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

Career Days from Clark and Thompson Pace Hoyas in Romp

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On an afternoon when, at times, it seemed like Lafayette (4-2) couldn’t miss, sophomore guard Jason Clark and freshman forward Hollis Thompson decided to put on a shooting clinic of their own. In front of 9,172 at Verizon Center, Clark did a little bit of everything, with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, while Thompson went 6-of-6 from the floor for 16 points as they led [Georgetown (4-0) to a 97-64 win over Lafayette](

“I could use a lot of adjectives to describe Jason [Clark] and resourceful is one of them,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “He is playing at a very high level right now, and the game just comes to him. The game comes easy; he’s extremely unselfish. He’s making the shots. Today he did a little bit of everything.”

Against a smaller Leopard lineup that featured considerable minutes from only one player over 6-foot-8, the Hoyas looked like they would be able to assert their will in the contest, but scrappy play and timely three-point shooting helped the visitors stay in the game throughout the first half. Six Leopards hit three-point field goals on the day.

“Coach was stressing that the whole week: they are a very good shooting team,” sophomore center Greg Monroe said. “He was telling us it was everybody, not just a couple players.”

For the first 12 minutes of play, Georgetown could not create a lead bigger than five points (which came at the 15:20 mark at 10-5) as both teams traded baskets. A three by Thompson against the Lafayette zone with 10:31 to play was met by a three by junior forward Jared Mintz – who was limited by a thigh bruise but led the Leopards with 16 points – at the other end of the court to tighten the score at 20-19.

“I liked the way our zone offense looked,” Coach Thompson said. “Even in the first half I liked the way our zone offense looked. We would’ve gotten them out of the zone if we got stops at the other end because we were scoring points, but we were trading baskets.”

A Mintz layup made it 25-23 with 8:41 to play, but on the ensuing possession Thompson grabbed an offensive board off of a miss by junior guard Chris Wright, who would eventually get the ball back and drive down the lane for a layup. A stop on the defensive end set up another Wright drive – this time he drew a foul and hit both free throws. After both teams traded misses, Thompson nailed another three to give the Hoyas a 32-23 lead.

Thompson, who was 0-for-5 in three games from three-point range, ended the day 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, showing a shooting touch that his coach swore was there all along.

“That’s Hollis [Thompson],” he said. “I don’t know what the season stats are, but I don’t think he shot well in the games yet. Today is who he is. He can really put the ball in the basket.”

The Hoyas’ onslaught, led by Monroe and Wright (14 points, four assists), continued over the final 6:40, as they ended the half on a 22-8 run to go into intermission with a comfortable 45-31 lead.

The Leopards had no answer for Monroe, who chipped in an almost effortless 11 points in the first half, and finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while going 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.

“Our zone was working in the first half, but I thought that Monroe did a very good job of protecting the ball and finding guys high-low,” Lafayette Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon said. “He really fits that system really well – he pretty much fits any system though.”

One week after shooting 4-of-12 from the free-throw line, the Hoyas went 12-for-12 in the first half and 15-for-15 in the game.

“We’re going to make foul shots,” Coach Thompson said. “We were shooting a horrific percentage from the foul line, so yes we’ve gotten a little more work in. I haven’t had anyone come on my couch yet and have foul-shooting sessions, but they’re going to go in.”

The Hoyas didn’t lose a step in the second half, opening the second stanza with a 7-0 run capped off by a Monroe field goal in the paint to make it 52-31.

A three by Clark moments later made the score 55-32 and by that point, the second half was turning into the Jason Clark show with the 6-foot-2, 170 pound guard dropping 13 in the first 15:10 of the second half. Certainly not the biggest, but possibly the thinnest player on the court – even after Thanksgiving dinner – Clark was in on seemingly every play, going down low for rebounds, playing lockdown defense and diving on the floor for loose balls. His tough play garnered comparisons to a former undersized Hoya guard who has been in the headlines lately.

“There’s a little kid, number three, [Allen] Iverson that retired,” Coach Thompson said. “For his whole career – high school through his last pro game – everyone talked about, `He’s too little, he’s going to wear down,’ but he hadn’t yet. In that regard [he and Clark] are similar, in terms of their motor. You look at him and you say, `Oh a scrawny little kid,’ but he doesn’t get tired.”

Clark, a self-described “defensive guy,” said he’s happy to do whatever it takes on the court.

“I want to help my team win,” he said. “I want to help them in every way I can. I try to do the small things to help us win.”

A 21-11 run to start the half made the score 66-42 with 14:28 to play, and for the next 5:54 the Hoyas traded baskets with the Leopards. Georgetown would go on a 20-9 run to end the game, highlighted by the play of Vaughn and Thompson. In the process, freshman guard Stephen Stepka scored his first career points, while classmate Vee Sanford knocked down his first trey as a Hoya.

Six Hoyas scored in double figures in the contest as Georgetown shot 75 percent from the field in the second half and 61 percent for the game. The Hoyas also ended up 10-of-20 from beyond the arc after a miserable 3-of-12 from deep in the first half, while Lafayette shot 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from three-point range and 24-of-56 (42.9 percent) overall from the floor.

Despite the balanced attack against the Leopards, Thompson knows that the offense is still predicated on the success of his Big Three with the addition of Clark – and how those four play will go a long way toward deciding Georgetown’s fate this season.

“The two guys behind me,” Thompson said, motioning towards Monroe and Clark. “Along with Chris [Wright] and Austin [Freeman] are going to play big minutes. They know that and they have physically prepared for that and mentally.”

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