What just happened?
The Hoyas losing streak stretched to three games as No. 5 Pittsburgh ran over No. 19 Georgetown 72-57. Georgetown fell to 12-5 on the season and 1-4 in the Big East, the worst conference start in John Thompson III’s tenure as head coach. The team that was one of the nation’s best from long range in non-conference play saw their woes continue from beyond the arc, shooting just 25 percent. This one was never even close, as the Hoyas never led and did not get closer than 11 points in the second half. That didn’t overly discourage an impressive crowd of 15,712, including a packed student section, which stayed engaged to near the bitter end.
New game, new problems
Earlier this week, Washington Post beat writer Tarik El-Bashir wrote about the two major areas of concerns throughout Georgetown’s lackluster Big East play: rebounding and turnovers. Both issues were remedied tonight, but did little to get the Hoyas back on track. Pitt outrebounded Georgetown by just two boards, 34-32, and the Hoyas actually had the advantage on the offensive glass. Meanwhile, even though they turned the ball over nine times to the Panthers’ four, the Hoyas were still well under their season average of 14.4 miscues per game. The new causes for concern were free throw shooting (an abysmal 4-for-14 in the first half) and the ability for the offense to create open looks. The Hoyas managed just five assists on 19 made baskets, compared to an average assist rate of 60.7%.
Quotes from Jamie Dixon and JTIII after the jump:
Solving the Hoyas
In his postgame press conference, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon praised his team for how quickly and effectively they figured out Georgetown’s offense during their film study of the team the past few days:
I was really impressed…with how quick our guys picked up their stuff. Obviously Georgetown is unique in how they do their stuff and run their sets. I’ll tell you, from Monday, our first day, they really jumped into what [the Hoyas] were doing, and understood and picked it up.
There’s certainly plenty of video out there after the past few weeks that can show teams how to shut down the once potent Georgetown offense. John Thompson III played down any concerns that teams had somehow “solved” the Hoyas, however:
We have option A, B, C, D. We have counters to everything. We have different reads that we can make, especially if you know in this particular set they look for this. We always have something else to go to. We have to do a better job of getting to our second, third, fourth option.
The Hoyas head out for two games on the road, still seeking their first win away from home in the Big East. The conference schedule is unrelenting, but Georgetown should have its easiest game since beating DePaul on New Year’s Day when it faces off against Rutgers (10-6, 1-3 Big East) on Saturday. After that comes another game in New Jersey against Seton Hall, who could pose a greater threat with star senior Jeremy Hazell likely returning from injury.