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

Green’s Game Leaves a Year to Be Desired

ATLANTA, March 31 – His teammates have taken to calling the minutes late in a contest, “Jeff Green Time.”

Georgetown’s star junior forward has, over the course of the season, developed an uncanny ability to take over games at the most crucial moments. From second-half surges against Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to last-second heroics against Villanova and Vanderbilt, Green has developed into the Hoyas’ go-to guy in crunch time.

Yet in the most important game of the season, with Georgetown trailing top-seeded Ohio State and a trip to the national championship game on the line, Green never stepped up. If ever there was a time when he needed to take over a game – as his teammates and fans alike kept waiting for him to do – it was in the waning moments of the Hoyas’ 67-60 loss to the Buckeyes. But Green did not produce.

“I didn’t want to force anything,” Green said in explanation of his passive play. “I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of shots. Their defense played a major part in that.”

Ohio State’s defense undoubtedly played a large role in Green’s performance. The third-team all-American was stripped twice by the Buckeyes as he drove to the basket and all four of the baskets he did convert came off broken plays or long rebounds and were never in the flow of the regular Georgetown offense.

But at some point the east regional’s most outstanding player needed to stop taking what was being given to him and create opportunities of his own. Unfortunately, he never did.

“He could have taken over the game any time, any point,” Ohio State freshman guard Mike Conley Jr. said. “We were pleased with the way he wanted to play that game.”

Overall, Green went just 4-for-5 on the night, tallying nine points. He collected 12 rebounds – tying a career high – but also turned the ball over three times.

As proven in the Boston College game in the second round, Green can contribute without scoring a lot of points, but that was what the Hoyas needed when they had just 23 points at halftime, a season low. Green often says the assist is his favorite statistic, but he did not have many of those either – just three in the game and none in the first half.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” Green said of his performance. “They played great help-side defense, with the other guy helping on the weak side. It made it hard for my teammates to throw it down or try to find me. Like I say, you got to credit their defense.”

The Big East player of the year stood by his decision-making, but he was too unselfish and too willing to pass. His willingness to sacrifice his own stat line for the good of the team is a quality to be admired, but there are times when the best player on the floor has to play like it, and Green never did on Saturday night.

His first shot in the first half came with 3:16 remaining and he did not take his first shot in the second half until there was only 6:10 left. His five shots were the fewest he had taken in 23 games, and he had scored in double digits in 17 of his last 18.

“I played OK. I’m not going to sit here and say I played bad or good,” Green said. “I could’ve done more things on both ends of the court. I tried to be assertive, but you’ve got to credit their defense. They made it very hard for us.”

Green entered Saturday night’s contest averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on the season, and his stats were even better through the tournament. Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III has called Green the smartest player he has ever coached – which means a lot coming from a man who used to coach at Princeton – and Thompson has relied on Green all season to do what he feels is right. When Green hit the game-winning shot against Vanderbilt to send the Hoyas to the Elite Eight it was Green who decided how to execute the play, not Thompson. But on Saturday, perhaps Green could have used a little more pushing from his coach.

“I’ve said for three years now I trust Jeff Green’s instincts. He made the decisions when to pass it out, when to shoot,” Thompson said. “Jeff Green usually makes the right decision. I trust his instincts and I trust the decisions. The kid is an extremely intelligent player. We put the ball in his hands and he decided not to shoot. As I said, I’ll live and die with Jeff Green’s ability to make decisions.”

Saturday, it was Georgetown’s hopes for another championship that died.

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