GETTING INSIDE Slow starts in the Big East finally came back to bite John Thompson III's club over the weekend.
The Hoyas trailed UConn by 15 at the half but came back to win a thriller. They nearly managed the same thing against, Villanova but instead dropped an 82-77 decision.
The obvious question for the Hoyas going forward: How do they avoid falling in that kind of hole in the first place?
Against Villanova, the Hoyas led 15-14 and then went scoreless for five minutes and gave up a 14-0 run. During that stretch, Georgetown had as many turnovers (five) as shots, not including the missed front end of a one-and-one by Greg Monroe. It did not pull down one offensive rebound during that span, while the Wildcats had three.
In the victory over Connecticut, the scoreless streak went nearly seven minutes, and over a nine-minute span the Huskies went on a 22-3 run. That case saw the problem being shot selection, as Monroe got just one shot during that span as the team settled for jumpers and 3-pointers without hitting the net.
The Hoyas have been one of the pleasant surprises in the first half of the 2009-10 season, but if it can't figure out how to stop the bleeding, it's hard to see this team reaching its potential. It gets another chance at Pittsburgh Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
--Part of the problem against Villanova was that in a game in which both teams struggled with foul trouble, the Hoya reserves were dominated by their Wildcat counterparts. Villanova's bench outscored Georgetown's 25-4.
--Georgetown had a strong game on the boards against a Villanova team that is undersized but makes opponents work for every carom. The Hoyas out-rebounded the Wildcats 45-40.
ON THE SPOT: The scoring droughts have become a real problem for the Hoyas. While the Georgetown offense looks more potent than the usual John Thompson III squad it isn't suited to score a ton of points in a hurry. Georgetown works best when it can work Greg Monroe inside and the shooters on the outside; when that falls out of balance, the Hoyas are in trouble.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Jerrelle Benimon) was unhealthy for the first three or four months. He's healthy now, and he's getting all the reps in practice. So he is a presence in there. He'll continue to get better, as will Hollis (Thompson).'' -- Georgetown coach John Thompson III, in The Washington Post, on the performance of his bench.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: By splitting its two games last week, Georgetown maintained its position in striking distance of the Big East leaders with a 4-2 record after six conference games. The Hoyas continue to be a fixture in the Top 25, and are a balanced enough that this is likely to continue throughout the season.
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 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
vs. Duke, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. South Florida, Wednesday, Feb. 1
IN FOCUS: Georgetown-Pittsburgh is a classic battle of lunch-pail Big East teams that play solid on both ends of the court and don't give their opponents anything easy. The key for the Hoyas will be stopping the Panthers perimeter shooters and avoiding the extended scoring droughts that have plagued the team over the past couple of weeks.
--C Greg Monroe looked strong in defeat against Villanova. He tied his career high with 16 rebounds to go with his career-best 29 points.
--F Jerrelle Benimon played a career-high 21 minutes against Villanova, thanks to the foul trouble of starter Julian Vaughn. He scored four points and yanked down six rebounds, but like Vaughn had a hard time staying in the game because of fouls, as he picked up four of his own.
--F Hollis Thompson had a day to forget against Villanova. The freshman sixth man missed all seven of his shots from the field, including five from 3-point range, and also turned the ball over twice.
Georgetown Basketball Notebook
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