Georgetown’s 78-72 loss to Arkansas State at McDonough Arena last Thursday was shocking and, quite frankly, embarrassing. As a result, we at BECB dropped the Hoyas to #10 in our power rankings this week. Several days removed from The Game, John Thompson III’s crew had to shift their focus to Lahaina, Hawaii and the tough competition that was ahead.
The new focus helped the Hoyas defeat the #13 Oregon Ducks 65-61 in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Quarterfinals on Monday afternoon.
This game had some violent swings in momentum. Georgetown held court for much of the first half. They started the game on a 9-1 run, then closed out the 1st half on a 16-4 run. The half-closing run included highlights such as a 4-point play by L.J. Peak and a buzzer-beating running three by Rodney Pryor heading into intermission.
The Hoyas looked great after 20 minutes, leading 38-21. They were shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 6-15 from three. They were also holding Oregon to 24.1 percent shooting with some stout defense across the board.
But the Ducks charged back in the second half. Oregon kicked off the half with nine unanswered points. This lead to a 22-4 run to help them take the lead 43-42 with 8:48 left.
Behind for the first time all game, Georgetown was able to kick things back in gear. The Hoyas went on a 14-2 run to keep Oregon at arm’s length. The Ducks did attempt to make a late surge, but it was too little too late.
Rodney Pryor finished the afternoon with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks for Georgetown. L.J. Peak added 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Payton Pritchard came off the bench and lead Oregon in scoring with 18 points to go along with 4 steals. Jordan Bell and Dylan Ennis had nine each to lead the starters. Chris Boucher had a huge defensive game with seven points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks. Draft prospect Dillon Brooks had eight points in his return to game action.
3 Things We Learned
Rodney Running Roughshod: Transfer Rodney Pryor has been a welcome addition to the Hoyas roster. This afternoon he took off on a Top 25 opponent, scoring almost at will in a number of different ways.
Pryor finished with 26 points on 9-17 shooting, along with his 10 rebounds and four blocks. He struggled from three-point range by going 2-7, but overall he was the Hoyas only consistent bright spot in this game. He and Tre Campbell (2-4) were the only two to shoot over 44 percent from the field.
Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak were tied for the team scoring lead entering today at 17.7 points per game. Pryor will obviously be taking that mantle after his strong performance in today’s game.
Point Guard Struggles Continue: The point guard spot was a question coming into the season, and this afternoon’s game didn’t really answer it.
Freshman Jagan Mosely got the start but finished the game scoreless on 0-3 shooting with three assists. Tre Campbell had six points off the bench along with two steals and three turnovers. Jonathan Mulmore had one point and racked up three fouls.
When the point guards are called upon to be the floor generals, they tend to defer to the playmaking wings. Instead of setting up plays, they’ll pass it off to a bigger player in a weird spot. This leads the offense to stagnate as someone like Pryor, Peak, Isaac Copeland, or Jessie Govan are forced to figure out what do next.
While having wings and bigs that can create are always great to have, point guard play is crucial in moments when things are going bad. For instance, when the opponent is walking down your 17-point halftime lead with a 22-4 run of their own.
They could build a new Civic Center: There were a lot of bricks at the Lahaina Civic Center between Georgetown and Oregon. The Hoyas went 34.4 percent from the field, bolstered only by Pryor’s 9-17 performance. The Ducks shot 39 percent.
While it was another bad game from the field for Georgetown - their third consecutive game failing to reach the national average of 44 percent - they also had a strong defensive effort. The Hoyas allowed their lowest field goal percentage since the season opener against USC Upstate.
The Hoyas did a good job of daring Oregon to shoot the three. The Ducks couldn’t call the bluff, going 4-17 from outside. Georgetown also managed to challenge Oregon at the rim, finishing with 10 team blocks.
Georgetown will need to find their shot as a team soon, especially with the high competition on hand at this tournament. But strong defensive efforts such as this afternoon can help to level the playing field while the offense works itself out.
The Hoyas’ next challenge will be on Tuesday against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Maui Invitational winners bracket. Wisconsin defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 74-62 in the game preceding Georgetown-Oregon.
The Wisconsin game will see the return of senior Bradley Hayes. Hayes had to sit out the first four games as a condition for being granted a fifth year of eligibility. His addition should help the Hoyas shore up their post presence.