Georgetown 91, Memphis 88 – Post-Game Observations, Likes/Dislikes
Lots to "Like" so far. via insidechromeos.com
Like: We did not allow Memphis to score a field goal in overtime. If you don’t believe me, watch the game again.
Dislike: Although our defense was solid down the stretch, we committed far too many fouls at the end of regulation and in overtime. I expected to be really excited when I re-watched the end of the Memphis game last night. I wasn’t. Whistle after whistle, too many stoppages, and a few too many guys out of position. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of those fouls were the result of quick whistles and overzealous officiating, but other fouls were the result of poor decision-making. Yes, they were ticky-tack calls, but a couple of them could have been avoided. More on this later.
Like: Super-Hank. Obviously. I don’t know what happened. I can’t remember ever openly rooting for guys to clear out, so Henry could do his thing in isolation. The guy was everywhere against Memphis and truly exhibited his full range of moves, especially down the stretch. The nimble up-and-under; the putback dunk; the 18-footer; the hook shot; key free throws; the ball fake and drive to the basket; the backdoor pass; the handoff to a wide open shooter. The guy had a career-high 24 points, 8 boards and 5 assists. One of these days, I think he’ll have a triple-double. We won the game on Wednesday because Memphis didn’t have a guy like Henry, and because Memphis couldn’t stop Henry. Our team just got a whole lot nastier.
More Likes/Dislikes after The Jump:
Dislike: So, Nate. As well as Hank Sims played, Nate was the opposite. He finished with zero points on 0 for 6 shooting in only 16 minutes. I’m not going to overreact to one game. Nate is still the best passer on the team and he plays hard and has a good awareness of where he needs to be. But he can’t shoot. Forget about the three-point shot. He can’t hit the 18-footer either. And as long as he can’t shoot, other teams won’t guard on the perimeter because, if they do, he’ll go backdoor all day. It worked for Kansas and it worked for Memphis. Just seemed like Nate was a little out of his league. Credit JTIII for making the adjustments and using Otto down the stretch.
Like: Jason Clark made big shots when we needed them. His 26 points led all scorers and, obviously, his three-pointer in overtime was the play of the game. Importantly, I didn’t get the sense that Jason was trying to do too much. He still had a couple of turnovers, but he didn’t force his shots. He took open threes, drove to the basket when it was there for him and, overall, played a very solid game. He looks like a slightly more well-rounded player this season.
Dislike: The last possession of the first half. We’re up 7 with the ball and 28 seconds on the clock. Clark rushes his shot, Memphis comes down the floor on a fast break and cuts the lead to 5. We should’ve been up at least 7 at the half, if not more. But a bad decision by Jason opened the door for Memphis. In such a close game, every poor decision is magnified, and that was a poor decision.
Like: Little Markel (Mr. Congressman?) was in foul trouble for most of the game, so he only played 22 minutes. But in that time, he chipped in with 12 points on 3 of 5 shooting. He made a couple of threes and hit all four of his free throws, including two big ones at the end. Love the confidence. What I’d really like to see is a little more penetration and kick. Markel has the ability to drive to the basket; if he can penetrate more regularly and find Hollis, Jason and Otto on the wings for open shots, we’ll become much more dangerous. I realize that may be difficult in some of our Princeton sets, but when it’s there, he should take advantage of it.
Dislike: Ok, back to the officiating. You really shouldn’t watch the last five minutes of regulation and overtime. Even with the knowledge that we would ultimately win the game, I still found myself scowling and yelling at the refs. It starts with the awful three-point play that they gave to Joe Jackson after he took four steps. And then the jump balls – the first whistle came a little too fast and the second whistle should’ve been an over-the-back instead of a jump ball. Follow that up with two consecutive tipped passes that went out of bounds; the ball was (questionably) given to Memphis both times. And then, in overtime, we must have been whistled for at least four fouls – two on Whitt, one on Jason and one on Otto. In some instances, they were ticky-tack fouls that could’ve gone either way, but in others (especially the phantom call on Otto), I just don’t see any contact. Crappy officiating almost cost us this game. (And yes, I realize we got bailed out with two seconds on the shot clock when they called a hold on Black, but still….)
Like: A solid 14 minutes from Jabril. Only 4 points, but I didn’t see a single mistake. His defense was good, he didn’t rush his shots, and he seemed to have a better awareness of where he needed to be and when he should be cutting. And he’s only going to get better. For those of you who saw him play in the Kenner League and in China, you probably saw a player who liked to create for himself (sometimes that was good, but sometimes he would force the issue a little too much). Against Memphis, he was under control, and that was a very good thing.
Dislike: The turnovers. I know the box score says we only had 9 turnovers, but that’s inaccurate. We definitely had more. And somehow, the box score indicates that Nate didn’t have any turnovers, and that’s just incorrect. Midway through the first half, we were playing great defense and Memphis couldn’t buy a bucket, but we couldn’t pull away because of too many errant, sloppy passes. Nate and Henry and Jason committed most of the mistakes in the first half. I realize that our offense encourages difficult passes that result in easy layups. I get that. But some of the decision-making was pretty lousy. Our offense demands precision; some of those passes were far from precise.
Like: Greg Whittington. I absolutely love his length and I really think he adds a whole new dimension to our defense. It was difficult for guys like Joe Jackson and Antonio Barton to shoot over him. Whitt had a couple of big rebounds, and obviously, he hit that huge putback lay-in off of Hank’s miss at the end of regulation. There would be no overtime without Whitt’s heady play.
Dislike: Greg Whittington. He had only 4 points in 23 minutes. His only basket was the big one at the end of regulation. The other four were misses. He got a couple of good looks from three, but one shot was a little off and the second one was an air ball (maybe his third of the season already). And his other look was a four-foot floater from the corner that he probably should’ve made. On defense, he was responsible for two of those cheap fouls in overtime. Questionable calls, to be sure, but in both cases, he made it easier for the ref by either bumping or reaching in front of his man. His length helps him, but he will frequently find himself in a position where he is guarding much shorter guys who have the ability to blow by him. He needs to be careful about taking chances. Quick caveat: I don’t mean to be overly critical of Greg. I love his game and once he starts to get comfortable in this offense, our team will become nasty. The talent is there. When he starts playing up to his potential, the sky is the limit. Good things happen when he’s on the court.
Like: I mean, I have to mention Otto, right? The kid played 40 minutes and had 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocks. And he only committed one foul (in overtime, which was a horrible call). It’s only a matter of time before he starts. I’d like to see him post up a bit more. He definitely has the skills to take over when we need him to. I think it’s kind of hilarious how people are already taking him for granted. He is probably already more talented than Jeff Green was when he was a freshman. There you go.
Dislike: I’m annoyed that Hopkins didn’t get any minutes. It’s surprising when you think about it. Nate didn’t see the floor very much, so we basically relied on Hank and Otto down low. An effective combination, to be sure, but we’ll need Hopkins to provide big minutes this year, and I’d like to see him get more experience. There will be times when Henry is in foul trouble. Need to see what Hopkins can do, even if he is a work in progress. Against a team like Memphis, which likes to run and doesn’t have many big men, Hopkins could’ve flourished. He doesn’t seem comfortable in the offense yet, but he’s athletic and can run the floor well, so I expected him to be a factor against Memphis.
Like: Hollis played a solid game. Like Jason, he didn’t try to do too much. Shockingly, he didn’t make – or even attempt! – a single three. And that’s fine. He’s got the sweetest stroke east of the Mississippi, but he doesn’t need to force his shots. He also had a big 7 rebounds. That shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Dislike: On Tuesday night, I re-watched most of our game against Kansas (it was re-airing on ESPNU and I was bored). I remember being upset that we didn’t pull away from Kansas during that stretch when Withey and Taylor were out of the game, and I also remember thinking that Jason and Hollis weren’t on the court enough. I was wrong about that. They were both on the court, although sometimes not together, but Hollis kind of disappeared. I think he only had two points in the second half against Kansas. I hope this isn’t a trend with him. I love the kid, and he plays hard, but we’ll need to see a little more Hollywood in crunch time. I was waiting to see what would happen at the end of the Memphis game. He wasn’t particularly good or bad; but he did play solid defense and had a couple of nice rebounds. I’m in no way suggesting that Hollis should try to take over. He shouldn’t. He just needs to stay composed and play the same way he plays in the first half.
Like: Hank Sims. I mean, I think it’s understandable if he gets a second shout-out. I look forward to watching him school Rakeem Christmas. How hilarious is it, by the way, that when Memphis prepares to play us again in late December, their entire game plan will be about how to do a better job of defending Hank Sims? Love it.
Dislike: I can’t say I’m surprised at how undisciplined Memphis was. But man, they were so undisciplined. Some of that has to be on Pastner, but really, some of their decisions were atrocious and you can’t fault the Memphis coaching staff for everything. Turnovers on fast breaks; taking terrible shots; and my personal favorite: Joe Jackson driving to the basket with Memphis up 2 and not very much time left in regulation. Just a complete lack of awareness. So yeah, this isn’t really a "dislike" because Memphis’s mental errors did help Georgetown get the victory, but it’s a "dislike" insofar as it resulted in some pretty bad basketball.
Closing Thought: A solid win against Memphis leaves us with a happy trip home from Maui. We still have a lot of work to do, but I like where we are at this stage of the season. Nate and Whitt and Hopkins will need to get better in these next few weeks before Big East play begins, but overall, I can’t complain. Memphis is a talented basketball team that will make the Tourney, but they’re by no means a great team. We should be happy, but not necessarily satisfied. We should be able to beat better teams this year. And frankly, we should beat Memphis by double digits next month.