Posts Tagged “Big East Tournament”
As the final buzzer rang, Henry Sims stood at the top of the three-point line in disbelief. His second double-double in as many days turned out to not be enough, as his Hoyas fell in a thriller at Madison Square Garden, losing 72-70 to Cincinnati in double overtime. The senior matched wits with the Bearcats’ Yancy Gates for the entire afternoon, posting 22 points and 15 rebounds in the process. In the end, however, the game came down to one three-point attempt that clanked the back iron for Sims, ending Georgetown’s Big East Tournament run after two games.
But, the senior did not hang his head. Though clearly emotional and somber, Sims realized that he and his team played their hearts out and provided a capacity crowd at MSG with a thriller—though he sure would like to have that last shot back.
“I mean, it would have been nice to make that last one, obviously, but the first layup to put it into double overtime I think obviously felt good,” Sims said. “But I’d much rather have that shot at the end.”
That first layup Sims referred to actually saved the Hoyas in the first overtime, as he drove into the line and hit a shot to tie the game at 62 as time expired. He and freshman Otto Porter provided all but two points in extra time for the Hoyas, but it was not enough to overcome Gates and the Bearcat offense.
Both teams got off to sluggish starts in the first half, with the lead changing 10 times in the first 10 minutes. The Hoya offense only got in a rhythm shortly after freshmen Greg Whittington and Jabril Trawick entered the game. Trawick drew a foul and drained a free throw to tie the game at 15, which led to a string of six straight field goals for the Hoyas. The first three of those came from Sims, who followed a jumper with a putback and a strong move in the paint. The Bearcats worked hard to establish Gates in the paint early, but to no avail, as Sims took over on both ends with the help of junior Hollis Thompson and Porter.
In a manner all too reminiscent of their first meeting, the Bearcats staged a run in the second half to bring themselves within one point of the lead. The poor stretch included a goaltending call on Whittington and a Jason Clark turnover, culminating in a flagrant foul on Porter for an aggressive elbow to Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick. This time, though, the Hoyas did not relinquish the lead, regaining control of the game behind freshman Markel Starks and Sims.
The recap continues, along with analysis, after the jump:
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The Georgetown Hoyas (22-7, 12-6 Big East) begin Big East Tournament play tomorrow at 2 PM, when they play the Pittsburgh Panthers (17-15, 5-13) at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers come in after walloping St. John’s this afternoon, 73-59. Senior guard Ashton Gibbs led the team with 20 points while Nasir Robinson chipped in 15 points to go along with 8 rebounds.
Awards and Snubs
Over the weekend, senior guard Jason Clark was named to the All-Big East First Team while classmate Henry Sims was recognized for his turnaround this season, as he was named to the Third Team. Junior guard Hollis Thompson was named Honorable Mention. The senior was proud of his accomplishment but in his own, selfless manner, deflected the attention towards the team.
“That’s a personal accomplishment, but I could only be in this position because of my teammates,” Clark said. “We’ve been winning games – at the beginning of the season, I just wanted to lead this team to victory. I worked hard, I think I deserve it, but there’s a lot more from on this point.”
His coach, John Thompson III, was very proud of Clark and Sims’ efforts as well, focusing in on Jason’s contributions to the team.
“Very happy for Jason,” Thompson said. “Jason Clark is someone, that for four years, has just worked – he’s just gone about his business, worked extremely hard for four years, has always been in the background, for four years has always been extremely selfless.”
In addition, Clark was awarded the Big East Sportsmanship Award, a testament to his peers’ perception of Clark. The guard did not hear about the award until reporters mentioned it to him yesterday, but was honored by the distinction.
“I’m just all about the game of basketball,” the Arlington native said. “I’m not with all the trash talking and all that other stuff. The game gets emotional sometimes, but I respect a lot of the other players around the league because they respect me. I’m out there usually having fun.”
Not everything went as expected for the Hoyas, though, as freshman Otto Porter was not named to the All-Big East Rookie Team. Porter leads the Hoyas in rebounding this season and has played his best in Georgetown’s biggest games. Still, Porter remains humble and simply wants to acknowledge the snub through his play this week.
“It motivates me,” said Porter of the snub. “But I just come in and play my game, basically. Just playing in the Big East is my motivation. I just want to win.”
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Well, that was quick. The Hoyas bowed out of The Big East Tournament in the second round today, losing to UConn 79-62. It was the team’s fourth straight loss after Chris Wright went down with a broken hand. After making an amazing run to the finals last year, Georgetown will head back to D.C. early and begin preparing for the NCAA Tournament. The team will have some time to learn from their early New York exit and adjust before the Big Dance.
It can’t be stressed enough how important Wright is to Georgetown’s success. His presence on the court makes everyone better, and without him the Hoyas not only suffer offensively, but defensively as well. Today, the squad’s offense was stagnant, as they only had six assists (three from big man Nate Lubick), compared to 16 turnovers. Wright himself averages 5.4 assists per game. His absence was also part of the reason Georgetown shot only 22.7% from downtown. Without Wright, the team needs to shoot well from behind the arc to win, but they need Wright to create those open looks.
“He gets everybody open, he finds everybody and he can also create for himself,” Jason Clark said of the injured point guard.
Wright is arguably the team’s best defensive player as well and without him guarding Kemba Walker, the Huskies star player had his way with the Hoyas. Wright wouldn’t have been able to stop him, but containing him enough would have helped his teammates focus more on their other assignments.
Big Man Who?
The only thing worse than having one big man in foul trouble is having two big men in foul trouble. The Hoyas were greatly maligned because of their lack of inside game. Both Julian Vaughn and Nate Lubick got into early foul trouble and never had a chance to get in a groove. Both of them spent much of the second half on the bench, each tallying four fouls less than eight minutes into the second half. Vaughn finished with zero points in one of his worst games ever, and Lubick didn’t do much better, contributing only four points. Henry Sims couldn’t provide any relief off the bench either.
“[Vaughn and Sims] were not playing well so we went with a different lineup,” John Thompson III said. “Does that affect things? Yes. But they were not producing. You have to produce.”
The Hoyas were outscored in the paint 38-26, most of which were Freeman and Clark. The duo accounted for 43 of the team’s 62 total points.
The Hoyas will have time to improve, but there will also be a lot of waiting. They will have to wait to see what seed the NCAA selection committee will give them. They will also have to wait on Chris Wright.
“We are absolutely anticipating that,” JTIII said in regards to Wright being available for the NCAA Tournament.
Besides the prospect of Wright rejoining the team, the Hoyas can take solace in the fact that they now have plenty of time to prepare for the Big Dance.
“Having a break here could be beneficial as we get ready to go to the next part,” JTIII said.
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Vox is in New York covering the Big East Tournament for as long as Georgetown lasts. In preparation for the Hoyas opening game today at noon, here’s a look at their first opponent, as well as some Big East accolades, and a preview of what the Hoyas will be doing on their summer vacation.
To no one’s surprise, eighth-seeded Georgetown will play Connecticut to begin its Big East Tournament. The Huskies easily dispatched perennial 16-seed DePaul 97-71 in the tournament’s opening game on Tuesday. In other completely expected news, UConn’s Kemba Walker led all scorers in that game with 26 points.
If you’ve paid any attention this season to college basketball played outside the Verizon Center, Walker needs no introduction. The junior guard has single-handedly made this UConn team a contender–at one point, Walker was the presumptive favorite for national player of the year. He and his team have seen their star fall somewhat in the latter half of the season (Walker wasn’t even named Big East Player of the Year), but they’re still a force to be reckoned with. The Hoyas know that well after Walker dropped 31 points on them during a 78-70 UConn victory three weeks ago.
That win was one of only two for the Huskies in their last six regular season games, however. But even though UConn isn’t playing its best basketball, its woes pale in comparison to Georgetown’s. While the Huskies have faltered, the Hoyas are reeling after the loss of Chris Wright. Georgetown lost its last three games by a combined margin of 41 points, shooting just 31.1 percent over that stretch. Needless to say, this is a different team without Wright.
Coming off the most lopsided of the John Thompson III-era, it wouldn’t matter if Georgetown was playing DePaul–the Hoyas have to prove themselves this afternoon. The Hoyas are already in the NCAA Tournament, but if they want to make any kind of progress in the Dance (not to mention earn a decent seed), they need to show they can play some semblance of the kind of basketball that they were during their eight-game win streak, even without their senior leader on the court. Players like Jason Clark and Julian Vaughn need to remind people that this team is more than just Wright and Austin Freeman. Read the rest of this entry »
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