A No. 2 seed, while a significant honor, does not mean all that much for these Georgetown Hoyas. Their unceremonious exits to double-digit seeds over the past three seasons have made sure of that.
But rather than discouraging the Hoyas, the past results have lit a fire under them, indicating just how difficult it is to get past that first weekend.
“We on a mission,” sophomore guard Jabril Trawick said. “We definitely thought we should have won the Big East but now we trying to make a deep run in the tournament, starting with Florida Gulf Coast. We got to handle business.”
Needless to say, they will not be taking this evening’s opponent—Florida Gulf Coast—lightly, despite their limited résumé. The Fort Myers school is entering just its second year of postseason eligibility and won the Atlantic Sun conference to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
They’re so small that their media contingent for the tournament featured just one beat reporter on Thursday: Naples Daily News’s Adam Fisher. “This is a huge deal for this school that didn’t exist 17 years ago,” Fisher told Vox.
The majority of Georgetown’s attention will be on senior forward Sherwood Brown, this season’s Atlantic Sun Player of the Year. In some respects, he is similar to Otto Porter Jr. with his do-everything style. But Brown, of course, is nowhere near the talent level of Georgetown’s Wooden Award candidate.
According to Fisher, the Eagles are balanced, with a number of players leading a balanced scoring attack. They do most of their damage in transition, as head coach Andy Enfield (married to a supermodel) throws a number of defensive sets at opponents to force steals.
“They don’t have a traditional big man in the middle,” Fisher said. “But they like to shoot the three and they love to run.”
Following a week off, the No. 20/21 Hoyas will now enter perhaps their most difficult week of the season beginning with an away match-up with Rutgers today. In the upcoming week, Georgetown also hosts No. 24 Marquette and visits No. 17 Cincinnati. For starters, the Blue and Gray cannot overlook the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. When Georgetown traveled to New Brunswick last year, the No. 12 Hoyas trailed the majority of the game and needed 6 points from freshman star Otto Porter in the final 1:36 to win 52-50. In the 2009-10 season, Rutgers upset No. 8 Georgetown at the Verizon Center.
Rutgers is currently stuck in a five-game losing streak, which is primarily a result of the strength of their opponents. Three of Rutgers’s five losses have been to ranked opponents and four of those five came against the top half of the Big East. On January 5, Rutgers upset then No. 24 Pittsburgh 67-62. Two weeks later, the Scarlet Knights nearly defeated then No. 20 Notre Dame in South Bend 69-66.
Georgetown will look to continue its streak of shutting down the top Big East scorers when the Hoyas take on Rutgers guard Eli Carter. Carter is tenth in the Big East in scoring averaging 15.1 points per game. He has not been shooting very well of late. Even though Carter totaled 13 points against Louisville, he went 5-of-14 from the field.
The Georgetown Men’s basketball team (16-4, 6-3 Big East) defeated St. John’s (14-8, 6-4 Big East) at the Verizon Center earlier today with a score of 68-56 in front of 15,000 Gray Out fans. The Hoyas were led by junior forward Nate Lubick as he scored a career-high 16 points and secured 10 rebounds to earn his first double-double. Georgetown has now won six of their last seven games, with that stretch beginning the first time they faced St. Johns at Madison Square Garden on January 12. Today also marked Head Coach John Thompson III’s 200th win with the Hoyas.
The Hoyas came out strong both offensively and defensively in the first half against the Johnnies. Shooting 58 percent from the field, they were able to score 39 points by the end of the half, which included 5 three-pointers. Rebounding was also a high point in the early going as the Hoyas out-rebounded the Red Storm 21 to 9, five of these coming as part of the day’s standout performance by Lubick. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. got off to a solid start in the first half by making all three of his shots for 7 points, but with just over 7:30 left he was subbed out and would not return until the second half.
“He’s been playing at a very high level for a long time now, to tell you the truth. I said a couple of games ago, he wasn’t up here, but I said Nate gave us quality stats, not quantity stats. When we need something done, he gets a rebound, makes an assist, gets a basket. He’s been doing that consistently and tonight was no exception,” said Thompson III of Lubick’s play.
St. John’s was held to just 34 percent shooting, but was able to keep the score within 11 by making 8 of 12 free throw attempts. The half was topped off with another acrobatic play coming from sophomore forward Aaron Bowen. Freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera bounced a three-point attempt off the rim when Bowen came running in from outside the three-point line to emphatically dunk the rebound.
The offense slowed down considerably in the second half for Georgetown as St. John’s was able to tighten up their defense in the paint and force shots from the perimeter. The Hoyas tossed up one more shot than in the first half but were only able to get 10 of them to go, dropping down to 46% shooting for the game. St. John’s also stepped up their rebounding on both sides of the court with 25 compared to Georgetown’s 20, allowing them to keep the score marginally close without much help from free throws.
This time, they got to play two halves. Two nights after their canceled matchup with Florida on the USS Bataan, the Georgetown Hoyas (1-0) beat an overmatched Duquesne (0-2) indoors in front of their home fans at the Verizon Center. The 61-55 margin in the regional round of the Legends Classic was a lot closer than anticipated. The Hoyas were led by freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s 19 points and sophomore guard Greg Whittington’s 15 rebounds.
There was plenty of reason for concern, though, chief among them a head injury to sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. Porter went down early in the game and headed to the bench, where he showed visible signs of pain, shaken up from what initially looked to be a poke in the eye. He reentered the game shortly thereafter but was taken out with lingering symptoms and did not return.
“He’s being monitored,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “He got hit in the head and just as a precaution, we said ‘Let’s not put him back in.’”
Porter’s status for Georgetown’s next game is uncertain, as is his status for the near future. Concussion-like symptoms have rightly been treated with greater precaution over recent years, making Georgetown’s decision to allow him to reenter the game after the initial blow to the head a questionable one.
Without Porter, Georgetown’s offense looked to be out of sorts, something junior forward Nate Lubick admitted to after the contest. “I think that might have been part of why we looked a little sloppy is that we started thinking about Otto not being in the game too much and people started to look for their own offense a little too much. Even without Otto, we need to be willing to stick to our stuff and run everything through.”
The Georgetown Hoyas left the makeshift court on board the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Fla. Friday night trailing the Florida Gators 27-23 at halftime. When they came back out for the second half, they found a hardwood better suited for a Slip n’ Slide contest. After conferring with Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan and game officials, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III agreed to cancel the second half due to extreme condensation on the court.
“I’ve never had a contest that’s been ended [under these circumstances], at any level,” Thompson said. “This would’ve been really dangerous, we couldn’t play in these conditions.”
It’s true – Vox tested the conditions and we nearly fell flat on our faces. Every time game staff and others (including sophomore Otto Porter Jr., pictured) worked to clean an area of the court, moisture would reappear a couple of minutes later. Officially, the game was marked as “no contest”, as if it never happened.
For Porter Jr. and company, it is a disappointing result, especially because they were ready to come out and amend their first half blemishes.
“We were going to adjust to some things a little and come out with more energy,” the sophomore said. “Try to keep the same gameplan we had in the first half – seemed to work a little bit. They were missing shots. We just wanted to contain them.”
The main problem with that first half was poor shooting from the Hoyas. They shot just 37 percent from the field, a result of far too much stagnation on the offensive end. The Blue and Gray struggled with the Gator zone for much of the half, relying on three-pointers and forcing rushed jumpers at the end of the shot clock on multiple occasions.
The Georgetown men’s basketball team rebounded nicely from Wednesday’s devastating overtime loss to Syracuse with a 71-61 win at the Verizon Center over Big East rival St. Johns. The youthful and unranked Red Storm gave the No. 11 Hoyas quite a scare though, playing a tight first half before narrowing the lead to as little as two points in the second half. Nevertheless, the heavily favored Hoyas pulled away in the final five minutes thanks to a career day defensively from sophomore Nate Lubick and some balanced scoring from the Hoyas’ offense.
The Hoyas needed a balanced attack to scrape past the Red Storm, as the usual suspects struggled to leave their mark on the game. With Henry Sims restricted to just 20 minutes on the court due to foul trouble and Jason Clark shooting a dismal 4-13 on the afternoon, the Hoyas were fueled by the surprisingly assertive and confident play of Greg Whittington, who’s smooth jumper spurred him to a team-high 12 points. Clark, Otto Porter, Hollis Thompson and Markel Starks all scored in double figures to give the Hoyas just enough firepower. Meanwhile, Nate Lubick gobbled up eight boards, dished out five assists and added a career-high 4 blocks on the defensive end, to energize the Hoyas as the Red Storm tried to battle back into the game.
While the promising play of Lubick and Whittington ignited the Hoyas on both ends of the floor, the Red Storm lingered within striking distance of the Hoyas thanks to their own dynamic duo of freshmen De’Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless. Harkless was everywhere for the Johnnies, using his rare combination of length and quickness to slice his way through the lauded Hoyas’ defense for 20 points. Harrison added a game-high 24 points, including five three pointers which threatened to shift momentum away from the Hoyas. However, St. Johns’ six-man rotation exhausted the fabulous freshmen and subsequently, their shooting tailed off as the game went on. With just 17 points contributed by the rest of the team, the Red Storm had little chance of a comeback against the Hoyas’ balance and depth.
While storms brewed around the D.C. area on Sunday, a few Hoyas decided to bring some thunder of their own into McDonough during Kenner Summer League scrimmages.
With 18 points to his name, junior guard Jason Clark led Team Takeover to a blowout in the early game, but that’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining. Team Takeover amused the crowd during warm-ups with an impromptu dunk exhibition, and again when the game devolved into a series of uncontested jams. (The Kenner League: Where six footers repeatedly get open dunks in a set offense.)
In the late game, Austin Freeman was noticably absent. (Rumor has it that he spent his weekend playing in Las Vegas.) However, it gave the Tombs’ underclassmen a rare chance to shine. And they did—mostly.
To date, Hollis Thompson has yet to stand out in Kenner League play. And I’ve been a nervous wreck because of it, mostly thanks to the statistical minds at Hoya Prospectus, but also because his beautiful left-handed take against Ohio was the single positive memory that I took into the off-season.
The annual Kenner Summer League is an early opportunity to see Georgetown basketball. Today, we check in with some of the team’s lesser known players (except for Jerrelle Benimon, who didn’t play on Saturday).
As the tallest and strongest player in his game on Saturday, Vaughn succeeded around the basket. But, don’t expect Vaughn to play defense for 40 minutes a night—he disappeared for portions of the scrimmage, despite finishing with a line of 14 points, eight rebounds, an assist, and a steal. The following day, he kept up his strong inside game by dominating the boards and finishing with some surprisingly-polished post moves.
Oh, Henry. Although he was a lauded recruit, Sims is still an indecipherable mixed bag. He has the ability to hit mid-range jumpers, has the best length of any Hoya, and seems to have better hands this summer than in seasons past … but, he gives up too much ground while defending his man in the paint.
One sequence from Sunday summed up Sims’s weekend: he blocked a shot, gathered the rebound, turned the ball over on an ill-advised pass, and then he held his ground on a 3-1 break, blocking the shot against the rim. He still needs to work on his post moves, but it was good to see Sims play confidently.