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Four weeks ago, Georgetown shook off a poor performance versus Xavier with a win over Creighton. Can it happen again?
Times have been tough in Omaha in the year after Doug McDermott and the Bluejays lost nine straight before rallying to defeat St. John's Wednesday night, 77-74. The story to the game was outside shooting, where the Bluejays put up 30 attempts from behind the arc and sank 13 of them. With a depleted lineup, it is a formula that it may want to try again Saturday.
More on the Bluejays follows at the Pre-Game Report page, with additional coverage Saturday. An early preview also follows from The HOYA.
From HoyaSaxa.com, Jan. 25, 2014:
A strong defensive effort by the outmanned Georgetown Hoyas was not enough as #24 Creighton leveraged a pair of runs to pull away from the Hoyas, 76-63, before 18,859 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, the largest home crowd in Creighton history.
Creighton entered the game as prohibitive favorites, not only for the Hoyas' struggles but following a 96-68 route of #4 Villanova that included 21 threes. Chief among the Hoyas' tasks: defend the three and defend Doug McDermott, Creighton's leading scorer and All-America candidate, from tearing the game open early. For its part, Georgetown did just that, but lacked the offensive counter-punch to make it a game.
The Hoyas opened the game on a 5-0 run and led 11-7, holding the Bluejays to just 1-7 from three point range and 3-15 in the game's first ten minutes. Unfortunately for Georgetown, its offense was not much better, going 2 for 12 and missing four straight shots in the paint at close range that could have built an early lead.
Through the first 13 minutes, however, the Hoyas were holding their own. With McDermott in check, Creighton turned to forward Ethan Wragge to rally the offense. Wragge, with there pointers in 74 of his 76 field goals this season entering Saturday's game, got things going with consecutive threes to tie the score at 13-13, accounting for 12 points over a 17-4 run that saw Creighton take a nine point lead at 24-15. A pair of baskets by Mikael Hopkins narrowed the Creighton lead to six but no closer, as the Bluejays held the Hoyas to just 32 percent shooting and took a 10 point lead into the break, 34-24. Both teams finished with 10 field goals at intermission but free throws again skewed away from the Hoyas, as Creighton earned 10 more attempts to the line, adding eight.
Though trailing, Georgetown continued to fight. A pair of baskets by Reggie Cameron kept the Hoyas close, while Hopkins continued to battle inside with McDermott and scored a pair of baskets to drive the Hoyas within six with 14:42 left, 42-36. Creighton coach Greg McDermott turned to his bench, where Will Artino scored on consecutive possessions as the Bluejays had caught a second wind. A second 17-4 run followed, with the Hoyas earning just one field goal over a seven minute period as the Bluejays put away the game 58-42 with 8:02 left.
Up 17 with 4:46 left, Coach McDermott began to slow down the game to keep the scoring down. Markel Starks scored 11 of his game high 21 down the stretch while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who had struggled through much of the game and appeared to be hurt at one point, scored eight of his 18 points over the final six minutes as the Hoyas closed to 11 points but no closer.
Planning for the John Thompson Center has covered every contingency for the men's basketball program, but a feature at Coaching Search.com investigates the next big thing in training facilities: locker rooms for a school's pro alumni.
"The purpose is to bring some of our pro players back to campus when they have an opportunity during the offseason and train at Baylor, which we know they like they to do," said Baylor associate athletic director Todd Patulski. "They consider this their home, and the coaching staff is their family. This provides a great opportunity for them to put their duffel bag in and get workouts in...All these guys really find opportunity to come back."
While the addition is for Baylor's football program, it is inevitable that basketball locker rooms will follow.
"Weíve put a lot of kids in the [pros], and itís becoming more and more of a demand. This is a great opportunity to create a space for them."
Various media reports are citing a verbal commitment to Georgetown from Kaleb Johnson, a 6-6 forward from the class of 2015.
Johnson, from Martinsville, VA, averages 23 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior, but at 6-6, 185 lbs. will have to adjust to a more physical college game. Johnson selected Georgetown over Tennessee, Georgia Tech, and William & Mary, among others.
Johnson would be the fourth new entrant to the Hoyas in 2014-15, joining Marcus Derrickson, Jessie Govan, and Louisville transfer Akoy Agau.
Efforts like this from the Georgetown Hoyas are usually found in the preseason, or sadly, in games against teams named Ohio or Florida Gulf Coast. But in conference play, the college basketball world frankly expects a higher level of performance from coach John Thompson III and his team. But not tonight.
The #21-ranked Georgetown Hoyas were no match in a fitful 66-53 loss to a Xavier team which had not won a Big East road game this season. The Hoyas, who put 95 points on the board at Marquette, were nothing short of awful in a first half that scored just four field goals against 13 turnovers and never seriously threatened a Xavier team that managed just 40 percent shooting for the evening. The Hoyas had more turnovers (17) than field goals (16) in its worst effort of the season.
The contest started poorly for both schools, combining to miss eight of its first 10 shots in the first four minutes of play. Georgetown's second and final lead of the game came at the 14:28 mark of the second half via an L.J. Peak three pointer, but the Hoyas were giving up the ball more than they were shooting it. By the midway point of the first half, Georgetown had as many turnovers (6) as shot attempts (7).
With 11:17 to play in the first half, Aaron Bowen's layup closed the deficit to 11-8; certainly, no reason to panic. The remainder of the half was a case study in Xavier's ability to play good defense and the complete absence of Georgetown to do anything about it. The Hoyas missed seven straight attempts that was not interrupted until a basket at the close of the half, a humbling run of over 11 minutes without a basket. There was little in the way of urgency among the players or the staff--coach John Thompson III called just one time out over the first half minimum to change the flow and chose not to extend the bench beyond its normal pattern. The starters played 70 percent of the first half and contributed two field goals.With 13 turnovers by halftime, Xavier's 29-16 lead was remarkable in that it was not twice that amount given the performance on the court and the tepid response from the crowd of 8,576 at Verizon Center.
Isaac Copeland's basket at the conclusion of the first half spared the Hoyas the fewest first half points for a Georgetown team in the shot clock era, but the statistics from the first 20 minutes were no less startling:
GU shooting, 1st half
final 11:17 of
Points in paint,
Amount of time
GU led in
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS
Smith-Rivera 15 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0
Trawick 14 1-1 0-1 2-3 2 0 2 4
Copeland 14 1-1 0-2 0-0 2 0 1 2
Hopkins 16 0-1 0-0 0-2 3 0 0 0
Smith 11 0-1 0-0 3-4 1 1 1 3
Peak 3 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 2 3
Campbell 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0
White 11 0-1 0-3 2-2 3 1 1 2
Bowen 6 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 2
Team Rebounds 1
TOTALS 100 2-8 1-8 7-11 14 2 8 16
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, continuing a trend of absentee first half shooting, was scoreless at the half and picked up his pace to begin the second. Three times the Hoyas drove to within striking distance but could never get over the hump. An Isaac Copeland three at the 16:35 mark closed Georgetown to 40-30 but the X-men extended it back to 15, A Josh Smith basket (his first of the game) with 12:50 to play cut the lead to 40-30 and the Musketeers then scored the next eight. Georgetown's only sustained "run" of the game came with under five minutes remaining, closing a 12 point lead to seven, but the Hoyas again wilted late. The Hoyas missed its next four attempts from the field and Smith missed the front end of a one and one which could have closed the lead to six.
Emblematic of the Hoyas' inattention to detail came with 1:25 remaining, where Xavier was inbounding the ball underneath its basket. The Georgetown defense had closed off all the options outside, but a GU defender looked the other way when guarding Xavier center Matt Stainbrook, standing aside the inbounds player. Guard Dee Davis simply tossed the ball to Stainbrook, who laid it up without a fight.
Myles Davis led the Musketeers with 19 points on 6 for 9 shooting. Smith Rivera, shooting 5 for 14, led the Hoyas with 14.
For the game, Xavier had one more field goal than Georgetown and it would be easy to say the game was lost at the line (X: 25-32, G: 13:24) but it really wasn't. This game was lost in every facet of play, every facet of coaching. While Xavier is a traditionally tough opponent for georgetown given its combination of guard play and inside options that mirrors Georgetown, the Hoyas weren't a factor in this one. Mental mistakes, turnovers, and inattention to foul shooting are all evidence of a team not prepared to play Tuesday night.
If there was blame to go around, and there was, head coach John Thompson III wasn't about to say it publicly in post game comments.
"I don't know how, big picture, to sum up today," he said. "We did not play well, they played very well...You have to give them credit to how well they played. We just have to be better."
"I felt like [we] would be ready to go," said Xavier coach Chris Mack. "I thought the difference in the game was just how we came out and defensively our guys did a great job of limiting them to only one shot. To go in the first half and have [Georgetown] not get an offensive rebound, despite having 12 misses from the field, I can't say enough about the way our guards rebounded and blocked out. They did an excellent job."
Next up for the Hoyas: a Creighton team looking for its first conference win. Anything close to an effort like Tuesday's game will be Creighton's best opportunity to do just that.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS
Smith-Rivera 35 3-7 2-7 1-2 0 2 2 13
Trawick 29 1-3 1-2 2-3 6 1 4 7
Copeland 26 1-1 1-3 0-0 2 0 3 5
Hopkins 26 0-1 0-0 0-2 4 0 4 0
Smith 24 3-4 0-0 4-9 5 2 4 10
Peak 10 1-2 2-4 4-5 0 0 4 12
Campbell 23 1-1 0-3 0-1 2 0 0 2
White 14 0-1 0-3 2-2 4 2 1 2
Bowen 13 1-1 0-0 0-0 3 1 1 2
Team Rebounds 2
TOTALS 200 11-21 6-22 13-24 28 9 23 53
Three years after becoming a high school girls basketball coach, former Georgetown forward Boubacar Aw (C'98) takes a look back at his transition into coaching, per a feature at the Port City (NC) Daily.
"Thereís no question itís between night and day from playing at Georgetown under scholarship to learning how to become a coach," Aw said. ďOnce you become a coach you need to become a teacher and try to lose the mindset as a player. "
"One of the biggest things I took from my time at Georgetown was that sense of family," Aw said. "That was one of my goals when I came here was to create an environment where we all felt comfortable around each other, will put everything on the line for each other and work as a family and unit.
"Itís never personal on the basketball court, and I look at it a lot like being a father figure. When you mess up Iím going to try to help guide you to not make the same mistakes. To this day Iím still reminding the girls that weíre family and I care for them and want them to be the best they can be."
As always, prior stories over this past week or the last 15+ years of coverage can be found at the News Archive pages, including recaps of all prior games over the season. It's a good way to keep up to date if you've visit the site less frequently. The last 10 stories:
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