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

Big East Proves Too Tough for GU

Big East Proves Too Tough for GU

By Sean P. Flynn Hoya Staff Writer

The Georgetown men’s basketball team won six consecutive games in December against mostly lesser opponents, picking up confidence – it seemed – before the Big East season opened Jan. 5. But in the Big East, the Hoyas hit a brick wall and dropped their first three games.

After a grueling season-opening stretch, in which the Hoyas traveled to the Maui Invitational and lost to then-No. 4 North Carolina and then-No. 6 Florida, then stopped at Nevada-Las Vegas on the way home, Georgetown’s schedule lightened, and the Hoyas fattened up on their perennial cupcakes. The Hoyas got home wins against Howard, Bethune-Cookman, Marist, Houston, Coastal Carolina and James Madison in a one-month stretch of December and early January. But a downward spiral followed as the league season began, with the Hoyas losing disheartening games against Providence, Seton Hall and St. John’s.

Heading into Saturday’s game against Miami, the Hoyas are 8-6 overall, 0-3 in the Big East.

“This is not a league for babies, either for coaches or for players,” Esherick said after a 65-62 overtime loss against Seton Hall Jan. 8. “We all have to be tough enough to know that the season is not over. I’m certainly not ready to fold the tent.”

Although the Hoyas came out of its easy stretch with no losses, some of the games were closer than they should have been. Georgetown dominated Bethune-Cookman for most of their 83-76 win Dec. 8, but the Hoyas nearly squandered a 27-point lead with seven minutes remaining. In the 63-53 win over Marist Dec. 12, the Georgetown defense had a hard time handling Red Fox point guard Sean Kennedy and allowed the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team to stay in the game until the final minute.

Down the stretch, the Hoyas seemed to be coming together, including a hard-fought win against the toughest opponent of the stretch, Houston, Dec. 18. In the 83-75 victory, Georgetown battled hard to break a late tie and used strong rebounding to overcome the Cougars. After a long break for Christmas, the Hoyas did away with Coastal Carolina (85-57) and James Madison (63-48).

But the cakewalk was over Jan. 5 at Providence, when Georgetown put on one of the worst performances in school history en route to a 55-48 loss to the Friars. After tying the score at 11 with 16 minutes left in the first half, the Hoyas made one field goal the rest of the half to head into halftime trailing 30-15 against a mediocre Friar team missing its top player.

Georgetown came back to make a game of it, moving to within one point of Providence, but was ultimately done in by terrible shooting from all ranges and even worse passing.

In game against Seton Hall at MCI Center Jan. 8, things seemed the same for 25 minutes – bad shooting, bad passing, bad ball-handling – but it all turned around in the middle of the second half. With a minute to play, the Hoyas led 54-52, but freshman forward Victor Samnick missed a free throw and Seton Hall rebutted with an easy layup to tie it. The Hoyas had two shots to win it in the last 45 seconds, but sophomore guard Kevin Braswell missed both and Seton Hall missed a shot to win it at the buzzer.

In overtime, Georgetown amassed a 61-56 lead with 1:30 left, but again blew the lead. Samnick missed another free throw and on the ensuing possession the Pirates cut the lead to 61-58. After a Georgetown free throw, sophomore center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje fouled out on a three-point play by Pirate guard Shaheen Holloway, and the lead was cut to 62-61.

On the next trip down the floor, Hoya senior forward Rhese Gibson missed a wide-open 15-footer from the left baseline. On the next play, with four guards in the lineup, Providence befuddled the Georgetown defense and scored an easy layup to take a 63-62 lead it would never relinquish.

For a team with pretty lofty expectations, the Hoyas’ downfall has been disheartening. Despite a highly touted recruiting class and the return of all five starters, Georgetown has been playing worse than it did last season, missing open shots, committing unforced turnovers with poor dribbling and making bad passes. If one area of the team’s performance is clicking, it is usually being offset by bad play.

The most notably bad part of the Hoyas’ play has been at the offensive end. Georgetown has demonstrated an inability to play consistently in a half-court set, yet that is not the only problem. The Hoyas have been plagued by terrible passing and have struggled on their short shots, including layups.

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