Postgame Roundup: Cold shooting leads to second straight loss

Time to start worrying. On Saturday at the Verizon Center, the depleted Hoyas (11-6, 3-3 Big East) fell 57-67 to the Seton Hall Pirates (11-7, 2-3) in a fashion that was all too familiar to Georgetown fans.

The Hoyas started the game with a series of strong possessions from junior forward Mikael Hopkins, who scored 11 points and grabbed 15 boards for the first double-double of his career.

“I thought Mikael played with an energy and a passion that I probably have never seen him play with. I told him walking down the hall that we wasted the best game of his career. The kid had 15 rebounds…If he can play with that energy and that passion that’s a step toward what we need to figure out,” said head coach John Thompson III.

The Hoyas pulled away in the first half at times, but went into the intermission with a 35-26 lead. From the floor, the team shot 44 percent and almost 43 percent from behind the arc. However, with junior center Josh Smith and junior guard Jabril Trawick still out for academics and a broken jaw, respectively, the Hoyas were forced to play unorthodox lineups that included extended minutes for freshman forward Reggie Cameron, who was in the starting lineup, senior guard Aaron Bowen, and senior forward John Caprio.

Seton Hall struggled from the field in the first half, only shooting 30 percent from the floor, but managed to make 6 of 12 three pointers, which kept the Pirates in the game.

The second half brought a steep offensive dropoff for the Hoyas, something that has become characteristic of Georgetown teams over the last few years. However, just like against Xavier, there was no Otto Porter to put the team on his back. The Hoyas shot an anemic 23 percent from the field, including 1 of 11 from behind the arc, in a half that saw the Blue and Gray go the final 9:38 without scoring a field goal. This was eerily familiar to Wednesday’s game against Xavier in which the Hoyas blew a 17 point lead, and failed to score over the final 6 minutes of the game, losing by 13. In the meantime, Seton Hall continued their strong shooting from behind the arc, making 5 of 8 in the second half.

Of the game’s last ten minutes, Hopkins said, “Guys were still getting open looks but the ball wasn’t going in the basket. We just couldn’t hit the open shots. The way teams defensively close down me and Nate makes the offensive not run as smoothly, so we just have to work on that in practice. It’s something we need to get better at.”

The backcourt that has carried this team through tough games this year struggled on the day, with sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera shooting 4 of 12 and 0 of 5 from three point range. Senior guard Markel Starks shot 3 of 12 from the field and 1 of 5 from deep. Starks is shooting only a touch over 40 percent for the season. Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard said, “I think Smith-Rivera and Starks are probably two of the best guards in the country, as a tandem they’re one of the best in the country, and I challenged these guys to try to stop them, and I thought we did a great job of making the…tough shots and we tried to make other guys make some shots and these guys really worked hard at it.”

Smith and Trawick are still out for an indefinite period of time. “Jabril is not going to be back anytime soon. What that means I don’t know, but it’s going to be weeks before he’s back and we don’t know about Josh…We can and we will figure it out, but we have to adjust everything that we do,” said Thompson. The Hoyas will get no reinforcements going into the meat of their schedule. The next four games? Against Marquette, at No. 20 Creighton, against No. 6 Villanova, and against No. 4 Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.

With six losses before the majority of the season’s difficult games, the Hoyas could quickly be headed toward the worst season in Thompson’s tenure. However, the ever-resilient Hoyas are always full of surprises. Look for them to grab a win against the ailing Golden Eagles on Monday at the Verizon Center at 9pm. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice

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