Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Leaders Trip, GU Stumbles and Falls

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – All season long, Georgetown has lived and died by the play of its Big Three. Greg Monroe, the future lottery pick, Austin Freeman, the Dematha Miracle Man, and Chris Wright, the feisty, hard-nosed point guard, have combined for 45.9 points per game for the Hoyas. While they all have had their poor performances, the Hoyas have been fortunate in that when one has had a bad game, the other two have stepped up and played well.

On Monday night, Freeman stormed out of the gate to 13 first-half points, but Wright played poorly, Monroe played worse and the Hoyas went down big.

Against the mutating Syracuse matchup zone, the Hoyas were going to need some outside shooting. They responded by going 8-of-21 from beyond the arc, missing 13 of their last 17 three-point attempts. No one had a worse day from beyond the arc than Wright, who went 0-for-6 from three-point range and just 3-of-10 from the floor en route to seven points.

“What they do defensively, they try to make sure that if you take a three it’s a tough, contested three,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “They have the long bodies flying at you, which is why we wanted to get it inside. That being said, Chris [Wright] got some looks that he has been making and will make that didn’t go in, but you’ve got to give them credit for that.”

The Hoyas are 14-0 when Wright scores in double figures and 1-4 when he does not, and his seven-point effort wasn’t enough to overcome a team as good as Syracuse.

Wright, who feasted on the Orange for 25 points last year at the Carrier Dome and had a team-high 27 points in a huge road win over Pittsburgh last week, never looked comfortable. His first three, at the 13:25 mark of the first half, didn’t fall, and another look with 5:45 to play also didn’t go.

“We know Wright’s a good shooter,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said. “Wright missed a couple tonight. Last year, he had 25 in here. He missed a couple, got off track a little bit, so we paid more attention to Clark and Freeman.”

Trailing 37-30, Wright had a chance to pump life into the Hoyas as he has done time and time again, but his three was no good. He got fouled during the next possession, but missed the second shot, coming away with just one point from the series, when he could have added five to the Hoyas’ column.

Then, with both teams trading bad possessions and the score sitting stagnant at 59-45, Wright found himself open on the left wing for a three to get the Hoyas within 11 points, but the ball hit iron, bouncing into the hands of Orange sophomore forward Arinze Onuaku.

All of this being said, Wright had seven assists against a tough defensive team, and he also had just one turnover in a game where the team as a whole had 19.

onroe, however, was not quite so controlled with the ball as Wright was. The skilled passer had six turnovers, no assists and fouled out with 6:27 to play, to the delight of the 26,508 Orange-clad fans at the Carrier Dome.

onroe looked uncomfortable all night against the Syracuse zone, which limited his touches and left him struggling to assert his presence in the paint – he took just seven of the Hoyas’ 49 shots. When he was able to get working in the lane, the Syracuse defense made life miserable for him, getting hands and bodies in his face, forcing Monroe’s six turnovers.

“We didn’t do a good job of attacking that zone, and against the zone, to get him the ball, we have to attack,” Thompson said. “We have to get into the middle, into the meat of it for [Monroe] to get the kind of touches he wants.”

When the Hoyas did attack the zone and find Monroe, they ran into an Orange wall.

“We were able to get guys back in on him,” Boeheim said. “Our big guys just tried to make him take a tough shot. He’s a tremendous player. I thought we did make it hard on him as much as we could.”

Against the big, physical front court of Syracuse, the sophomore found himself in foul trouble as he tried to stem the Orange assault. Bodied up against 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior forward Rick Jackson and 6-foot-9, 261-pound Onuaku, Monroe not only had to deal with constant defensive pressure when the Hoyas had the ball, but also was tasked with limiting Syracuse’s production in the paint, where the Orange held a 34-20 advantage.

“On the offensive end we wanted to go in on him,” Boeheim said. “We wanted to try to go in on him. We wanted to try to go to him with Arinze [Onuaku] or Ricky [Jackson] or whoever he was defending, but he had a couple of in-and-outs and he got in foul trouble.”

Following what Thompson described as maybe the Hoyas’ worst game of the season, Georgetown has four days to prepare for its next game, this time in the friendly confines of Verizon Center. That’s the good news. The bad news is they have another top-10 team in No. 8 Duke.

For the Hoyas to come out of this five-game gauntlet at 3-2, they’re going to need more than just one of their Big Three to have a good day.

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