First of all: wow, what a win. We all thought that Georgetown's stunning road win at Alabama would define their season. I think we can all agree now that the only way this could be topped would be with a win at Syracuse in February. With this win, Georgetown becomes the first team in college basketball to win 3 games against ranked opponents. When we look back, doesn't that Kansas game seem incredibly winnable, considering the Jayhawks' recent struggles? Imagine what we'd be saying if the Hoyas were 12-0, but I digress.
This game featured another gritty effort from Markel Starks, who missed only one shot and was perfect from 3-point land. We spent the first 10 games being impressed with the emergence of Henry Sims and now we can drool as we watch Markel turn into the leader he absolutely MUST be going forward for the Hoyas. This gives Hoya fans lots to be excited about for the next few weeks, and with Marquette now on the schnide, the Hoyas may not play another great team until their home matchup with UConn at the beginning of February. Georgetown must take advantage of their relatively easy schedule in early Big East play if they want to have momentum going into the Syracuse/UConn games later on.
The Freshmen - Otto Porter can hit clutch free throws and this team can, once again, hang with a great team with only underclassmen on the floor. When your oldest player on the floor is Markel Starks and you are hanging with the #4 team in the country, you know you've got something special. Tip of the hat to Jabril Trawick and his attitude. We definitely need a thug on this team and Jabril doesn't take crap from anybody.
Defending the Perimeter - This team got beat bad in the tournament last year partly because VCU took advantage of the shots they were allowed to take along the perimeter. Louisville only shot 33% from behind the arc, and they sport two excellent distance shooters in Kyle Kuric and Russ Smith. An impressive effort for sure.
Turnovers - Oh man, do I hate turnovers. If I have one gripe about this team, it would be its propensity for losing the ball. Georgetown coughed up the ball 9 times in the first half alone, 16 time in total. That is not how you win basketball games against good teams. Georgetown was able to build it's large lead in the 2nd half because it STOPPED turning the ball over. In fact, they gave it up only twice in the 2nd half before Louisville's run. I know Georgetown sports a young team and young teams will be prone to making mistakes, but these guys have to understand that turning the ball over can cost you the game. Heck, it damn near cost them this one.
Jason Clark is Cold Again - Jason was 2 of 8 from the field for just 7 points. No bueno. This team lived off of Clark's hot shooting at the beginning of the year. Despite the emergence of Porter/Starks, they cannot count on those two guys to always be there and Clark needs to find his stroke again. If he doesn't, we'll be talking about him the same way we were at the end of last year, describing him as a player who disappears in the part of the season that counts the most.
Nate Lubick - If you know me, then you know I've hated Lube since the first time I saw his snowy white face on the court last year. This guy is terrible. He takes deep shots that someone of his ability should not be taking (he never makes them either), he is a turnover machine (3 turnovers in just 12 minutes in this game) and he doesn't score (averaging 4 PPG this season).
Three Key Plays You May Not Remember:
1) Just after Hollis Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 8:46 to go in the 2nd half to put the Hoyas up 4, Louisville called a timeout. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was promptly hit with a technical foul, much to the dismay of the entire KFC Yum! Arena. When reviewed, it didn't look like Pitino did anything to warrant the tech, but Jason Clark made both free throws, which increased the Hoya lead to 6. In just 8 seconds, the game went from being a manageable 2-basket game to being a significant deficit with time running down.
2) Henry Sims missed a layup after Kyle Kuric's 3-pointer narrowed the Hoya lead to 7 with just under 6 minutes left. Peyton Siva rebounded the ball, ran the length of the floor in 4 seconds, and attempted a circus layup with 3 Hoyas surrounding him. Jason Clark blocked the shot, and 12 seconds later, Henry Sims hit an easy layup to put the Hoyas back up 9 with just over 5 minutes left. Siva's poor decision to shoot instead of pass or set up the offense resulted in a basket for the Hoyas instead of one for the Cards.
3) With 1 minute left and down just 4 points, Louisville had a chance to make it a one-possession game again. Instead of using the shot clock and finding a quality shot, the Cardinals used just 12 seconds before Kuric hoisted up a highly contested shot from 26 feet away. He missed and the Hoyas regained possession and increased their lead to 6 shortly after. Had Louisville had just a little more patience, they could have put a bit more pressure on the Hoyas.
It Was Over When: Otto Porter, with ice in his veins, nailed 4 straight free throws in the last 40 seconds of the game to put it out of reach for the Cardinals.
Let's see if they can avoid the letdown against Providence.