As the game clock wound down in the second half, Georgetown (0-2) appeared ready to earn an upset victory over No. 3 Maryland (2-0). The Hoyas led, 61-54, with less than five minutes remaining.
Then, in a span of just 31 seconds, the Terrapins went on a 7-0 run, tying the game at 61 on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Melo Trimble.
The game was tied at 61, 63, 66 and 68 as the teams traded baskets down the stretch. Finally, with 1:20 remaining, Maryland senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon took a pass from senior forward Jake Layman and buried a deep three-pointer to give the Terrapins a lead they would not relinquish on their way to a 75-71 win.
“Rasheed was terrific,” Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon said. “I thought he was great defensively, his leadership was terrific, he’s such a good playmaker for us. We had two really good guards in there, and of course he hit the big three.”
On Georgetown’s next possession, senior center and co-captain Bradley Hayes attempted a hook shot that rimmed out. Trimble, who scored a game-high 24 points, then drove to the rim and missed a short shot, but he grabbed his own rebound and was immediately fouled. He converted two free throws to give Maryland a five-point lead.
Georgetown senior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera answered with a three-pointer to bring the Hoyas within two, but that was as close as they would get. Trimble iced the game with two more free throws, bringing the game to its final score of 75-71.
“They hit some big threes. We put the ball down and went to the basket, I thought we got bumped a little bit, [the referees] didn’t call it, but I just think coming down towards the end there they hit some big threes,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said.
Hayes led Georgetown in both scoring and rebounding for the second consecutive game, posting 16 points and eight rebounds. The senior had success scoring in one-on-one situations in the post, using an array of post moves to create scoring opportunities.
Hayes has shown vast improvement early in the season. In his first three seasons at Georgetown, Hayes scored a total of 30 points in 134 minutes. This season, Hayes has scored 35 points in just 60 minutes. Still, Hayes was not focused on his individual statistics after the game.
“Right now I’m really not focused on that,” Hayes said. “It’s what I needed to do on defense, I think. Obviously I had an okay game on offense, but I need to do a lot more on defense, and that’s where my team needed me.”
Each of Georgetown’s five starters scored double-digit points. Smith-Rivera scored 14 points in only 26 minutes, as he was off the court for much of the second half after picking up his fourth foul. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland and freshman forward Marcus Derrickson each had 13 points and six rebounds while sophomore guard L.J. Peak added 12 points.
Derrickson showed confidence in his outside shot after failing to make a field goal in the season opener, hitting 3-of-5 three-point attempts.
“He did great,” Copeland said of Derrickson. “That’s what we expect from him, though. He came in to play, and to help us win games. When you’re in the starting lineup it doesn’t matter how old you are.”
Copeland was active on both ends of the floor, at one point blocking Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone’s shot on one end of the floor before throwing down a putback dunk off Hayes’ missed shot only 12 seconds later.
It was a balanced offensive performance that allowed the Hoyas to stay close to one of the top teams in the nation for the majority of the game. Still, Thompson did not take any moral victories from the game.
“I don’t take anything positive about being competitive,” Thompson said. “We’re supposed to be competitive.”
The game marked the return of a rivalry that had been dormant for several years, as the Hoyas and Terrapins last played in 2008. The game was played in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 17,950 at XFINITY Center in College Park, Md., and the intensity of the game was evident throughout.
“As bad as I feel and we feel right now, hopefully in the long run this will help us out,” Thompson said. “But I do think it is important for the sport, and not just for the sport, it’s not like we’re doing this for the good of college basketball; I think it’s good for Georgetown.”
Georgetown will now prepare to face Wisconsin (2-1) in the 2K Classic in New York City on Friday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.