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

Team Concept an Underlying Factor in Fifth-Straight Victory

As junior forward Julian Vaughn, donning a dark suit, stepped away from the podium during Georgetown’s postgame press conference, sophomore center Greg Monroe reached out and put his hand on Vaughn’s back. Vaughn turned suddenly, as Monroe brushed an object off the back of his suit. It wasn’t anything big, but it was just another example of a teammate making a play to help another for Georgetown on Monday night.

Since the first day of practice, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III has stressed that chemistry would be important for his team. Despite three McDonald’s All-Americans, including a preseason Big East first teamer, Thompson has emphasized that it is the whole team, or “the unit” in his words, that will make or break the Hoyas’ season.

On Monday night against a tough Mount St. Mary’s squad, which played the Hoyas close last season, Thompson’s team got the job done as a unit. Four players scored in double digits as the Hoyas overcame 15 turnovers to score over 80 points for the second straight game and win their fifth in a row.

“This group cares about each other, and they care about us getting better,” Thompson said. “This group is working well together. We’re making every effort to cover each other, to make each other better and if we continue to do that, one day we will be very good.”

The Mount’s defense, which gave up 95 points in a season-opening loss at Oklahoma, came into Monday’s game giving up only 59 points per game while holding opponents to 36 percent shooting in its last four games. The Hoyas, unfazed, shot 53.1 percent from the floor in the first half – 47.8 percent for the game – and had nine assists to give themselves a comfortable 40-29 lead at the break before pulling away in the second half.

Playing a team-oriented offense that was missing at times last season, the Hoyas caught the eye of Mount St. Mary’s Head Coach Milan Brown.

“I thought watching them on tape they look more like a cohesive unit this year than last year,” Brown said. “They just look like they have a little more fun playing with each other. They don’t mind who’s taking the shot.”

As always it started with the Big Three, but an early-season trend continued – other players stepped up and made plays when necessary.

Junior guard Chris Wright did his part, dropping 18 points on a sniper-like 7-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. After missing his first three-point attempt, Wright was lights out, nailing two threes from the left corner and one from the top of the arc to go into the break with 11 points. After a few drives in the second half, in which he threw up circus shots in the paint, the junior settled down and found his teammates on the drive instead of forcing shots.

Then there was Monroe. On a night when his usual looks wouldn’t fall, Monroe gave that extra effort, getting his misses over the smaller Mount St. Mary’s lineup and putting them back himself en route to a 19-point, 11-rebound performance, his second double-double of the season.

While junior guard Austin Freeman may not have been his usual self shooting 4-of-10 for nine points with an ill-advised circus shot of his own in the second half, Vaughn made up for it and carried the load. Vaughn had 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and eight rebounds for his second double-digit scoring performance in as many games.

After seeing limited time last season, the 6-foot-9, 247-pound forward, having gained a step and improved his footwork and shooting in the offseason, has played a big role in the Hoyas’ success in the early going this season. Whether it’s crashing the boards, stepping up in help defense, or the occasional swift move – at least for a 247-pounder – Vaughn looks like a different player.

“It’s being more comfortable with the system and being a year older, seeing things better and just relaxing and playing my game,” Vaughn said of his play. “At times I put pressure on myself this year. I wanted to relax, I worked really hard this summer, and I’m just trying to make sure it pays off.”

Sophomore guard Jason Clark also chipped in for the Hoyas, adding 12 points and five rebounds, but it was his four steals that made the biggest impact. With Mount St. Mary’s trying to keep the game close, Clark had two big steals, one at the 16:20 mark and the other at the 14:23 mark of the second half. Baiting Mount St. Mary’s senior guard Jeremy Goode – The Mount’s leading scorer – Clark jumped a pass, taking it the length of the court for a dunk to give the Hoyas a commanding 49-31 lead.

Brown thinks it’s the skill sets of Vaughn and Clark that make Georgetown dangerous.

“If you’re going to be good, you’re going to need two or three guys who are going to do dirty-work things that are not going to show up in the stat sheet,” he said.

Thompson says it’s the comfort level of players like his fourth and fifth starters that has made a difference for Georgetown.

“They’re in their second year now, and you see the growth and development and comfort level is higher, their teammates’ confidence and their confidence in themselves is better, and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” he said.

It wasn’t the flashiest effort they’ve had to date, but when plays needed to be made, someone stepped up and made them for Georgetown. Thompson thinks his team is on the right path, but as always, there’s room for improvement.

“We have a long, long way to go, but at some point [this season] we will have some fun,” he said.

[Follow us on Twitter]( and be sure to [keep up with all the action at The Hoya Paranoia](”

More to Discover