Postgame Roundup: Smith gives impressive performance as Hoyas fall to Oregon

DSC01342Well, now we know. Josh Smith is for real. But that’s all we can be sure of.

The Hoyas’ loss to No. 19 Oregon was a mixed bag. Though the Hoyas fell 75-82, the game was closely contested. The main highlight of the matchup was the play of junior center Josh Smith, who could not be stopped in the post. Smith scored 25 points on 11 for 13 shooting and quickly became the focal point of the Hoya offense when it was realized that the Ducks had no answer for the 6-foot-10, 350 pound big man’s offensive moves. Despite this dominant performance, Smith’s conditioning was a problem. He had to make frequent trips on and off the floor.

There were some encouraging signs from players not named Smith. Senior guard Markel Starks showed flashes of offensive prowess, scoring 16 points, while shooting 50 percent from the field. But he often looked less than dominant.

The negatives? Almost everything else. The Hoyas found themselves in foul trouble quickly, accruing 32 fouls over the course of the game. Both Smith and junior forward Mikael Hopkins fouled out of the game while Starks and junior guard Jabril Trawick had four personal fouls each. The Ducks shot 44 free throws on the night, making 36 of them. The Hoyas, on the other hand, shot 20 for 30 from the stripe.

Three point shooting  didn’t make up the difference for the Hoyas. Last season, the outside shooting of Starks and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera often bailed the team out when the rest of the offense went stagnant. Today, the duo combined to make one three-pointer total as the team shot an abysmal 1-15 from deep. The traditionally stifling Hoya defense also looked sloppy, evidenced by the high point totals—Georgetown never allowed 82 points in a single contest last year, save an overtime loss to No. 1 Indiana.

“Things we can control, we have to control,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We had too many, untimely, unforced turnovers. We got our rhythm offensively, but we gave up a lot of three’s in a row, it felt like four or five. The timing of that is what we have to learn. When we had to get a stop or a rebound, we didn’t.”

The Hoyas managed to play a tight game against a ranked opponent, but looked disorganized during much of the game. Aside from dumping the ball to Smith, offense was nonexistent. Shooting was poor, and small forward candidates sophomore Stephen Domingo and freshman Reggie Cameron failed to contribute in the limited minutes they played. The defense that the Hoyas are known for lacked structure. The Hoyas could have a solid year, but only with a series of improvements.

But one thing is for sure: This is not the team of one year ago. Without a serious spark, this iteration will be unable to compete with teams like Kansas and Michigan State, who are both on this season’s schedule.

The Hoyas will continue their season against Wright State next Wednesday at the Phonebooth. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

File Photo: Robin Go/Georgetown Voice (Jan. 8, 2013, vs. Pittsburgh)

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