Big East First Round Hoya Takeaway: DePaul 60, Georgetown 56

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Goodnight, Georgetown

The Georgetown Hoyas saved their fans any suspense for their fans on Selection Sunday, bringing a terrible effort and dropping this Big East First Round game to perennial doormat DePaul 60-56.

The Blue Demons were clearly into the game and had a very clear and specific game plan. They clogged the lane on defense, forcing Georgetown into chucking up bad jumpers, while on offense they made a conscious effort to slow the game down.

The Hoyas appeared to be clueless on offense. Most possession were spent with Markel Starks or D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera dribbling around the perimeter looking for room to throw up a jumper. They would go long stretches without even trying to get to the rim, and it showed in their shooting numbers. DePaul had allowed teams to make two pointers at a 52.7% clip on the season on the year, one of the worst figures in the nation. But Georgetown could manage just 42.9%. They also managed an unimpressive 5-17 performance from three range.

The Hoyas built a 17-9 lead with 10 minutes left, but then immediately hit a scoring drought that lasted more than six minutes. They fell into another scoring drought at about the same period in the second half. Those are impressive achievements against a defense as bad as DePaul’s.

The entire Georgetown offense basically boiled down to whatever Starks (17 points, 7-19 FG, 0 turnovers) or Smith-Rivera (21 points, 5-14 FG, 10-10 FG) could make. Both scored in volume, but neither was exactly burning up the nets. Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen had 8 each, and Nate Lubick added a putback. That was the entirety of the Georgetown scoring.

The incompetence of Georgetown’s front line really showed in this game, and hurt the Hoyas badly. Mikael Hopkins had a brutal first four minutes, most visibly by blowing a should-have-been dunk. He apparently lost John Thompson III’s confidence, playing just 12 minutes, going 0-3 from the floor with 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers. Moses Ayegba wasn’t much better in his 24 minutes, missing three key free throws. However, Ayegba managing to play that long without fouling out is some sort of a moral victory.

Hopkins and Lubick came to Georgetown as consensus Top 100 recruits, but quite frankly neither is a Big East quality player. Their shortcomings have been huge problems all year, especially with Josh Smith’s academic failures rendering him ineligible.

DePaul won because they shot better from inside the arc, to the tune of 51.9%. For the third time this year, they had a hard time containing Billy Garrett (17 points, 5-12 FG, 7-7 FT, 5 rebounds, 3 assists). Forrest Robinson had the best game of his career at a very inopportune time for Georgetown, scoring 14 on 4-5 from behind the line.

The Hoyas were hurt by allowing DePaul to grab 12 offensive rebounds, but grabbed 15 themselves, including 6 from Bowen.

Visually, it appeared that Georgetown sleepwalked through most of this game. By the time they showed any urgency, they were down seven with three minutes left. They did not appear motivated or prepared for the game, and Coach Thompson has to take some of the blame for that. I am not advocating the school fire Thompson, as some vocal fans on message boards are advocating. I am saying that the Hoyas stink up the joint much too often, and that Thompson needs to break his habit of getting outcoached tactically in March. Yes, Georgetown lacks top flight talent this year. But, that still leaves no excuse for losing a huge game to DePaul.

Make no mistake, DePaul is still really terrible. They didn’t even look particularly good in this game. They will most likely get blown out of the gym by Creighton.

The Hoyas will most likely play in the NIT, but mentally it feels like the season is over. I don’t think it would surprise any Hoya fan if the Hoyas lost their first NIT game at home to an inferior smaller conference team.

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