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

Hoyas Fend Off Pesky Mountaineers

Georgetown returned to play on Saturday at the Verizon Center expecting to stomp all over another inferior December opponent in preparation for conference play that is now only a week away.

Instead, with exams just completed and most students headed home for the holidays, the Hoyas treated a rather non-partisan group of fans to a closer than expected contest.

A scrappy Mount Saint Mary’s squad, NCAA participants and Northeast conference champions in 2007, fought to the finish and trailed by only six points, 58-52, with 4 minutes 43 seconds remaining. However, Georgetown ratcheted up its defense, and converted enough crucial free throws down the stretch to put Mountaineers away and improve to 8-1 on the season with a 69-58 victory. Mount St. Mary’s lost its fifth straight, and falling to 3-7 on the young season.

“If you watch all of the games that [Mount St. Mary’s has] played this year, they do a very good job of sticking with their stuff, with the lack of a better way to put it, on the offensive end and the defensive end.” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “They execute, they execute very well, but they haven’t been able to pull out the games. Every game has been tough, every game has been a struggle, every game has come down to the end.”

A resilient Mount squad gave up at least 2 inches at every position, but still outscored the Hoyas 32-22 in the paint, and matched Georgetown in total rebounds with 39. Stingy Mountaineer defense also forced the Hoyas out of the lane for the majority of the contest, and contributed to Georgetown’s lowest field goal percentage of the season, 38 percent.

“Even though we won the game, we see things we need to do for the next game. Our coach said it was not so much that we had a bad shooting night, the effort wasn’t there on every possession,” sophomore forward Omar Wattad said.

Sophomore guard Chris Wright paced GU with 19 points, and was the sparkplug on offense and defense.

“He’s so strong and he has the speed to go with it makes him a really tough guard. We knew he was their best ball-handler and he really makes them go,” Mount Saint Mary’s Head Coach Milan Brown said about the Hoyas’ sophomore guard.

Wright tallied 7 rebounds and 4 steals in a team-high 36 minutes. Junior forward DaJuan Summers added 13, and sophomore guard Austin Freeman contributed 10. Freshman center Greg Monroe was fairly silent throughout the contest with the exception of one thunderous dunk, finishing with eight points and four boards. Senior guard Jessie Sapp had an off shooting night, going 2-for-9 from the field with six points.

“Exam period is rough, you’re staying up late studying and everyone forgets about it but that is a dynamic that’s real; it’s tangible.” Thompson III said. “I believe that this group no matter what is going on is tougher than that, is stronger than that. When we walk onto the court in practice at McDonough or in games here for that two or three hours whatever time it is, we can block that out.”

A competitive first half featured six ties and seven lead changes before Georgetown took a 33-24 advantage to the locker room. The Hoyas extended the margin to 14 points two times in the second half, but an 11-4 run by the Mount pulled the Mountaineers within six with 4:45 to play. A free throw from Summers and a layup from senior guard Jessie Sapp expanded the lead to 10, but Mount St. Mary’s cut the deficit to eight three times in the final two minutes. The Hoyas struggled from the charity stripe, shooting a paltry 65 percent on the day (25-for-38), but Monroe and Sapp knocked down key free throws to seal the victory.

Georgetown plays its final game before Big East play starts on Tuesday Dec. 23, hosting Florida International. Tip-off at Verizon Center is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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