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

Despite Rebounding Woes, Hoyas Advance in Old Spice Classic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 27 – After Georgetown’s first game of the season, when the Hoyas surrendered 19 offensive rebounds to Jacksonville, the team’s difficulties on the defensive glass were readily apparent. Two games later, against Wichita State on Thursday afternoon, Georgetown’s (3-0) carom calamity once again reared its ugly head, this time to the tune of 17 offensive boards. Still, thanks to its steady defense the Hoyas escaped the Milk House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports with a 58-50 victory.

To its offensive rebounding, Wichita State added a confusing zone defense and a full-court press. The Shockers forced 17 turnovers and held the Hoyas to 42.5 percent shooting, including 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. Wichita State was within one point as late as five minutes left, and Georgetown did not put the game away until sophomore guard Austin Freeman knocked down a pair of free throws with 40 seconds left to push the lead to eight.

“It’s our third game. We have a long way to go,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Good thing is if we can figure out how to keep winning games while we’re improving, while we’re learning, that is what we want to do.”

Freeman led the Hoyas with 18 points, while junior forward DaJuan Summers added 14 and freshman center Greg Monroe chipped in 11, all of which came in the first half.

Freshman guard David Kyles came off the bench to lead Wichita State with 11.

After Georgetown started the game on a 9-0 run over the game’s first 3:07, it failed to mount another consistent offensive attack. Following the early run, the Hoyas needed another 12 minutes to score their second nine points. Against Wichita State’s zone, Georgetown missed indiscriminately, wiffing on three-pointers, midrange jumpers and layups.

The Hoyas led by eight, 23-15 after Freeman made a pair of free throws with 2:10 left in the first half. After sophomore forward J.T. Durley’s free throw trimmed the lead to seven, and with a minute left in the half, Kyles out-Georgetowned Georgetown, scoring on a perfect backdoor cut past freshman guard Jason Clark and drawing a foul in the process. Senior guard Jessie Sapp tossed in a three-pointer on the other end with 39 seconds left, but Kyles had one final bullet left, nailing a long three with as many seconds remaining. Georgetown led 26-22 at the break.

For the first period, the Hoyas shot 8-for-20 overall and 1-of-9 from deep. They turned the ball over eight times. Summers, who said he had been in a “funk” for the first two games, shot 0-for-4 from the field (0-2 three-pointers) and had three turnovers.

“We had what I call unforced turnovers,” Thompson said. “Just in transition, nothing is there and we force something, throw it away, charge, make a bad decision.”

The second half was hardly different. It began with a mini-run – Georgetown ran its lead to 10 on a Freeman tip-in, two Summers free throws, a Wright layup and a Summers dunk.

Still, just as in the first half, Wichita State came back. With the Hoyas ahead 38-30 8:14 into the half, Jason Clark picked up a charge and Reggie Chamberlain knocked down a trey at the other end to pull the Shockers within five.

Two minutes later, Kyles drove into the paint from the elbow, drew a foul from sophomore swingman Omar Wattad, and tossed in a one-handed try. After hitting the free throw, Wichita State was within two. On Georgetown’s next possession, Freeman, usually a reliable free-throw shooter, missed a pair. So it went for the Hoyas.

With 8:15 left, Summers at last found his stroke, connecting on a three ball from the left corner to push the Georgetown lead to five. Four minutes later, after the Shockers had cut the margin to three, Summers converted from the opposite corner to push the Hoyas edge to six.

Down the stretch, Sapp drew two charges, Summers scored on a short jumper while falling to the ground, and Georgetown hit all eight of its free throws.

Though the Hoyas had enough in the tank to put the game out of reach, the offense was hardly a thing of beauty.

The Hoyas’ 10 assists against 17 turnovers was uncharacteristically abysmal.

Thompson acknowledged his consternation with that particular mark, though he said it was more the plurality of turnovers than dearth of assists that disturbed him. He said that many of the Hoyas’ mistakes came in transition, but that a faster pace was no excuse for sloppiness.

“We can make the right decision every possession, we can do that,” he said.

Lest Georgetown’s struggles be attributed solely to poor execution, Wichita State’s zone defense was the perfect antidote to the Hoyas’ offensive attack.

Said Shockers’ Head Coach Gregg Marshall: “We kept them on the perimeter, we kept Monroe not being a factor, and we tried to close with our hands up and be there on the catch and be standing on their toes when they catch the ball and defend them when they drive and contest the shot and check out when they don’t, when they pull the trigger. So, I thought our zone was very effective today.”

For its part, Georgetown turned in yet another stellar performance on the defensive end. The Hoyas held Wichita State to 27.9 percent shooting from the field, including 26.3 percent from deep. The Shockers turned the ball over 15 times.

Defensively, Monroe set the tone.

Just 1:13 into the game, he forced a turnover that was ultimately credited to Sapp. Half a minute later, his steal from freshman center Garrett Stutz started a Hoyas fast break. On the Shockers’ next trip, Monroe rejected a layup try by junior forward A.J. Hawkins. Monroe stymied Stutz once again on each of the next two possessions, and 3:07 into the contest, the freshman big man was rewarded with a beautiful feed from Wright that he converted into a dunk.

“It makes us a lot better to be able to pressure the defense,” Summer said of Monroe after the game. “When he’s blocking shots it makes it easier for us to close out on threes.”

As well as Georgetown played on defense, the game should not have been so close. It was Wichita State’s ability to rebound that kept the contest competitive.

“We understand that we do too good a job of guarding the ball to give them a second shot, to give them a rebound, to give them an easy basket,” Thompson said. “Is [rebounding] a focal point? Is it something that we work on? Talk about? Emphasize? Yes. We have a lot of areas for improvement, that’s at the top.”

If Wichita State had made a few more of its second chances, they may have pulled off the Shocker. Instead, the Hoyas move on to face Tennessee, who defeated Siena 78-64 earlier Thursday, while Wichita State opposes the Saints. The Hoyas and Volunteers will tip-off tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.


Tennessee took a 20-point half time against Siena, thanks to 64.5 percent shooting from the field, which included 4-of-6 marksmanship from deep. The Saints pulled to within nine as late as 12:32 remaining, but the Vols went on a 13-3 to ice it.

Scoring for Tennessee was balanced. Wayne Chism led the way with 15, while Tyler Prince and Renaldo Woolridge added 14. Tennessee turned the ball over 19 times, but forced 18 and converted those into 26 points.

Athletic and deep, Tennessee will push the ball up court, try to dictate pace, and of course, crash the boards. Though Wichita State showed that zone defense is a far more logical defensive solution, the Vols may just have the athletes to pull off man defensive if Head Coach Bruce Pearl elects to go that route.

If Georgetown plays against Tennessee like it did against Wichita State, expect a rout. Of course, Thompson’s teams rarely make the same mistake twice.

Hoyas vs. Wichita State photo album:

ore tournament coverage from staff writer Bailey Heaps:

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