PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Georgetown media packet distributed Thursday listed Saturday’s second-round game on the schedule as “possible.” As in, it was possible the Hoyas would win in the first round as everyone expected, but it was also possible they would play down to their level of competition, a bad habit Head Coach John Thompson III and the Hoyas were unable to remedy this season.
It was tragically fitting that No. 3 Georgetown would be upset by No. 14 Ohio to end a rollercoaster season in which the Hoyas beat the best the nation had to offer but stumbled against lesser opponents.
Convincing wins over Duke, Villanova and Syracuse gave hope that Georgetown could be among the best in the country, but losses to South Florida, Rutgers and Notre Dame forced the disclaimer that the Hoyas could beat anyone *when they showed up to play.*
The problem tonight was not so much on offense, where Georgetown shot 50.8 percent and scored 83 points, as it was on defense, where Ohio scored with ease. The Bobcats also came out and grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the first half en route to 16 second chance points.
Simply put, Ohio had more energy, flying around the floor, and the Hoyas seemed unprepared for the onslaught the Bobcats threw at them.
“I always say this time of the year, the most aggressive team and the team that has the players that make plays . is the difference,” Ohio Head Coach John Groce said.
The Hoyas were supposed to be the big bad three-seed, with a National Championship and all of the Final Fours in their history, but it was the Bobcats, who finished ninth in the MAC, that came out swinging. Ohio hit Georgetown in the mouth early and the Hoyas never had a serious counter.
The Bobcats’ backcourt duo torched the Hoyas for 55 points and attributed their success to confidence.
“My guys and Coach Groce do a great job to keep putting confidence in me, and if I get rattled of anything, they just give me encouragement,” guard D.J. Cooper said. The 5-foot-11 freshman literally played the David to the Hoyas’ Goliath, scoring 23 points and handing out eight assists.
His running mate Armon Bassett had all the confidence in the world, hoisting 10 three-point tries on his way to a game-high 32 points.
“Half of the battle is having confidence in yourself,” said Bassett, perhaps finding self-assurance in the 148 points he’s scored in the last five games.
Meanwhile, the Hoyas were deflated after another inconsistent effort.
“Obviously ups and downs,” sophomore center Greg Monroe said when asked to analyze his now complete season. “We didn’t have the same focus and we weren’t the same team every night. That’s basically it. Every night we had to come out and be the best team we could be, and we didn’t do that.”
After losing at home to South Florida, Monroe said the team needed to be more focused. After a road upset to Big East bottom-feeder Rutgers, Monroe said the Scarlet Knights wanted it more. After 33 games, Georgetown (now 23-11) still had not learned its lesson, and it paid the price with its 34th and final game.
The only confidence the Hoyas seemed to have was the misplaced idea that they could roll over the MAC champion.
Off of a steal with 12 minutes remaining in the game, Monroe dribbled down the court and attacked the rim, flashing signs of the versatile big man that dazzled Madison Square Garden a week ago. Yet he looked past the Ohio defender squarely in his path and bowled over him for an obvious charge.
Even the fan support took a night off, capping an up and down year for the Hoya faithful. They packed Verizon Center to see their team trounce Duke in front of President Obama and braved a snowstorm to watch Georgetown rout Villanova. Yet the fans forgot to show up for the midweek loss to South Florida, and tonight the Hoyas were the road team.
Part of it was the fans waiting for the Tennessee/San Diego St. game decided to cheer for the underdog, but it was hard to miss the gaping hole in the Hoyas’ section of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. In front of a few rows of Georgetown students near the top of the arena was a section half-filled with fans that had little interest in either team.
When asked about his team’s inconsistency, Thompson spoke about a factor that had been present all year but few mentioned.
“You’ve got to step on the court and play,” Thompson said. “This team is young. . This is a team with no seniors.
“It’s the first time I said that; we didn’t use that as an excuse. But you have to go through growing pains. And this group went through growing pains this year.”
It appeared that the team had learned from its lapses when it went on a tear through the Big East tournament, but that was merely a high point in the season – a sign of how good the Hoyas could be.
The question now will be how Georgetown takes the biggest growing pain of all – a first-round upset in the NCAA tournament – and learns from it. It is possible that the entire team returns for next season with leaders Chris Wright and Austin Freeman playing in their fourth seasons.
Monroe has been projected as a lottery pick in the NBA draft since last year, but he said this would not be his last game in a Georgetown uniform. Monroe later said he is not looking to the future right now, and Thompson tempered the original answer further.
“I think that he’s going to sit and make that decision as time goes on,” Thompson said.
Regardless of Monroe’s decision, next year holds the same “possible” tag that Saturday’s second-round game did. It is possible the Hoyas will remain their inconsistent selves, or it is possible they will learn from a difficult loss and play at a high level for an entire year.
*Follow us on [Twitter](https://www.twitter.com/thehoyasports) and at [The Hoya Paranoia](https://blogs.thehoya.com/paranoia).*”