Hoyas Fall to Villanova in Quarters of Big East Tournament, Cats Sweep Season Series, 3-0

The Georgetown Hoyas returned to Madison Square Garden this morning to face the #1 seed Villanova Wildcats, fighting for their postseason lives.  Despite one solid half of basketball after which the Hoyas were down by 1 point at the half, 28-27, the Hoyas couldn’t hold on in the second and the game finished similarly to last week’s game on the Streets of Philadelphia–A Blowout, 81-67.  The Archies and Josh Hart were too much for the inconsistent Hoyas.  Bradley Hayes finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Hoyas. Sophomore guard LJ Peak finished with 18 points off the bench on 7-17 shooting from the field, and the four other starters, including senior DSR, had 8 points each.  Trey Mourning did not play–again. (Neither did sophomore guard Ra’Mond Hines #10.)

There are so many questions for the Hoyas after this early departure from the tournament and underachieving 15-18 finish for the season (7-11 in conference, selected pre-season too finish second after the Cats), which I will save for another day.

The Semifinals of the Big East Tournament is set, not too surprisingly:  the #1 seed/#3 overall Villanova Wildcats take on Providence; and #2 seed #5 nationally Xavier Musketeers face Seton Hall in the other semifinal.

I have my proverbial money on Xavier for the 2016 Big East Championship.

One word before I go tonight:  We Should Be Dancing, Yea! 

Next year?

 

Posted in Game Commentary, Music, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: My Favorite Yogi-ism, Hoyas Face ‘Nova for Revenge at Garden!

thHe’s baaaaaack!

Tip off: 15 minutes.  This is my speed writing blog.

The Georgetown Hoyas went down twice at the hands of the Wildcats this season;  first, a very winnable 55-50 loss at the Phone Booth in Washington DC.  The second, a wholesale thumping by the Cats over the Hoyas last weekend on the streets of Philadelphia.

Well Hoyas, you’re not in Philly anymore.  You are playing at your home away from home, Madison Square Garden, the site of many big wins throughout the years, in the conference tournament and in season.  This season you took down Big Ten Wisconsin (then ranked) and lost to the Blue Devils by 2.

Despite the odds last night, some commentators and fans gave you little chance against the lowly Blue Demons of DePaul, and you proved them wrong with a 70-53 first round victory.

th

Four wins in four days, it’s not impossible.  You have Bradley Hayes back and senior DSR carried you on his back in the second half last night.  Add to that some Peakness and Sir Isaac magic, plus freshmen magic, with Govan-Derrickson-Johnson, you never know.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Butler vs Georgetown

Do:

  1.  Take good shots.
  2. Drive to the hoop early and often, get fouled and get to the line, more than the Wildcats.
  3. Hit the Boards and get second shots.
  4. Play defense, please.

Don’t:

  1.  Turnover the ball.
  2. Get into early foul trouble.
  3. Let the guards get into a groove aka Defense Please.

Last night venerable Rutherford B. Hayes stepped back into the starting lineup after a 6-game absence and losing streak and lifted you up.

Who will lift you up today?  Will everyone participate.

Who the Eff is #10?

The Cats may be the Archies, but We Are Georgetown.  Blue and Gray, forever.  The season ain’t over.  Till it’s over.  Let the Fat Lady Sing.  Whatever it Takes.  New York City Magic, where Patrick Ewing spent his illustrious career as a Knick.

We have the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Game Commentary, Music, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

The Season is Not (Yet) Over: Hoyas Face Blue Demons at the Garden

I have been absent from the discussion for a few weeks.  So I missed you at least during the last two games, the OT loss vs Butler at home and the destruction in Philadelphia at the hands of the then #1 Villanova Wildcats.

The Georgetown Hoyas find themselves tonight in a very unusual position as the Big East Tournament begins at the Garden tonight:

14-17 on the season, the ONLY chance of playing in the post-season is to win the tournament championship.  Last odds I saw was approximately 1.5%

Tonight they play for pride and face a team that they have beaten twice, early in the season, the DePaul Blue Demons.  While DePaul has faltered more than Georgetown this season, they had and have no expectations tonight so I imagine they will play loose, and their “star” guard, Myke Davis, won’t feel pressure.

On the other hand, the Hoyas have made lists of the most disappointment teams this season in terms of expectations as compared with actual performance, so the greater pressure indeed is on the Hoyas.

A loss sends them home from New York City without any further games to play this season, not even the NIT.  So the Hoyas should be motivated, and in order to prevail they will require maximum effort from all team members, including returnee Bradley Hayes, post-injury.  Sophomores LJ Peak and Isaac Copeland need to continue their solid play, and senior DSR has a chance to prove his worth to his team–one more time.

It won’t be easy, not even against DePaul, but to drop this game would be worse than any first or second round loss in the NCAA tournament.

Query:  Does it bother anyone that George Washington University Basketball has been advertising on Fox Sports One?

With teams having punched tickets to the dance including UNC-Asheville (who beat the Hoyas this season) and UNC-Wilmington (who the Hoyas narrowly beat) and Monmouth likely getting an at large bid, those pre-season games sting.  However, what flattened the Hoyas was the competition in the Big East.  They have one last chance to change course.

LPP

Posted in Game Commentary, Music, Play of the Day, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

Do the Hoyas Have The X Men’s Number? Fighting for Tournament Life

There’s only one thing to do–get back, Jack, and Do It Again!

(Steely Dan, 1973)

Fighting for Post-Season Existence, the Georgetown Hoyas host the Xavier Musketeers (#8) at noon today at Verizon Center.  With a chance to squeeze at least a little toe into the post-season discussion, the Hoyas will need to play the best 40 minutes of their season before what hopes to be a raucous partisan crowd.

As each game leading up to this game were of “Must Win” status, a win against Top 10 Xavier would turn heads despite the recent uninspired losses at Providence and to Seton Hall.  

On January 19th at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Hoyas surprised then #5  Musketeers, 81-72.  Sophomore guard Tre Campbell had a career game in scoring 21 points, 17 of his game-high 21 points in the first half and the Hoyas connected on 51 percent of their shots from the field.  There is no question that the Hoyas will have to shoot much better than they have of late to pull out a win over a surging Xavier today.

Georgetown has a 14-13 overall record and a 7-7 mark in conference after losing at home to  Seton Hall on Wednesday night in a game where they found themselves behind early and could never regain the lead.

The Hope:

  1.  Today is an official GRAY OUT Game and the Hoyas have an all-time record of 5-1 in Gray Out games, including four-straight wins (Syracuse in 2012, St. John’s in 2013 and Butler in 2014 and 2015).

th

2.  Jessie Govan:  In the Seton Hall game, freshman center Govan made his first career start and  scored a career-high 27 points and had seven rebounds to lead the Hoyas.  In two games as a starter, Govan averages 20 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds.The Hoyas will need more of this from Govan and their bigs as they play one of the most complete teams in the nation in the Muskateers, who have won 7 of their last 8.  The Hoyas have lost 6 of their last 8.

The Hoyas will continue to miss senior center Bradley Hayes, who is out indefinitely after breaking his left hand in practice last Thursday. Hayes was averaging 8.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

While D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (DSR) leads the Hoyas in scoring, and ranks fifth in the conference with 16.2 points per game. his season has been less than what was expected when he decided to return after his junior year.  His shooting percentages are mediocre and his turnover-assist ratio less than expected from a senior leader.  The Hoyas need DSR to lead his team today.

As importantly, the Hoyas today will also need the scoring prowess and continued strong play of sophomore guard LJ Peak, who has scored in double figures in each of the last nine games, averaging 15.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in that span while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor (50-of-97) and 43.8 percent from 3-point land (23-of-31). Peak is second on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game and shoots 47.4 percent from the floor.  The Hoyas will also need sophomore forward Isaac Copeland to continue his recent solid performances, in the 92-67 GU win over St. John’s and a 75-72 loss to Providence where Copeland averaged 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and .2.5 assists while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor.

In fact, the Hoyas will need their entire team to perform well today to pull off the upset at home.  Sharpshooting big man, freshman Marcus Derrickson and sophomore forward Trey Mourning both need to counter the size of Xavier and their 23-3 record coming into the game.

IF the Hoyas don’t win today, they can kiss their NCAA tournament chances goodbye without winning the very competitive Big East tournament in New York.

Is it th or

th-2

Posted in Game Commentary, Heroes, Music, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

Hoyas Lose to Providence, 75-72, After Digging Out of 26-Point Hole

th-3

At the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence yesterday, in the second meeting of the two teams this season, the Georgetown Hoyas were in, then out, now back in the hole again.  Jack doesn’t know which end is up and can you blame him?  After falling behind yesterday by as many as 26 points in the first half, the Hoyas were down by 20 at the half.  It was looking quite dismal, even with a full 20 minutes remaining.

Then again, as they have done before, the Hoyas (14-12 overall and 7-6 in conference) clawed (or pawed?) back into the game until they were left with a chance to tie the game it at the line when sophomore Isaac Copeland was fouled on a 3-point attempt with a little over a minute to go.  Making 2 of 3, the Hoyas then fouled Friar big man Ben Bentil, who made both free throws.  With 9 seconds left, enough time for most teams to get a good shot off (and Copeland free in the corner), the final shot of the game was a desperation 3-point shot from the right by senior captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera that fell far short of the hoop.

The lack of inspired play throughout the first half and the final series at the end of the game were emblematic of the Hoyas entire 14-12 season thus far. With five games to play in the regular season, 2 against teams currently ranked in the Top 10 (Villanova #1 and Xavier #5), 1 slated for a ticket to the Big Dance (Seton Hall), another looking to avenge an early season loss to the Hoyas (Marquette) and Butler, not yet eliminated from post-season consideration, the Hoyas NCAA post-season chances hinge on the unlikely scenario of a run to the title in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square in early March.  And if you do the math, the Hoyas have to go at least 2-3 to stay above .500 before the conference tournament.

While the Hoyas should be proud of the comeback effort, a team with this much talent should never find itself so far behind.  Senior captain DSR scored his first– and only — points of the game when he hit a three from the corner with 2:42 left, to get the Hoyas within 3 at 70-67.  Sophomore Trey Mourning, who should be seeing a lot more playing time in the remaining games, then hit a three-point shot to narrow the gap to 71-70 with a minute left. Providence’s “other threat” Rodney Bullock hit a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to regain a 3-point lead, 73-70.  That’s when Copeland was fouled with a chance to tie the game.

The bottom line is that the Hoyas have not been able to find a way to win in close games this season with the exception of the home victory over Creighton.  

While the Hoyas faltered, Providence found its answer to a 3-game skid against Georgetown by improving to  19-7 and 7-6 in league play.  Bullock had 23 points and 10 rebounds, super guard Kris Dunn added 20 points, and Bentil finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to help the Friars end a losing streak that started with a loss to DePaul.

The First Half:  Providential Domination: The Friars connected on over 51% of their field goals and Bullock scored 18 points as the Hoyas fell behind 49-29. A layup from Mourning cut the Providence lead to 13-9 at 14:01, then the Hoyas experienced a 7-minute drought without a field goal.

The End of A Career?  The Hoyas announced just prior to the game that they would play without senior center Bradley Hayes, who is out indefinitely after breaking his left hand in practice on Thursday. Fourth on the Hoyas in scoring (8.5 points ppg) and leading rebounder (6.8 rpg), this is a huge loss for the Hoyas despite the talent among the underclassmen.

th

A Positive Spin–A Prominent Future Unveiled? Freshman forward Marcus Derrickson scored 18 points, had nine rebounds and five assists to lead the Hoyas, while sophomore guard L.J. Peak finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Freshman center Jessie Govan made his first career start, scoring 13 points before he fouled out, a problem for Govan (and in all fairness, the team) all season. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland scored 12 and sophomore forward Trey Mourning added 10 points and five rebounds.  This team is Georgetown’s future and in this blogger’s opinion, Mourning should see increasing time as this season winds down for his experience and more importantly, to increase the team’s chances to win.

th

The Prominent Lesson:  Avoid 26 Point Deficits–because even the tremendous effort by the Hoyas in the second half could not overcome that gap.

Continuing Problems for Georgetown:

  1.  Poor Offensive Effort: The Hoyas shot 25 % in the first half (9 for 28) and included within that half, a 7-minute drought without a field goal. For the game the Hoyas shot 43% from the field and 28% from 3 (8 for 28), while Providence shot 44% from the field and  37% from 3 point range (6 for 16).
  2. A Vanishing Defense:  Allowing Providence 49 points in the same half and over 50% shooting for the game.
  3. Turnovers:  Yesterday the Friars had 11 to the Hoyas 9 turnovers, a deviation from the norm.
  4. Free Throw Disparity:  36 attempts for the Friars, 16 for the Hoyas on 25 Hoya personal fouls.
  5. Rebounding Edge:  To the Friars, 36-28.
  6. Leadership Vacuum:  This is my greatest question, as one senior leader is now down for the season and the other scored only 3 points in a Must Win Game and he did little else in 33 minutes.

These problems unlikely will not be addressed or resolved in the remaining 5 games, conference tournament and any potential NIT post-season, if applicable.  However, they are problems that need to be addressed for the program and team before next season as frustration grows among the fan base and alumni–See Hoya blogs and social media.

Next Up for the Hoyas:
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Hoyas host hosting Seton Hall at Verizon Center in a 9:15 pm Tipoff.

th-1

Posted in Game Commentary, Heroes, Play of the Day, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

Hoyas Seeking Divine (or Special?) Providence in Rhode Island

Not a theologian, I apologize for any misuse of this term.  However, one can certainly agree that the Hoyas (14-11, 7-5 in the Big East) are at the point in the season when they can use “help or care from God or heaven” or at least from a higher spiritual power as they now face 3 nationally ranked teams in their final 6 games, the first starting today at noon at #20 Providence (18-7, 6-6 in the Big East) in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

th

In the prior edition of this blog, I argued for the potential of a 7-0 finish to the Big East regular season for the then struggling Hoyas.  The team took care of the first hurdle with no problem, a 92-67 blowout of the now 7-18 and winless in the Big East St. John’s Red Storm.   Today’s game against the Friars, a team that they could and should have beaten at home on January 31st, will of course be a greater challenge and features two of the premiere players in the conference, phenomenal guard Kris Dunn, one of the best players in the nation and future lottery pick,

th-1

and Ghanan-born big man Ben Bentil, who also should make his mark at the next level.

th

Dunn and Bentil gave the Hoyas fits at the Verizon Center with these impressive figures: each had 26 points, and Bentil on 8-12 shooting and 9-10 at the line.  Dunn shot 2 for 3 at the 3 point line and 8-10 at the line.  The Friars got to the free throw line 33 times as compared with the Hoyas 13 attempts.  That must change today.  Peak and DSR led the team in scoring with 19 and 18, respectively, and Copeland had 2 points on 1-5 shooting.  Hayes had 13 points and 10 boards and Govan was held scoreless in limited time.  Derrickson had 9 points and 4 fouls in 27 minutes.  The Hoyas had 22 personal fouls to the Friars 14 and each had 17 turnovers.

Still, the Friars won only by 4, 73-69, and the Hoyas had a perfect opportunity then to take a Top 10 team down and blew it.  Down 38-28 at the half, the Hoyas topped the Friars 41-35 in the second 20 minutes but it was too little too late.

It is imperative that JT3 and his staff have a plan to slow them down (to “stop them” would be near impossible) or the 7-0 streak will be broken.

Now for The Good News:  No, it’s not the free Donuts.  It’s that Providence has sputtered since beating the Hoyas in DC, losing consecutive games at DePaul (77-70), at home vs Villanova, 72-60 and a 96-91 loss at Marquette.  Clearly, the Friars are incentivized to get their game back on track at home against the Hoyas.

Not so fast.  The Hoyas played with great confidence against St. John’s, and with marked improvement in the play of two key Hoya sophomores, LJ Peak and Issac Copeland.  These are two signs that the Hoyas have arrived in Friar Country with much more confidence than they had in the first contest.

friars

(He looks scared.)

Second, the Hoyas played a much more loose, running and natural style befitting of their talent last week against the Johnnies.  Of course, the Friars have great talent but if the Hoyas are to succeed today they cannot return to the stilted form of slow down “Princeton” offense which has tripped them up this season ans in my opinion, in past seasons.  When you have the talent and depth that the Hoyas have, you press and run and draw fouls and score in the 80s regularly.  If the Hoyas can employ that same tactics against the more talented Friars, AND slow down Dunn and Bentil with superior D, the Hoyas will take #2 of the 7-0 run to end the regular season.

IF the Hoyas bring out the entire team and play deep,

Final score:  Georgetown 83-78 if decided in regulation time; 91-89 if decided in OT.

th-2

Out of the hole.

Take a box of these home and don’t forget your Valentine!

th-3

Hot off the Presses:  The Hoyas will play today without the services of senior center Bradley Hayes, who broke his hand in practice yesterday.  This means more time for both Jessie Govan and Trey Mourning.

Posted in Game Commentary, Heroes, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

Hoyas Thump Johnnies En Route to 7-0 Finish in the Big East Regular Season

th-1

It’s time to get delusional because I spend way too much time being rational and realistic.  So this is the post where I get to play “Jeane Dixon” (does anyone remember her?  Or even “Madam Marie” (more of you know her, I’ll bet, she tells fortunes better than the NJ cops do in Springsteen’s Asbury Park, NJ).

th

The Hoyas are tired of this roller coaster season.  Down to Radford, Up vs Xavier.  Down to  Maryland, Up vs Wisconsin.  At this point the Hoyas are nearing .500 in their season and that is the Danger Zone.  No one likes it there.  It virtually assures no invitation to the Big Dance and even threatens elimination from the NIT.  So starting tonight the Georgetown Hoyas will turn it up a la Van Morrison (“Turn it up, Radio”)  and find exalted and hallowed ground again.

I will assume that last night JT3 and the coaching staff, including Assistant Patrick Ewing, Jr. (former Sixth Man great and Final Four player in Atlanta), decided it would show this team how to be tough and mean and played tapes from the mid ’80s and ’90s (the 20th century, that is).  The team watched the master Defender, Gene Smith, take it to his man and everyone else’s man!  Govan and Hayes watched the Twin Towers dominate the paint and LJ Peak and Tre Campbell watched AI play tricks on his defenders.  Isaac and Reggie (Cameron) saw Reggie Williams and Sleepy Floyd shoot lights out and since there are too many greats to mention from that era, you get the idea.

Tonight the Hoyas catch a break and the 7-17 winless in the Big East St. John Red Storm (I had to catch myself there as “Redmen” still rolls off the tongue–take note, Redskins–change your name and it will never be forgotten) roll into Verizon Center with nothing to lose, but another game that is.  The Hoyas, on the other hand, must believe that this is the game that will define the remaining 7 regular season/conference games.

So, how do the Hoyas take 7 straight en route to a 20-11 record come conference tournament time:

th-1

  1. Scrap the “Princeton Offense” and play the Game of Basketball to win.  You have all done it before–before you came to the Hilltop and even on the Hilltop–but that slow, ‘too many passes’ (and sloppy) offense is beating you down.  LJ, see a hole or have a weak defender, take him!  DSR, take that 3 if you’re wide open but better yet get wide open with an inside pass and an assist back to you.
  2. Go to the Hoop on at Least 50% of Possessions and Get Fouled:  You are losing games in every which way, including foul shot disparities, so do something about it.  Get to the line, get fouled and make them.  Make them like Jessie Govan. 
  3. Bradley and Jessie, I know the refs have screwed you all year.  That may not change but Stop the Stupid Fouls.  And Coach, get Trey and Kaleb off the bench early and often.  Spread the fouls early or better yet, avoid them.
  4. Hit the Boards like you did against Xavier …
  5. Isaac, continue the strong play from the Rock and Reggie, get hot again or just grab boards–you do that well too.
  6. Press early and often.

Let’s Go Hoyas!  Take this one en route to a beautiful ending to this conference season.

Be proud as you are one of a very few that get to wear this uniform.  Wear it well and proudly, like many others have done before you … th

Prediction:  Final Score Hoyas 87, Johnnies 70

 

Posted in Game Commentary, Heroes, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

13-10 Hoyas Meet Pirates at Pru Center with No Room for Error

th-3

Digging a hole.  We’ve all heard the expression.  The Georgetown Hoyas at 13-10 have a tough remaining Big East schedule ahead, starting at the Prudential Center tonight in Newark, NJ, the home court of the Seton Hall Pirates (16-6,  6-4 in conference, tied for 3rd place with Hoyas and Providence Friars), with little to no room for error if they seek a post-season berth.  At this point I do not mean a post-season NCAA tournament berth, but ANY post-season berth, i.e., NIT.

Having started the season losing to what used to be referred to as “cupcakes” Radford, UNC-Asheville and Monmouth (apparently not a cupcake this season, 19-5, 1st in MAAC) and losing to perennial contenders such as Duke and Maryland in close games, the Hoyas dug themselves a hole–a rather large hole.  This all preceded the start of the Big East Conference schedule, where they would face teams that would be ranked such as Villanova, Xavier and Providence (all currently ranked, AP Top 11, 3, 6 and 11) and Butler (formerly ranked in the Top 25 and still hanging around the rankings).  Against these 4 conference foes, the Hoyas now hold a 1-3 record, and have yet to play each team again.

A few weeks ago as the Hoyas prepared for the Xavier Game, this blogger proposed 3 possible scenarios for the Hoyas.  At that time there were 15 games remaining, including  against current Top 25 teams Villanova (then #6 now #3), Xavier (then #7, now #6), Providence (then #13, now #11) and Butler (then #23, now out of Top 25).  Since then the Hoyas have beaten Xavier in Cincinnati, the Hoyas’ best win of the season to date and winless St. John’s at the Garden, and have dropped contests at UConn and to Providence at home and Butler on the road.  The Hoyas pulled out a victory at home against Creighton in the final two minutes, with a collective fight and will to win fans have not seen much of this season and hope to see more of down the stretch.

The Hoyas’ remaining games include tonight’s game against the surging Seton Hall Pirates, Monday’s home contest (2/8) against the Johnnies, still winless in the Big East, road games at Marquette (who will look to avenge an early season loss at Verizon Center), as well as rematches with Xavier, Providence,  Villanova, Butler and Creighton.  This without a doubt is one of the toughest schedules in the nation, assuming that the ranking experts and bracketologists are accurate in their assessment of comparing apples to oranges and kiwis to mangoes all season long before the tournament starts.

That “worst case scenario” posed a few weeks ago assumed a few Hoya home victories and at the same time feared that slipping off course could result in a losing record or at best a .500 record in conference.  Unfortunately for the team and their faithful, the Hoyas have reached the point where despite victories over Syracuse, Wisconsin and Xavier, those early losses to the low-hanging fruit may haunt them as the conference season concludes.

The Hoyas continue to struggle to win close games (except for the Creighton comeback), and despite what appears to be a deep bench, fail to use it to their advantage.  There is not a singular problem but rather several themes that have defined this season as February Make or Break Time is upon us:  1.  Slow starts, failures to build large leads or to maintain leads;  2.  Reliance on the 3 ball for a team that is ranked 147th in the nation in three-point shooting;  3.  Turnovers continue to haunt the Hoyas and they often “best” their opponent in this category each game;  4. A diminishing or at least defense that can’t seem to make many stops, and which can’t be relied to make stops when they count; and  5.  Add to that some untimely injuries (Paul White), a sophomore slump (Isaac Copeland) and generally a young team made up primarily of sophomores and freshmen, and we see the Hoyas struggling down the stretch with little to no room for error.

th-1

Four and two in their last 6 games, the Pirates have beaten Providence, Creighton and Marquette by convincing margins and lost to Villanova by 1, 72-71, at home.  Led by sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, averaging 16 points per game, four Pirates average double figures (Whitehead, sophomore guard Kadeen Carrington, sophomore forward Desi Rodrigez and sophomore forward Angel Delgado).  This won’t be easy, folks.  The teams meet again at the Verizon Center on Wednesday February 17th in another one of those highly coveted 9 pm starts.

So tonight the Hoyas roll into Newark, with the ability to turn it around.  They are facing a formidable foe who as of today are projected to be NCAA-tournament bound according to the leading NCAA bracketologist, ESPN’s Jo Lunardi.  The Hoyas, on the other hand, are projected to be among the “Last Four Out”. (Honestly, that is surprising to me and cuts the Hoyas a lot of slack at 13-10.) With a win at Seton Hall the Hoyas then have a chance to return home to face the Big East winless Johnnies and turn a 13-10 season on the brink to a hopeful 15-10 season.  Whether that will happen is anyone’s guess, but JT3 and the team on the floor are the only ones with control over the team’s fate.

Win or lose, I suggest a stop after the game at one of New Jersey’s hidden treasures, the Ironbound section of Newark, just a few blocks from the Pru Center for the best Portuguese food on the East Coast and some fine beverages.

th-4 th-5

 

th-2

Dig out, Jack, dig out!

Posted in Game Commentary, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

The Hoyas Missed the Memo, Clipped the Blue Jays, 74-73

th-1The Georgetown men’s basketball team were apparently the Only Ones who Missed the Memo:  with commentators and faithful fans alike having already declared the season over, the only ones with any control over it–10 suited players–pulled the most improbable comeback and refusing to lose, played the most exciting few minutes of frantic, desperation basketball this season to live another day.  Again in possession of second place in the perennial rough and tumble Big East, at 6-2, the Hoyas merged past and present, blended legacy and future, to beat a strong and Creighton Blue Jay team and with its unflappable and talented point guard Maurice Watson, Jr. and their wide and ruddy big men, one actually looked like a Mountaineer from our former Big East opponent now in the Top 10.  But given the Hoyas fight and heart in the end all Blue Jay Coach Greg McDermott could muster was this: th-2

It Was a Team Effort:  All Hoyas played, and contributed.  It wasn’t pretty and they had two, not one, opponents to beat:  1.  The Creighton Blue Jays, behind its star Maurice “Mo” Watson, Jr., and 2.  The Referees.  Now I am not that fan who cries about the referees.  In fact, I come from a family of referees and umpires and I sat in the stands as a kid and stared down anyone who called out my Dad.  But last night these guys were horrendous.  Of course, the Hoyas made their share of silly fouls but the 5th foul on Govan, what was that?  That was just one.  Listen to John Thompson, Jr. at the post-game presser and he’ll tell you what went down.  I think getting refs that bad in the Big East is an embarrassment to the conference so I hope Commissioner Ackerman will investigate.

Legacy:  Rejection Row, Riyan and the Miracles.  Sound Familiar?  Patrick Ewing, Jr., as assistant coach.  Some smile and say “how nice”.  After last night’s game, one should know these aren’t accidents or niceties;  rather, this continuation of great tradition is intentional and with a purpose.  Hire and recruit well, and win.  If it’s legacy, so be it.  Legacy has played a role for years in the admissions process at Georgetown and other universities.

#33 sophomore forward Trey Mourning entered the game near the end of the first half and stopped a Hoya skid with 6 points with consecutive spot on jumpers.  Add defense, rebounds and blocked shots and one may have flashbacks to the ’90s indeed.  More minutes are good for the team and Hoya heart!

In the final minutes of the second half with the game on the line senior guard #21 Riyan Williams entered the game and helped the Hoyas with the press that caused the upset.  One of two at the line, that was a very necessary point!  Although next time we’d like to see Riyan sink both!

Present:

thth-1

Past:

th-4 th-3

Future:  The Hoyas keep their fans guessing, to be sure.  Just when we think we have taken the turn to excellence–beating big bad Xavier–the team falls back at Storrs.  Now we await the new Big East darling Providence on Saturday, again with history.  Which Big Man and Hall of Famer was a Friar?

We keep calling each game a “Must Win”–why?  Because each game is.  The Hoyas have not–at this point–earned a place in the Big Dance and game by game, will need to move a notch or two to gain that entry to the party.  Do we have our doubts still?  Of course, but last night, the Georgetown team showed the heart and passion it takes to win games in February, when every game counts.

Prominent Player:  DSR, for his leadership and clutch free throws in the final seconds.

Game Ball:  Belongs to the Team, everyone from the guy who scored one point at the line to the high scorer, DSR with 19, and Derrickson (11) and Peak (10).

Prominent Stat: 10 Steals

Wings Clipped:  Blue Jays

th-3

 

 

Posted in Game Commentary, Heroes, Play of the Day, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Facts | Leave a comment

Hoyas Host Creighton BlueJays, In and Out or Outside Looking In?

We are looking for answers, for reasons, for the rocky 12-8 start.  Hoya fans want to stay … try some passion tonight.  (Let Tracy Chapman start it off.)

It’s two hours till tipoff and I’m feeling more philosophical than X and O oriented today.  

i

Here’s a young man who played with his heart and not his head.  I’d like to see the Ghost of Aaron Bowen return to Verizon Center tonight.  Add to that the Sixth Man of 2006, Patrick Ewing, Jr., current assistant coach, another player who just got things done, made it happen.  Trawick, Monroe, we could go back decades but I’ll stay in the 21st century for now.

th

The Georgetown Hoyas enter this game 1-2 in their past 3 games, a record which could have easily been 3-0.  A 50-55 loss to Villanova at home followed by a tremendous win at Xavier against perhaps the best team in the Big East with a let down against UConn at Storrs, another game that was every bit winnable as the Nova loss.

Every Hoya fan in the Blogosphere and Twittersphere is searching for answers.  Turnovers, poor shot selection, failure to play in and out (like they did at Xavier), get to the line and hit the boards (Xavier).  Where is Isaac, they ask?

We are Georgetown.  We find answers, sometimes.  We certainly ask a lot of questions and alumni are trained to do so from Day One.  We think a lot, perhaps too much and we have a coach who graduated from Princeton, another thinker.  We need … PASSION!  We need … HEART!  INSPIRATION!

Who will provide it?  Will it be the Assistant Coach on the bench who played his heart out for this team?  Will it be freshman Jessie Govan, in whom I see a big heart–let it out!  Will it be scrappy sharpshooter Tre Campbell?  Fiery LJ Peak?  Trey Mourning, we know he has heart, he showed it in 2 minutes at Xavier!  Give him 4 or 6 or 8 minutes, let’s see how his heart multiples with time.

I know I ask more questions than I have answers but we are on the cusp of breaking into the Top 50 RPI and we beat Creighton, Butler, Providence and Xavier again and we’re back in the discussion.

We all want to be on the inside not the outside looking in.

Let’s Go Hoyas!  At home, with your fans, with the Stonewalls and kids admiring you, get it done tonight.  

Hoya Saxa Baby!

 

 

 

Posted in Game Commentary, Pre-Game Commentary, Sports Business, Sports Facts | Leave a comment