Hoya Takeaway: Florida St. 101, Georgetown 90

Georgetown commits enough fouls to last until November, but Seminoles shoot too well to be beaten.

When a team shoots 68% against you, including 11-16 from three point range, you are almost certainly going to lose. That’s exactly what the Florida St. Seminoles did tonight in blowing the Georgetown Hoyas out of Tallahassee, 101-90. This marked only the second time that Georgetown had given up 100 points in the John Thompson III era, the only other time coming in a 111-102 overtime win over Missouri on November 30, 2010.

Florida St. seemingly couldn’t miss anything. Georgetown was torched from all over the court by four separate Seminoles: Aaron Thomas (26 points, 8-10 FG, 8-10 FT), Devon Bookert (21 points, 3-3 3FG, 10-12 FT), Ian Miller (18 points off the bench, 4-6 3FG, 4-4 FT), and Okaro White (16 points, 5-7 FG, 4-4 FT).

The Hoyas defense was horrible in this game, but it frankly didn’t seem to matter whether or not Florida St. was covered while shooting threes. They hit them while open. They hit them while covered. They hit them while fouled. Where Georgetown’s poor defense really showed through was in their terrible interior defense. Florida St. had layup after layup handed to them inside, both in the half court and after beating Georgetown’s pressure defense, leading to a blistering 67.9% inside the arc.

Much of that had to do with Georgetown’s perpetual foul problems. Mikael Hopkins finished off another disappointing season with an abysmal performance, picking up 4 fouls in 6 minutes. His only other box score entry was getting his shot blocked on his only attempt. If Hopkins played Major League Baseball he would be designated for assignment, but Hoya fans can look forward to one more year of his inept play. That is, unless he wants to declare for the NBA in the hopes that the 76ers pick him up with the aim of losing more games. The realistic hope is that Josh Smith comes back and eliminate most of the need to play Hopkins.

On the whole, Georgetown committed 30 fouls and allowed Florida St. to shoot 38 free throws. By the end of the game Coach John Thompson III was forced to bring in benchwarmers John Caprio and David Allen just to commit fouls. The fouls not only gave Florida St. free points, but forced the Hoyas to dial back the pressure that had been effective early in the game and caused the interior defense to be passive, as has been the case all season.

What is doubly frustrating is that not only does Georgetown commit way too many fouls, they commit stupid fouls. Georgetown commits an alarming number of moving screens, hip checks on a dribbler twenty feet from the basket, and back court hand checks. Yet, they do not foul guys who get easy layup opportunities under the basket. It would be one thing if Georgetown fouled so much to force opponents to "earn their points" rather than get easy shots at the basket, but that isn’t what is going on. Three of Hopkins’s fouls, for instance, came on the perimeter, and the other one came after he performed a long jump into a player standing on the baseline. It amounts to simply giving fouls and points away for no reason.

Georgetown did well enough in the other two areas that I identified as keys to the game, forcing 16 Seminole turnovers and grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. But, it didn’t matter thanks to the scorching shooting performances that reminded Hoya fans of the NCAA Tournament flameout against Ohio four years ago.

The Hoyas were actually pretty effective offensively in this game. Markel Starks shined in his final game as a Hoya, efficiently scoring 27 points on 8-16 from the field and a perfect 8-8 from the line, while dishing out four assists. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (22 points, 7-18 FG) and Jabril Trawick (14 points, 5-9 FG, 3 offensive rebounds) also had strong games. Aaron Bowen had perhaps the best game of his career, excelling in the fast pace and pressure defense and seemingly dunking all over the place, finishing with 10 points on 4-7 field goals before fouling out.

While the game was played at an extremely fast pace, that still can’t excuse a defensive performance that allows 1.36 points per possession. It was a fitting end to the season in which the Hoyas could not stop fouling and too often offered up no resistance inside.

Florida St. will host Louisiana Tech on Friday for a trip to go to New York to play for the NIT Championship.

Thus ends a disappointing season for Georgetown. While the team was disappointing most of the year, there were some high moments and under the circumstances, namely having two of their main players suspended for much of the year, the Hoyas did alright. Five players graduate (though Moses Ayegba and Aaron Bowen may be granted a fifth year of eligibility), but only Markel Starks will truly be missed on the court. The Hoyas have a heralded recruiting class coming in, and things should get better in a hurry for the Hoyas.

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