NEWARK, N.J. – The Georgetown Hoyas boarded a team bus home immediately following the 82-67 loss to Seton Hall. It was probably for good reason as the game Thursday at the Prudential Center marked two straight New York area losses for Georgetown. They were thoroughly handled by St. John’s a few nights earlier at Madison Square Garden.
The numbers of note on the evening:
The pace was on the slower side, but one of the key numbers is the Seton Hall efficiency. They got the shots and made them. Hall was 8 of 17 (47 percent) from beyond the arc. Related to the eFG is the free throw rate. It overwhelmingly favored the Hall as they were getting in position to get great shots and draw fouls. Probably the only plus on the Georgetown side is a solid turnover rate.
Excuse coach John Thompson III if he gets a little nervous seeing a number 23. On Sunday Rysheed Jordan, number 23, hit a few early perimeter shots to ignite the St. John’s rout. Thursday, Fuquan Edwin, wearing the same number, canned a few early to get the Hall off to a good start as well. Edwin finished with a game-high 21 points hitting 3 of 6 from downtown.
What is going on with the Hoyas? They exited the Rock 6-8 in conference and 15-11 overall (Seton Hall is 5-8 and 14-12). The players and Thompson III said all the right things about putting this behind them and taking it one at a time. To their credit, they bounced back with a resounding victory over Xavier on Saturday. A positive, but not a cure-all.
This is not your father’s interior defense. Not even the same as some of John Thompson III’s earlier teams. One long-time astute observer called this the “worst Georgetown inside defense I’ve ever seen.” Harsh, but a point well taken. Seton Hall’s game plan was to push the ball. They got out and finished transition opportunities to a 15-8 advantage in fast break points. Even in half court, Thompson III had his club double down on the post the second half because they struggled to handle Seton Hall one-on-one inside.
Georgetown has talent. But that consistent night-in and night-out go-to guy is missing. Otto Porter filled that bill last year with points and leadership. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (a team-leading 20 points against the Hall) and Markel Starks can score. So can Jabril Trawck, but neither has emerged to fill Porter’s role. Up front, Nate Lubick would benefit from a strong post presence playing in the same front court. Reggie Camerson is more a swing type and as a freshman is still learning.
Thompson III admitted, “our defense was poor” after the Seton Hall contest. He did add “we are capable of a strong finish.” The “half empty” followers wonder. The “half full” group hopes the Xavier game was a start.
Rest and leadership. A few weeks ago Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard pondered the direction of his team. Willard recently gave the team a few days off. They responded with a strong practice on Monday and “our best practice of the year,” per Willard, “three hours on Tuesday (prior to Georgetown).” One of the most satisfying signs is that the Seton Hall seniors, such as Edwin, Brian Oliver and Eugene Teague, are the leaders setting the tone these days in practice and games. A good sign heading down the stretch.