Sometimes, basketball is unpredictable.
With Georgetown up six points and under a minute remaining, a Hoyas win was almost assured. But Maryland, young and unexperienced other than a few members, clawed their way back through confusing Hoya turnovers, head-scratching mental lapses, and consistent free throw shooting from the Terps, as they eventually pulled ahead and won 76-75 in D.C.
Early on, both teams struggled to find their groove. It was junior L.J. Peak who took over the Georgetown offense with 21 points, including 19 in the second half. Along with sophomore Jessie Govan’s 12 points (including two 3-pointers), Georgetown was shooting, passing, and defending as a collective whole; although, much like many other teams with unsafe leads, they took their foot off the gas pedal too early.
For Maryland, Melo Trimble appears to be playing his best basketball of his college career. His ease of finishing on the inside and grace in pick and roll situations kept the Maryland offense flowing. With seven seconds left, it was Trimble’s confidence and poise at the free throw line that capped off the epic comeback. He finished with 22 points on 7-14 shooting.
While it is better to face these issues in November compared to March, it always hurts to face a loss like this. Here are the three things we learned from Maryland’s 76-75 win.
Georgetown’s defense was solid, but there are still kinks to work out
After last year, where the defense was fairly porous, expectations were reasonably low. Considering that this was the Hoyas’ first true test, their ability to keep the ball out of the basket on the defensive end alleviated their offensive woes. Shooting a putrid 32.7 percent from the field, Georgetown forced 17 turnovers and held the Terrapins to 25.9 percent from beyond the arc, but statistics do not tell the entire story. Georgetown was late on reads, allowing multiple open jumpers on which Maryland just could not convert.
The collapse late in the game was not dedicative of how they played in the second half, but every quality team needs to learn how to finish off games. John Thompson III will take this game as a learning process and the Hoyas should be better the next time they are in this situation.
Hoyas made shots when it mattered most, except then they didn’t
In their first game of the season, Georgetown, while facing an opponent far worse than Maryland, showed their offensive potency. Scoring over 100 points, senior Rodney Pryor was electric from beyond the arc. Today, when most of their shots hit the outside of the rim in the first half, the Hoyas did not blink. They stuck to their game plan and continued to attack the Terrapin defense.
In a close game midway through the second half, the Hoyas began to find their target. 3-pointers from L.J. Peak and Pryor stretched the Hoya lead to six as Georgetown began to find their rhythm. But just as it seemed they were going to pull away from the Terrapins, the Hoyas went cold.
With four minutes remaining, Georgetown led by nine points. Maryland began to lock down Peak and Pryor, sparking an 11-5 run that brought them back within four points. While Georgetown would stretch the lead back out to six, they failed to regain their momentum as Melo Trimble and Maryland would go on to stun the half-filled Verizon Center.
L.J. Peak proved he has star potential
After scoring only two points in the first half, L.J Peak walked out of the locker room with a sense of purpose. Georgetown needed someone to step up on offense. After they scored only 31 points in the first 20 minutes, Peak took on a greater responsibility. His 19 second half points were the fuse for Georgetown’s run towards a near double-digit lead. While he was not able to effectively close out the game, his offense could be a sign for the future.
Along with Pryor, Peak is one of the most talented offensive players on this team. He has yet to consistently tap into his massive potential on both sides of the floor. If tonight is any indication, he is destined for a promising season.