GETTING INSIDE Georgetown coach John Thompson III can talk all he want about having a roster full of guys who can lead the Hoyas in scoring. But that doesn't change the fact that the players themselves aren't immune from feeling the pain when the ball just isn't going through the basket for them.
Jason Clark admitted the day before scoring 20 points against Seton Hall that at times he has gotten down on himself about his inability to score consistently.
It's amazing what a 4-for-4 night from beyond the 3-point arc (5-for-6 overall) will do to make those feelings go away.
"I don't know where that came from,'' Clark said. "It's just our good offense that we ran. We got wide-open shots.''
Yes, this is the same Clark who was 0-for-5 (0-for-4 from long distance) against Connecticut five days prior.
"(Not scoring) was frustrating,'' Clark said. "(Thursday's performance) was refreshing. It kind of gets my confidence back.''
The wingspan-blessed sophomore, who changed his number from 20 to 21 as soon as Jessie Sapp left the Hilltop, didn't know if it was his lockdown defense on Jeremy Hazell that inspired his offensive outburst. But that part of his game will continue to be relied upon likely more than his timely outside shooting as the Hoyas continue to move up a degree in competition at Pittsburgh Wednesday.
"I think the reason we were somewhat successful (vs. Hazell) is not just because of the effort of the two guys (Clark and Chris Wright) that were on him most of the night,'' Thompson said, "but also because of the attentiveness of the whole team as to where he was and showing and supporting and still getting back in front of our guys.''
VILLANOVA 82, GEORGETOWN 77: More than a week after coming back from a large halftime deficit against Connecticut, it appeared that Georgetown would the same to Villanova, as they tied Sunday's game late in the second half after trailing by as many as 17 points.
However, all the Wildcats needed to do was get the ball in the hands of Scottie Reynolds, who sank a running layup to put them ahead for good and extend their Big East record to 5-0 with a 82-77 victory.
GEORGETOWN 85, SETON HALL 73: After erasing a 19-point second-half lead five days earlier, Georgetown wasn't looking for another comeback. Riding perhaps their best half of basketball this season, the Hoyas rolled to a 16-point halftime lead and fended off a brief second-half challenge Thursday.
Georgetown shot a season-high 68 percent from the field, also the highest under coach John Thompson III against a Big East opponent. Jason Clark, who was 5-for-6 overall and 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc, scored 20 points.
The Hoyas bolted in front with a 15-0 first-half run during which they made four of their nine first-half steals. They also held Seton Hall gunner Jeremy Hazell (23.3-point average) to 17 points, eight of which were scored in the final minute after the game had long been decided.
After getting no closer than eight in the first half, the Pirates finally started to force the issue midway through the second half, cutting the Georgetown lead to seven after back-to-back layups by Keon Lawrence.
But two free throws by Clark and a easy transition bucket from Chris Wright (game-high 21 points) after a block and rebound by Greg Monroe pushed the lead back to double digits.
--The Hoyas knocked off Connecticut last weekend, thanks to their ability to slow down instead of speed up when faced with a double-digit deficit.
Georgetown trailed by 15 at the half, and had just 25 points in the first 20 minutes. Despite the low point total, a big part of the problem was that the Hoyas were rushing too much on offense, with the result being turnovers, UConn transition points, and poor shot selection.
The Hoyas went 8-for-27 from the floor, 2-for-10 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over eight times in the first half.
What coach John Thompson III noticed was the shot selection. With Greg Monroe hampered by the UConn post players, Chris Wright felt the burden and took 10 shots, though he struggled until making his final two before intermission.
After intermission was an entirely different story.
The Hoyas did a much better job of getting Monroe open, and the Georgetown center had 10 second-half points. But the real story was Austin Freeman, who went 11 of 17 in scoring 28 of his 33 points in the final 20 minutes.
The first half, for the Hoyas, was a clinic in how not to play a team like the Huskies. But the second half saw the team turn the ball over just twice, get the ball to the hot hand, and totally flummox a Top 25 team. For this Georgetown squad, patience clearly is a virtue.
--John Thompson III continues to have his way with one of his father's former rivals. The Hoyas have won four in a row against Jim Calhoun and the UConn Huskies.
--F Austin Freeman's 33 points marked the second time this season a Georgetown player has broken the 30-point barrier. Chris Wright accomplished it, and set the team high for points in a game this season, with 34 against Harvard in December.
ON THE SPOT: Greg Monroe has continued to vacillate between fairly dominant and merely a presence, following up a 15-point, 10-rebound performance against Connecticut with eight points and nine rebounds against Seton Hall. He also had four assists, three steals and a block despite foul trouble against the Pirates.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "First thing, they had Austin Freeman in uniform. That helps an awful lot. He is a bona fide, terrific, big-time player who made big-time shots." -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, in The Washington Post, on how Georgetown came back to beat the Huskies.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: Georgetown has recovered from a disappointing 2008-09 that saw the team spiral down the stretch, and has shown the ability to overcome adversity this season. Never was that more apparent than the victory over Connecticut, a game in which the team trailed by 15 at halftime and 17 early in the second half, only to come back and win by three.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Austin Freeman, F Julian Vaughn, C Greg Monroe, G Jason Clark, G Chris Wright. Key Subs -- F Hollis Thompson, F Jerrelle Benimon, F/C Henry Sims, G Vee Sanford.
Georgetown 67, DePaul 50
Marquette 62, Georgetown 59
Georgetown 72, Connecticut 69
Georgetown 85, Seton Hall 73
Villanova 82, Georgetown 77
at Pittsburgh, Wednesday
vs. Rutgers, Saturday, Jan. 23
at Syracuse, Monday, Jan. 25
--After scoring a career-high 33 points in Georgetown's comeback win over Connecticut, F Austin Freeman finished with 16 against Seton Hall. More important, he nearly reversed his one-assist, four-turnover first half with three assists and just one turnover in the second.
--G Chris Wright led all scorers with 21 points against Seton Hall. He also had six assists, but what made his night stand out the most was zero turnovers, the first time he had a goose egg in that department this season.
--F/C Henry Sims had an efficient four rebounds and two blocks in just 10 minutes, including a key stuff on Seton Hall's Herb Pope and then a rebound in traffic on successive defensive possessions to keep the Pirates' second-half surge from reach nerve-wracking levels.
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