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

MEN’S BASKETBALL | Mountaineers End Hoyas’ Win Streak

Senior guard Truck Bryant’s 19 second-half points led West Virginia (12-4, 3-1 Big East) past No. 9 Georgetown (13-2, 3-1 Big East), which saw its 11-game winning streak come to a screeching halt in Morgantown Saturday afternoon. The 74-62 win was the Mountaineers’ fifth consecutive against the Blue and Gray, who shot just 14 percent from behind the arc and committed a season-high 26 fouls.

The Hoyas were led by junior forward Hollis Thompson, who scored 20 points and went shot-for-shot with Mountaineer senior forward Kevin Jones for much of the game before Bryant’s second-half explosion. Jones, the Big East’s leading scorer and rebounder, ended the game with 22 points and 16 boards.

“[Jones] is special,” West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins said after the game. “It has been a long time since we have had a guy put up the numbers like he is putting up. … He doesn’t hunt shots, he just plays to win. It is [a] luxury to have him there to rebound the ball for us.”

The Blue and Gray came out of the gates strong and scored the game’s first four points while harassing West Virginia’s ballhandlers into some early turnovers with swarming full-court pressure. The hosts righted the ship quickly, though, ripping off a 9-0 run on buckets by four different players. The Hoyas tied the game four times before the 40 minutes were up, but couldn’t secure another lead.

First-half turnovers plagued Georgetown for the second straight game, as the repeated miscues prevented the offense from establishing any sort of rhythm or flow for the first 20 minutes. After turning the ball over 12 times in the first half against Marquette on Thursday night, the Blue and Gray once again committed double-digit turnovers in the first half in Morgantown. Jones took advantage of the Hoyas’ carelessness, racking up 15 of his 22 before the break.

Despite the all-too-familiar turnover struggles, Georgetown was down only two at the half and had a chance to take the lead when sophomore guard Markel Starks missed a long three-pointer as time expired in the half.

The second half started promisingly for the Blue and Gray, as senior guard Jason Clark — who had missed much of the first half with foul trouble — scored two quick buckets to offset a layup from Bryant and tie the game. Much like in the first half, though, Georgetown just couldn’t find a go-ahead basket.

“We got a couple possessions where it was tied and we had the ball and the ball didn’t go in the basket,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We could have been a little more patient during those times at the offensive end but again most of it was our turnovers, which led to a lot of transition baskets for them.”

For the second straight game, Georgetown cut down on the turnovers after halftime and actually finished with only 15 for the game. Unlike the previous game, though, the Hoyas couldn’t score consistently when they did have the ball. The team shot just 41 percent from the floor in the second half and was an abysmal 1-of-8 from behind the arc. Thompson was less effective in the second half, scoring just seven points and missing four of five foul shots. His teammates were unable to pick up the slack.

“We did a really good job of guarding,” Huggins said. “We gave them some back cuts in the first half, but I thought in the second half we did a better job of taking away the back cuts. We had pretty good pressure on their shooters. This is probably the best job we have done for the longest period of time guarding”

The hosts’ consistent effort on the offensive end eventually began to take its toll, as they shot 60 percent from the floor in the final period after hitting at only a 43 percent clip in the first half. The Mountaineers also got into the paint more consistently after halftime — 24 of their 31 free throw attempts came in the second frame.

“For large stretches this year I think we’ve been a very good defensive team and we were not a good defensive team today,” Thompson III said. “Our communication wasn’t where it needed to be and I think that was the game. They executed and our attention to detail, mostly on the defensive end, wasn’t where it needed to be to win the game.”

Bryant converted two foul shots to stretch the West Virginia lead to 13 with 4:36 to play, and it looked like the Mountaineers had the game under control. But Georgetown kept scrapping and cut the lead to four only two minutes later.

Freshman guard Gary Browne broke the Georgetown press for seemingly the first time all game and made a tough layup to stretch the lead back to six just moments later. Clark, who scored 10 points and had a game-high five steals, missed a driving layup and the Mountaineers made all ten of their free throws from there on out to ice the game.

The Hoyas won’t have any time to dwell on this loss, though, as they return to action on Monday.Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. at Verizon Center against a Cincinnati team that also lost today and recently welcomed several players back from suspension after an ugly brawl against Xavier earlier this year.

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