoring by GU bench

"Certainly the game got away from us at the end of the first half," said Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker to the Washington Post. "We really battled and scraped and clawed and had it tied when they went on the...run to close [the first half]. We were never able to recover from it."

Wright was the star of the game. From a 13 point first half, Wright missed his opening shot of the second but proceeded to go 8 for 8 the rest of the half, finishing with 21 in the half (half the Hoyas' 42 point second half output) and 34 points overall, including six rebounds, six steals, and four assists. The 34 points is not only the most points scored by Wright over his career, but the most points scored by any Georgetown player under coach John Thompson III.

Not to be outdone, Austin Freeman (a career high 21 points) successfully contained star Harvard guard Jeremy Lin, The 6-3 Lin, who averaged 27.5 points per game against BC and Connecticut, was held to just six second half points and 15 overall, as the Crimson shot only 36 percent in the second half. For its part, Georgetown shot 54 percent for the second half and 50 percent overall.

If not for Wright and Freeman's heroics, Greg Monroe would be getting much of the praise as well--his 16 point, 16 rebound effort totally overwhelmed the Crimson inside. Harvard center Keith Wright was held to 1-5 shooting in the second half, where Monroe was a perfect 3 for 3 in 16 minutes of play.

"I think we just outworked them today inside," Monroe told Barker Davis of the Washington Times. "I think it was as simple as that in terms of the difference in rebounding. We really hurt them on the offensive glass [15 offensive rebounds, six from Monroe]."

This was the tenth straight game the Crimson bench outscored its opponents, as the Georgetown bench was a combined 0-7 with three free throws. While this remains of a point of emphasis, the triple threat of Wright, Freeman, and Monroe served notice that each is capable of significant contributions to the team entering the Big East half of the schedule.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       35  11-16  2-5   6-7   6   4  2   34
Freeman      34   7-14  1-3   4-5   4   2  2   21
Clark        22   1-2   2-3   0-0   2   3  5    8
Vaughn       23   2-5   0-0   0-0   4   2  1    4
Monroe       38   7-10  0-1   2-2  16   2  1   16
Thompson     25   0-1   0-2   0-0   2   2  4    0
Sanford       9   0-0   0-2   1-2   1   0  1    1
Dougherty     1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  1    0
Benimon       8   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   1  1    0
Stepka        1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sims          8   0-0   0-0   2-2   1   0  1    2
Team Rebounds                       1
TOTALS      200 28-50  5-16 15-18  38  16 19   86

Post-game articles follow below.

Editorial: Falling Short 12/23/09

As the decade draws to a close, one cannot help but be impressed with the work of John Thompson III and his staff in terms of the redevelopment of Georgetown basketball over the past five years. Few, if any, can doubt that the program is under more secure footing and in better hands than where it was at the beginning of the decade. Within this mantle of success, however, is a discouraging pattern of player attrition which continues to erode the ability of the program to grow and excel.

Nikita Mescheriakov is the 11th player under coach Thompson III to leave school early, joining Cornelio Guibunda, Ray Reed, Josh Thornton, Marc Egerson, Octavious Spann, Jeff Green, Vernon Macklin, Jeremiah Rivers, Dajuan Summers, and Omar Wattad. Even if you put aside Green and Summers, that's nine in just over five seasons. By contrast, the elder Thompson had all of two transfers in his first eight seasons as a coach, while Craig Esherick had six transfers over five seasons.

The last three seasons have been striking for the rotation of players in and out of the program. Take a look at the 2005-07 recruiting classes:

Class of 2009
Marc Egerson
Jessie Sapp
Octavius Spann
Josh Thornton
Class of 2010
Vernon Macklin
Jeremiah Rivers
Dajuan Summers
Class of 2011
Austin Freeman
Nikita Mescheriakov
Omar Wattad
Chris Wright

So why is this a problem? Why should fans, much less Georgetown, care?

The educational compact of sorts that tolerates major college basketball at Georgetown University does so with the fundamental understanding that students that attend Georgetown will progress towards a degree. That commitment from the elder Thompson helped create a firewall for the program to counter claims that such recruits didn't belong at Georgetown, and the string of players that arrived, played, and graduated gave the Thompson program the roots to grow and succeed.

Any perception, real or imagined, that basketball has become a "revolving door" is corrosive to the institutional support of men's basketball at Georgetown, especially as the program budget has grown to $7.9 million a year over John Thompson III's tenure.

Transfers are certainly not new to Georgetown but the frequency of transfers is an issue. This is a chart of a four year weighted average of the percentage of graduations since John Thompson's first recruiting class in 1972 (the Class of 1976). The last three years have seen the most attrition since 1972:

Why should people care? It's not like Nikita Mescheriakov was going to be All-Big East now, was he?

No, but three factors do come into play:

  1. Continuity. A team with recurring transfers lacks the teamwork and experience to succeed. In reviewing the Georgetown teams of the 1990's, transfers among guards was rampant, though surprisingly less so for big men. This led to a run of teams with poor shooting and poor late-game decisions, some of which was tied to inexperience. The revolving door of guards in the 1990's (David Edwards, Antoine Stoudamire, Charles Harrison, Eric Myles, Allen Iverson, Victor Page, Ed Sheffey, Kenny Brunner, Shernard Long) never gave John Thompson Jr. enough time to get his guards to a level of experience needed for his offense, and teams suffered, and ultimately declined, as a result.
  2. Performance. As fans still try to sort through the wreckage of the 2008-09 season, look to one factor: inexperience. Outside of senior Jessie Sapp and sophomore Austin Freeman, the 2008-09 Hoyas were literally still learning to play among each other. Would the Hoyas have dropped 12 of 16 with the likes of a Marc Egerson as a senior, who averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds last year at Delaware? Or Josh Thornton, who ended his college career at Towson with a sturdy 11 point average? And what spark might have been added in games had Vernon Macklin or Jeremiah Rivers stayed, each with valuable experience in the Georgetown sets? The 2007 and 2008 teams thrived on experience: Green, Wallace, Hibbert, Summers, et al. knew each other and knew what to do. When new players come and go, the learning curve gets that much steeper.
  3. Negative recruiting. Some teams will say anything about an opponent, and it does Georgetown no good to be portrayed as "over recruiting" or "forcing out" players when it comes to high school recruiting. Recent transfers have not been a result of either of those charges, but tell that to a high school recruit who wants to play now, and hears misinformation from recruiters how Georgetown players come and go. For its part, it becomes a tougher sell to many (though not all) recruits if Georgetown is short of returning players.

With only nine scholarship players on the roster, the coaching staff runs the risk, again, of an inexperienced team hitting a mid-season wall. Nikita Mescheriakov didn't solve that issue, but it takes more than one transfer for a trend. This staff is too good and too talented not to better identify players who are prepared for - and committed to -- the long haul. If Charles Smith were playing today, would he be content knowing that his coach told him he'd never start at Georgetown, or would he have left as well?

Georgetown needs four-year players, even if they are on the bench. That's not a knock on Thompson, much less Burke, Broadus, or any recruiters of the past. The coaching staff needs to do more going forward to ensure that today's recruits become tomorrow's graduates. The players, and the program, will be better for the experience.

Mescheriakov To Transfer 12/23/09

A press release at GUHoyas.com announced the mid-season transfer of junior forward Nikita Mescheriakov, the 11th player to leave the program early under coach John Thompson III since the 2004-05 season.

"Nikita expressed the interest to transfer to a school where he knows he will get more playing time than he feels he will get here. We wish him the best in his future endeavors and appreciate his hard work," said coach John Thompson III in the style of previous transfer announcements of late.

Signed out of Frederick, MD, the 6-8 Byelorussian forward was ineligible for the first 10 games of the 2007-08 season for participation on a professional team prior to college, whereupon Georgetown redshirted him for the entire season. As a sophomore, Mescheriakov averaged 3.8 points a game and started seven Big East games last season. This season, Mescheriakov's playing time dropped considerably, with only one minute of action in the past three games and 44 minutes over the first nine games. The release suggested Mescheriakov was unhappy with the playing time he had received this season.

Local media were quick to note yet another transfer from the Georgetown program. Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner led his article with the phrase "The exodus continues from the Hilltop," while Liz Clarke at the Washington Post wrote that "Georgetown's 14th-ranked men's basketball team, already operating with a thin roster, will see its ranks depleted further" by Mescheriakov's departure, leaving only nine scholarship players on the roster: three juniors, three sophomores, and three freshmen.

Additional coverage follows below:

AP: #14 12/22/09

Following its loss to Old Dominion, Georgetown is ranked 14th in the Monday Associated Press poll, down from 11th last week.

Other conference teams in the Top 25 include Syracuse (5), West Virginia (6), Villanova (8), and Connecticut (11).

No Timetable For Training Facility 12/21/09

Saturday's Washington Post preview of the Old Dominion game included a brief discussion of the 2007 plans for an athletic training facility to provide practice space for the men's and women's basketball teams. Although a number of facilities have been constructed in the Big East in recent years, such is not the case for Georgetown.

"Julie Bataille, Georgetown's associate vice president for communications, said this week that the university still planned to move forward with the project -- to include men's and women's basketball practice courts, as well as a weight training room, locker rooms and a sports medicine facility for all Hoyas teams -- but that no timetable had been set," wrote the Post. "'It will take successful fundraising for it to become a reality,' Bataille said."

Old Dominion 61, GU 57 Updated 12/20/09

"I'm interested to see how we react to the combination of last week's success and a rigorous week of exams," said John Thompson III in Friday's Washington Times.

Now he knows.

Eighteen turnovers doomed Georgetown in an deflating 61-57 home loss to Old Dominion at McDonough Gym on Saturday evening, its third straight loss to ODU in McDonough and a lack of continuity in the Georgetown backcourt entering Big East play.

Georgetown never led in this game, and it was easy to see why: the Hoyas could not hold on to the ball. Within the first five minutes, the Monarchs (7-4) had converted seven of its first nine points off Georgetown turnovers, and after 13 minutes of the first half, Georgetown had a string of nines: nine points, nine turnovers, and down nine, 18-9. Georgetown trailed by as many as 11 in the first before Greg Monroe scored eight straight, but a late three pushed the Monarchs back up to eleven at the half, 31-22.

The first half statistics were the hallmark of an team without any on-court spark: 30 percent shooting, a combined 0-6 from Chris Wright and Jason Clark, two offensive rebounds, and 11 turnovers in 17 possessions. ODU scored 13 points off turnovers to two for Georgetown, and had 11 more field goal attempts than did the Hoyas.

What was even more deflating was the lack of urgency displayed by the Hoyas for most of the second half. The Monarchs led by as many as 18 before Georgetown began to limit second chance attempts and put the Monarchs into foul trouble. The Hoyas closed to 12 midway in the half, 51-39, then gave up a three on the next series, 54-39.

GU record vs. ODU at McDonough Gym

Turnovers for GU

Points scored by ODU off GU turnovers

Scoring by ODU bench

Scoring by GU bench

Three minutes later, Chris Wright scored his first points of the game to close to 10, only to see the Hoyas give up a layup on the next series. Georgetown didn't push the defense hard enough and by the time they had worked the deficit into single digits, they had only 4:54 to work with, and promptly surrendered another three thereafter.

A Julian Vaughn basket and free throw pulled the Hoyas to eight, 59-51, with 3:40 to play, followed by a Monroe three and two Vaughn free throws to close to three, 59-56, with 1:48 to play. After a ODU missed three, Monroe was fouled, making the first but missing badly on the second, 59-57, whereupon ODU drove for a layup with :41 left, 61-57. Georgetown missed four different shots in the final 26 seconds to the bewilderment of the 2,400 students at the game.

The box score was a mess for the Hoyas across the board. Chris Wright and Jason Clark combined to shoot 4 of 14, with five turnovers, and no resemblance to the offensive sets which distinguish the Princeton-style offense which Georgetown an excel at. Austin Freeman was 1 for 6 from behind the three point arc, while Greg Monroe scored 15 but was 2-7 from two point range and missed four big free throws. Georgetown missed four straight free throws during a key second half stretch, including a pair of one-and-one opportunities.

The Monarchs were held to 46 percent shooting but the big lead built up early in the second provided enough of a cushion to absorb the late Hoyas' run. And while ODU fans were there three years ago to chant "C-A-A" at the end of its upset, it appears no ODU fans made its way to the snowy gymnasium. Instead another sound --silence-- led the Hoyas off the court Saturday.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       36   2-5   0-3   0-1   4   7  2    4
Clark        38   0-0   2-6   0-1   3   0  1    6
Freeman      37   4-5   1-6   2-2   6   0  3   13
Vaughn       26   5-8   0-0   3-5   7   1  2   13
Monroe       38   2-7   2-2   5-9   7   4  1   15
Thompson     16   1-1   0-0   2-2   2   2  2    4
Mescheriakov  1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  1    0
Benimon       4   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sims          4   0-1   0-0   2-2   1   0  1    2
DNP: Sanford, Dougherty, Stepka
Team Rebounds                       2
TOTALS      200 14-27  5-17 14-22  32  14 13   57

Post-game articles follow below.

It's A Gym! 12/17/09

On the lighter side of things, a blog entry at Hoya Insider suggests that McDonough Gymnasium is, well, misnamed.

"Say what you will about the words on the outside of the building - but, as far as this athletics department is concerned, it's an arena," writes Diana Pulupa.

In response, McDonough is called a gym not only because of the name on the building, but that it does not meet the classic definition of an arena. Generally defined, an arena is a facility where 1) seats surround the playing or performance area, and 2) the seats overlook the playing or performance area below (e.g., the Verizon Center).

The arena moniker was not in widespread use for McDonough until at last 1973, when The HOYA noted the word "arena" (in quotes) when describing a Seals & Crofts concert held there. (It is possible this term was used to promote the building to music acts who did not want to play in a mere gymnasium.) The basketball media guides still used the title "McDonough Gymnasium" through 1978, at which time "arena" was seen as a step up for the rising program. The title was famously employed in 1982 to secure a game with #4 Missouri when coach Norm Stewart signed a deal to play Georgetown at "McDonough Arena" instead of Capital Centre, sight unseen.

Major renovations have converted former "gyms" into "arenas"--the old Tulane Gym is now Fogelman Arena, and the renovations to St. Joseph's field house have enclosed the seating into what is now Hagan Arena. But McDonough remains one of the oldest non-renovated facilities in Division I, and its purpose remains more for practice and physical training, which better fits its given name.

ND To Big 10: No Thanks 12/17/09

In the wake of the news on Big Ten expansion, Notre Dame officials reiterated their intention to remain in the Big East and compete in football as a Division I-A independent.

"Our strong preference is to remain the way we are," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday. "Independence is a big part of the tradition of the [football] program and our identity. We'd sure like to try to maintain it."

A more non-committal response followed at Rutgers, where the Newark Star-Ledger reports that athletic director Tim Pernetti told the press "We are a proud member of the Big East Conference. It is not our place to speculate on the expansion plans of any other conference.”

Any while many hometown papers are promoting their various school as an expansion candidate, veteran Syracuse columnist Bud Poliquin argues otherwise. "More specifically, though -- and far beyond the romance -- there is this: As a mid-sized, private institution, SU would likely be forever mismatched against those sprawling public schools and would therefore almost certainly be relegated to the football nether regions of its projected new league," Poliquin writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Big Ten Seeks 12th School 12/16/09

After six years of relative quiet in the college sports firmament, the Big Ten conference has opened the latest round of college realignment by announcing it will consider adding a 12th team by as early as 2011.

"In 1993, 1998 and 2003 the [The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors] (COP/C), in coordination with the commissioner's office, reviewed the issue of conference structure and expansion. The COP/C believes that the timing is right for the conference to once again conduct a thorough evaluation of options for conference structure and expansion. As a result, the commissioner was asked to provide recommendations for consideration by the COP/C over the next 12 to 18 months," the conference said in a news release posted online Tuesday.

Although Notre Dame, which previously declined an offer to join in 1999 may be a candidate, athletic director Jack Swarbrick told the Wall Street Journal that "Maintaining our independence is a real priority for us. That's our plan going forward."

With ND on the sideline, three Big East schools may be sought for the 12th seat, according to reports. While the Big Ten may ultimately decide on a large, research oriented school with membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), AAU members Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Syracuse are possible acquisitions, any of which would force the Big East conference to add a I-A football school to its future roster.

The Big Ten could also look west, with Big 12 schools Missouri and Nebraska, each AAU members, as targets. A Missouri official told the Kansas City Star that the school would consider an offer if extended.

"The benefit if we can make our conference better by adding a school or university, then it’s worth considering," Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. If we can’t, then I’m not going to be supportive of it. I’m not speaking more specifically than that because there are so many variables. If it’s going to make us better as a conference, then it’s something worth looking into. If it’s not then we shouldn’t do it.”

No decision is expected for at least 12 months, from which the conference will notify the school's conference in advance, unlike the Atlantic Coast Conference's raid of three Big East schools in 2003.

Additional coverage follows below.

Supreme Court Passes On Millen Lawsuit 12/15/09

The U.S. Supreme Court has failed to grant certiorari in a case involving former basketball player Kevin Millen (B'95) and a suit filed against the Memphis Commercial Appeal, according to Tuesday's Commercial Appeal report.

The case had been previously dismissed by U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

AP: #11 12/15/09

Following consecutive wins over a pair of Top 25 teams, Georgetown is ranked 11th in the Monday Associated Press poll, up from 15th last week.

Other conference teams in the Top 25 include Syracuse (5), West Virginia (6), Villanova (8), Connecticut (14), and Cincinnati (25).

A Different Team 12/15/09

A column by Howard Megdal at SNY.tv examines some of the lineup changes which have propelled Georgetown to a Top 25 ranking this year.

"So what did last week's wins over Butler and Washington tell us? For one thing, we saw that a Georgetown interior defense that last year featured a sometimes tentative Greg Monroe and little else is anything but soft this season," Megdal writes. "Monroe is more aggressive, Henry Sims is averaging a block per game, Hollis Thompson is contributing as well, and Julian Vaughn is a revelation."

"The difficulty in projecting Georgetown this year came not from the top-end talent, but from the players around the nucleus of Monroe and Wright." he added. "So far, the answers appear to be coming back positively. If everything continues to develop as it has so far, this Georgetown team will be far more dangerous than last year's flameout. And the record, just like last year, won't begin to tell the reasons why."

Post-Game Comments on UW Game 12/14/09

Some media quotes following Saturday's win over Washington:

"As I watched this game I couldn't help but feel envious. Georgetown plays a beautiful brand of basketball," wrote Seattle Post-Intelligencer blogger Scott Cushing. "Even if I hated that UW was constantly getting beat to the hoop, I love watching good execution on the basketball court and that's exactly what we saw today. How can you not be impressed with that team?"

"Georgetown is 8-0, No. 15 in the AP poll and set to advance when the rankings update. There's no question about that. The only question is whether these Hoyas have staying power," writes CBS Sports columnist (and occasional Georgetown skeptic) Gary Parrish. "And though I suspect they do -- especially after Saturday's impressive 74-66 victory over Washington -- some doubt will probably linger well into the Big East schedule just because of what happened last season."

"Beating Butler and Washington on neutral courts doesn’t mean the Hoyas can knock off [Syracuse, Villanova or West Virginia], but at least it proves the Hoyas have matured from a year ago," writes Andy Katz at ESPN.com. "Sophomore center Greg Monroe is playing like a deserving lottery pick, a player that won’t just be placed their [sic] on potential, but rather on what he has earned. The depth of the bigs on Georgetown’s roster is also going to give the other big three in the Big East pause during scouting. The guard play has also been solid."

Georgetown 74, Washington 66 12/13/09

As exam periods go, this team passed the test.

Julian Vaughn scored 18 points as #15 ranked Georgetown overcame two second half comebacks by the #17 Washington Huskies in a 74-66 win at the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, CA. The win marked Georgetown's second win over a Top 25 team this past week, both on the road.

The matchup promised a test between the taller and more deliberate Georgetown offense and the smaller but more aggressive Huskies. In the early moments of the half, the game was to Washington's liking, even if the results weren't there for either team--the two teams opened a combined 2 for 10 in the first three minutes of the half. Turnovers and missed shots from outside dominated the stat sheets for both teams, but Georgetown's interior defense was limiting Washington's options inside. By the midway point of the half, Georgetown led 17-15, but scored only one basket over the next five minutes. To its credit, free throws paced the Hoyas to a seven point lead by the time Greg Monroe's basket broke the drought at the 4:23 mark.

Georgetown led by as many as six, but failed to connect on a basket in the final 3:40, allowing the Huskies to close to one at the half, 30-29. The Hoyas shot 31 percent for the half and missed seven of eight three point attempts, but had forced 13 turnovers from the Huskies.

Georgetown opened the second half with a renewed emphasis inside. A close in jumper and layup extended the lead to five, and the Hoyas added two more from a rare technical on Washington coach Lorenzo Romar at the 18:14 mark. As the inside game blossomed (layup, dunk, dunk, and layup), GU scored the first ten points of the half before Washington connected inside at the 15:58 mark, but the Huskies had no answers inside as Vaughn and Monroe went to work.

Georgetown connected on nine of its first ten shots within the first six minutes of the half, while UW saw a much different result: one field goal in its first nine possessions, with three turnovers. By the 13:55 mark of the second half, the one point halftime lead had grown to 20, 51-31.

Turnovers by

Second half points for GU by layup or dunk

Points for GU off Washington turnovers

Bench points for Georgetown

Georgetown's record vs. Pac-10 teams since 1989

Washington's record vs. Big East teams since 1989

The Hoyas returned the favor, with three turnovers in its next four possessions, but the Huskies could cut the lead no closer than 13, 51-38, before Georgetown went back inside again and again. Washington then gave up four more turnovers in its next six possessions, Georgetown picked up layups from Clark, Vaughn, and Hollis Thompson, and the lead was 19.

Georgetown maintained a healthy lead entering the final three minutes, 66-48, before the Huskies made a run that began to work away at the lead. After shooting just 9 for 22 in the half, Washington ended the game shooting 7 for 11, taking the 18 point Georgetown lead to as few as six with 27 seconds to play. Georgetown, which took only one shot in the final three minutes, connected on 8 of 11 free throws to seal the win.

"I commend our guys for fighting until the end. Our guys didn't quit," Romar said in post-game comments. "In the second half we came out flat. They methodically continued to do what they were doing and were able to distance themselves from us."

"We did a decent job in the first half of maintaining discipline, you have to be disciplined defensively against a team like that is constantly putting pressure with the back door cuts," Romar said. "The second half we weren't disciplined and as a result, they got tons of easy baskets on us. We also didn't do a very good job of taking care of the basketball. Twenty-five turnovers against a team like Georgetown is going to put you in a bad way."

Vaughn's second half play was impressive. The 6-9 junior was 6 for 7 in the half, all from short distance, while Greg Monroe was 4 for 7. In all, five Georgetown starters finished in double figures, as the Hoyas doubled its 31 percent first half shooting to a 62 percent pace in the second.

Washington's leading scorers, Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas combined for 44 points, but the remaining Husky starters were only 3 of 14 from the field.

"We came out lackadaisical and weren't hustling as much as we were in the first half," Pondexter said. We were just moving in slow motion and they beat us on a lot of easy plays. I wish we could restart that half again and maybe the outcome would be different for the game."

"With Butler and Washington, they are two terrific teams with very different styles of play," said coach John Thompson III. "I wanted that because within our league every other night you are playing a team with a totally different style of play. I wanted that preparation. For long stretches, in both games, our defense was pretty good. We made both teams take tough shots. That was our goal. We want the opposition to take tough, contest shots and I thought we did that."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       38   4-6   0-1   5-7   5   3  2   13
Freeman      35   2-7   1-5   4-4   6   4  0   11
Clark        38   4-6   1-5   2-2   4   3  3   13
Vaughn       24   7-9   0-0   4-4   7   1  3   18
Monroe       37   6-13  0-1   3-7   7   3  3   15
Thompson     25   1-5   0-0   2-4   3   2  3    4
Sanford       1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   1  0    0
Sims          2   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
DNP: Mescheriakov, Dougherty, Stepka, Benimon
Team Rebounds                       2
TOTALS      200 24-46  2-12 20-28  34  17 14   74

Post-game articles follow below.

Washington Times To Drop Sports Coverage 12/11/09

Following up on a story reported here last week, the Georgetown Voice confirmed the daily paper will end its sports coverage by early February.

"As of Feb. 2 at the absolute latest, the Times won’t be covering ANY local sports, not Redskins, Caps, Terps, Hoyas — nada,” Times staff writer Barker Davis e-mailed the Voice. “They are blowing up the sports department and I understand nearly half of all editorial staff and content. "

Founded in 1982, Times ownership has spent a reported $2 billion on the paper in the intervening years, but its daily circulation has dropped to only 67,148 copies per day, one-ninth that of the rival Washington Post. The paper will evolve into a free newapaper covering politics and stories about "cultutral values".

HOYA: Looking Back On The Decade 12/10/09

For those that missed it, Tuesday's issue of The HOYA looks back on the decade in Georgetown basketball with a feature story on the growth in support as well as a blog entry on its top players of the 2000's.

Of note in the article; support club gifts to men's basketball have more than tripled in the last five years. "Those are the things that tell me there is a significant amount of support for the program because of the success of the program, because [Thompson] is running a tremendous program,” said Alfred Bozzo [B'85], president of the Hoya Hoop Club. “[Thompson] is looking to build a program, and what you’re seeing from fan support tells me that the fans are buying into his concept for a program."

Macklin Making Adjustments At Florida 12/10/09

Florida center and Former Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin was interviewed by the Syracuse Post-Standard prior to Florida taking on Syracuse. Macklin holds no ill will towards the Hoyas, but says the Gators' up-tempo offense has made him a more agile player.

Macklin told the St. Petersburg Times that "I can honestly say last year was the first year I actually started watching film. I actually started cherishing basketball a lot last year, realizing that time is getting closer. My freshman and sophomore years at Georgetown, I didn't really cherish basketball that much, I just went out there and played. It's very important to me now."

wspaper focusing on political news and what its acting publisher called "cultural reporting based on traditional values."

Georgetown 72, Butler 65 Updated 12/9/09

"He did OK."--John Thompson III on Greg Monroe's effort

Greg Monroe posted a career high 24 points as #16 Georgetown fought off a tough Butler team, 72-65, at a Madison Square Garden doubleheader Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic.

The first ten minutes of the game were a series of runs: Georgetown scored the first five points of the game, Butler answered with the next six, Georgetown the next five, Butler the next five. Georgetown answered with a 10-0 run to give it a 20-11 lead which they maintained throughout the end of the half, with expert play from Monroe on both sides of the ball, and an alert Georgetown defense that held Butler to 3-12 shooting from two point range midway through the half, including holding leading scorer Matt Howard scoreless for the Bulldogs in the first half.

After Butler closed to 26-22 with under five minutes to play, Monroe took over, scoring 11 of the final 13 points of the half to plead the Hoyas to a 39-31 halftime score. Georgetown shot 54 percent for the half and maintained a 20-87 advantage in the paint, holding Butler to 36% shooting.

The Hoyas came out strong in the second half, shutting down Butler from the outside and picking up its tempo. Three pointers from Austin Freeman and Hollis Thompson broke open the scoring, and by the 13:34 mark the Hoyas enjoyed a 17 point lead, 52-35. Fouls and turnovers began to take its toll on the G-men, as Georgetown allowed Butler to get back in the game. BU's Matt Howard finally got on the scoreboard with 12:29 to play, 52-38, and the Hoyas went more than four minutes without a basket. Defensively, the Hoyas kept the lead at double digits, but by the midway point of the game Georgetown had posted only one basket, and a Gordon Hayward three with 8:33 closed the lead to just seven, 54-47.

Field goals by Georgetown

by Georgetown

Bench points for Georgetown

Butler's record vs. Top 25 teams this season

Four Georgetown players were in foul trouble, but thankfully for Georgetown Greg Monroe was not one of them, allowing GU to regain its poise amidst a parade to Butler's foul line and and 21 Georgetown turnovers in the game. A basket by freshman Jerrelle Benimon pushed the lead to seven, 56-49, but consecutive turnovers by Chris Wright opened the door again for the Bulldogs, part of seven GU turnovers over a seven minute stretch.

Consecutive baskets by Monroe gave GU a 60-51 lead at the 5:10 mark, and defending was a problem all night for the Bulldogs. Matt Howard picking up his 4th foul inside at the 4:49 mark and his 5th with 3:34 to play, the fifth game he has fouled out this season. Georgetown had an opportunity to put the game away, but missed four of six free throws in the next two minutes. For a Butler team which did not score a field goal for over seven minutes, free throws kept them close, with its last free throws coming at the 1:15 mark to close to six, 65-59.

A pair of Austin Freeman free throws got the Hoyas back to eight, 67-59, whereupon Butler rediscovered the outside shot and closed to five, 67-62, with 0:46 left. Hollis Thompson made one of two free throws, but Monroe picked up a block on the Bulldogs' next possession and they did not threaten thereafter.

Monroe's numbers were impressive: 24 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks, and two assists. Austin Freeman scored 18 points, a season high.

"I think the hard part tonight of defending Georgetown was Freeman's proficiency," said Butler coach Brad Stevens. "Monroe obviously attempted more field goals than he had in any other game this year. He was playing with a real authoritative spirit. He's a tough guy to guard. Now if you had told me he was 9-for-20, and he shot ten free throws and he ended up with 24 points, I would have said that's not all bad against us. We needed to do a better job against the perimeter guys and we didn't. And obviously Freeman was the guy for them."

Gordon Hayward led the Bulldogs with 24 points while Matt Howard finished just 1 for 9.

"Out of nine games, we've played seven away from home. We've played terrific teams," Stevens added. "We'll see what it all means at the end of the year. That's probably the best way to put it."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       37   0-4   0-0   7-8   4   4  2    7
Clark        37   2-4   1-4   2-2   5   2  1    9
Freeman      28   1-2   4-5   4-4   4   1  4   18
Vaughn       17   2-5   0-1   0-0   5   1  4    4
Monroe       38   9-19  0-1   6-10 15   2  2   24
Thompson     25   1-1   1-2   1-2   0   0  4    6
Sanford       1   0-0   0-0   2-2   0   0  0    2
Benimon       5   1-1   0-0   0-0   3   0  1    2
Sims         12   0-0   0-0   0-0   4   0  4    0
DNP: Mescheriakov, Dougherty, Stepka
Team Rebounds                       3
TOTALS      200 16-36  6-13 22-28  43  10 22   72

Post-game articles follow below.

AP: #15 12/8/09

Georgetown is ranked 15th in the Monday Associated Press poll, up from 16th last week.

Six Big East teams made the poll, led by third ranked Villanova. Other conference teams in the Top 25 include West Virginia (6), Syracuse (7), Connecticut (14), and Cincinnati (19).

Dirty Work 12/5/09

During the Big East era, there have been players at Georgetown willing to forego the statistics and just get things done: Ed Spriggs, Perry McDonald, Don Reid, Jerome Williams. John Thompson III might have someone else ready for some blue collar basketball in junior Julian Vaughn.

"Aside from his natural talent, one of Julian's primary strengths is that he is extremely intelligent. Combine that with his willingness, and he's a very coachable player and an excellent teammate," Thompson told Barker Davis of the Washington Times. "Every kid wants to score, and those opportunities will increase for him, but he understands that what we need most from him are the blue-collar contributions - rebounding, blocked shots, defensive positioning and presence, hustle, passing.

"He's starting to understand and embrace the fact that dirty-work guys do get recognized and noticed and applauded. That's the part of his game which needed the most work when he got here. And he now understands that both our success and his future are linked to his development in that department."

Georgetown 73, American 46 Updated 12/6/09

The 16th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas shook off a slow start and pulled past American, 73-46, before 10,465 at Verizon Center Saturday.

As they have done more than once this season, Georgetown got off to a slow start, with four early misses and a pair of turnovers that allowed the Eagles (1-8) an early 7-6 lead. A Hollis Thompson three put the Hoyas up to stay, and the defense responded by holding the Eagles to two missed shots and four turnovers over the next five minutes, from which they were then down nine, 19-9. The key factor in the run was the effort of sophomore Jason Clark, with two baskets, three steals, and an assist.

"We were lucky to have Jason out there in the first half," said head coach John Thompson III in post-game comments. "If he didn't have those five steals the game would have been much closer than 11 points...Jason gives you an honest effort at both ends of the floor, he's very unselfish and he's talented. I don't think that anything he does is a surprise to any of us because we see it everyday. He can make plays at both ends of the floor and does. "

American closed to eight at the 7:16 mark, 24-16, but the Georgetown defense picked up and the Eagles had no answer. AU missed seven straight shots over the next five minutes to fall behind 32-16 before a brief rally closed to 34-23 at the half. Georgetown shot 56 percent in the half compared to 31% for the Eagles, and AU's cold shooting followed them into the second, where the Hoyas outscored 11-2 to begin the half and an 18-7 run to push the lead to 63-32 by the 7:44 mark of the half.

Henry Sims led all scorers with 12 points, but Georgetown's defense also earned top honors, holding AU leading scorer Stephen Lumpkins (13.9 ppg) to just 1-17 shooting on the afternoon.

"You have to give [American] a lot of credit," Thompson said. They lost six guys who helped them to back-to-back league titles... Comparing and contrasting any team from year to year is a mistake and I don't do it."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       24   3-7   1-2   3-3   2   3  2   12
Clark        32   3-3   1-4   0-1   3   2  1    9
Freeman      26   2-4   1-3   2-3   2   1  0    9
Vaughn       23   4-5   1-1   0-0   7   0  3   11
Monroe       27   3-8   0-1   3-5  13   3  1    9
Thompson     19   0-0   1-1   2-2   1   0  2    5
Mescheriakov 10   1-2   0-2   0-0   2   0  1    2
Sanford      10   0-0   0-1   0-0   2   0  0    0
Dougherty     1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Benimon      14   2-3   0-0   0-0   1   0  3    4
Stepka        1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sims         13   4-6   0-1   4-5   4   1  1   12
Team Rebounds                       6
TOTALS      200 22-39  5-16 14-19  43  10 14   73

Post-game articles follow below.

Washington Times WARN-ing 12/3/09

A major press outlet covering Georgetown Basketball could be in danger of a sports shutdown by the end of January.

The Washington Times announced Wednesday that it has given a federal WARN (mass layoff) notice to its employees, as it plans to cut at least 40 percent of staff and end full scale paid distribution of the newspaper.

Acting publisher Jonathan Slevin announced Wednesday that the paper "will focus on our strengths -- exclusives, in-depth reporting, politics, enterprise stories, geostrategic and national news, plus cultural reporting based on traditional values." At risk is the paper's sports section, which has not only been aided by expert coverage of the Hoyas from staff writer Barker Davis, but which has held its own with coverage of the University of Maryland, the Washington Redskins, and various pro sports.

Local observers feel the local news and sports sections are at particular risk. "Slevin would not confirm that the metro and sports sections will be dropped, saying no final decisions have been made," wrote Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post.

Founded in 1982, Times ownership has spent a reported $2 billion on the paper in the intervening years, but its circulation has never matched the more established Washington Post. The Times' daily circulation of 67,148 is now one-ninth that of the Post, and its Sunday circulation of 45,427 has fallen below Sunday papers in cities such as Binghamton, NY (54,879), Wilkes-Barre, PA (52,736), and Fredericksburg, VA (48,887), according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

The Times is not the only local newspaper to suffer circulation declines. Daily circulation at the Washington Post has dropped from 838,902 in 1991 to just 582,944 in 2009, while the Washington Examiner, founded in 2005 with a daily circulation goal of 260,000, is now a free paper with a print run of just over 93,000 copies. Nationwide, 2009 will mark the fewest daily newspapers sold in the U.S. since 1941.

The 60-day layoff notice for the Washington Times runs through Jan. 30, 2010.

AP: #16 12/1/09

Georgetown is ranked 16th in the Monday Associated Press poll, up from 18th last week.

Seven Big East teams made the poll, led by third ranked Villanova. Other conference teams in the Top 25 include West Virginia (7), Syracuse (8), Connecticut (14), Louisville (20), and Cincinnati (22).

Maui In 2011? 12/1/09

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Georgetown is among five early invitees to the 2011 Maui Invitational in Lahaina, HI. The Invitational, considered the most prestigious of the Thanksgiving holiday tournaments, has also invited Kansas (#1 in this week's Top 25 poll), Duke (#3), Tennessee (#11), Butler (#23), Michigan, host school Chaminade and a likely Pac-10 team to be announced.

Georgetown's only prior appearance in the Maui Invitational was in 1999, where it met Memphis, North Carolina, and Florida in the three day event.

Georgetown 83, Mount St. Mary's 62 Updated 12/1/09

Four Hoyas scored in double figures as Georgetown tightened its defense and pulled away from Mount St. Mary's 83-62 at Verizon Center

Georgetown led throughout the game but got timely contributions from key players to stay ahead. The hoyas never trailed in the game but saw its lead tighten early in the game, with Chris Wright contributing eight of the team's first 18 points and a six point lead. MSM (3-3) relied on good outside shooting to stay close (5 of 9 from three point range), but had few answers inside for Greg Monroe, with nine early points as Georgetown opened a 27-16 lead. The Mount closed to 29-24 before Georgetown went on an 11-5 run at intermission, 40-29, and an 11-2 run to open the half, putting the game out of reach.

Despite missing six straight shots and seeing its lead drop from 20 points to 13, Georgetown's defense against MSM's outside shooting stood tall in the second, allowing the Hoyas plenty of open avenues inside. Greg Monroe scored seven straight that saw the lead move from 15 to 22, 69-47, part of a 19 point, 11 rebound effort for the sophomore center. Chris Wright had 18, while forwards Julian Vaughn (a career high 14 points) and Jason Clark (12) turned in strong efforts for the Hoyas in its fifth win of the season. Georgetown shot 48% from the field, 44% from three point range, and 83% from the foul line.

"We played a very good team tonight," said Mount St. Mary's head coach Milan Brown. "Their size bothered us inside and on some open looks from the perimeter...We fought the entire game, but sometimes it can be tough when somebody is bigger and more athletic and can make a play because of that."

"We’re not ready to have fun yet,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "We have a long way to go, but I think at some point this year we’re going to have fun."

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Wright       31   3-6   4-5   0-0   3   3  1   18
Clark        30   3-4   1-3   3-5   5   3  2   12
Freeman      31   4-9   0-1   1-1   1   2  2    9
Vaughn       28   7-10  0-1   0-0   8   3  0   14
Monroe       28   7-17  1-2   2-2  11   3  2   19
Thompson     23   1-3   1-2   0-0   7   0  2    5
Mescheriakov  5   0-0   0-1   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sanford       8   0-2   0-1   4-4   2   0  0    4
Dougherty     1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0  2    0
Benimon       6   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0  0    0
Sims         15   1-1   0-0   0-0   3   1  1    2
DNP: Stepka
Team Rebounds                       1
TOTALS      200 26-53  7-16 10-12  41  15 12   83

Post-game articles follow below.


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