Last night's game was statistically predicted by the good people at Kenpom to be the most exciting game of the night according to his fanmatch metric. It registered a 75.9% chance of having a positive hoops watching experience for non-partisan fans. It did not disappoint. The Hoyas and the Cards have combined to play some of this year's best basketball games: Georgetown vs. Missouri, Georgetown vs. Nova; Louisville vs. Marquette, Louisville vs. UConn both teams have played their fair share of epic, tight, competitive games. Monday's game could not have ended any other way.
Louisville has made a number of comebacks this year. They came back against Georgetown as well, but unlike the past times, the Cards fell short. What was the difference? The Hoyas were only up 4 at half time. Louisville has made a habit of coming back when they've been down exactly 5 points at half time: UNLV, Marquette UConn - all three times down 5 at half, all three times they found a way to win.
But in all seriousness, Georgetown won this game with their defense. I'm not sure even I would have thought that was possible a few short weeks ago. The dramatic improvement in defense over the last three games has been incredible. It was mentioned in another thread that according to Kenpom you need to be within the top 30 of both offensive and defensive efficiency to make the Final Four. Right now on the season the Hoyas are 48th in defense. But if you look at just the last three games guess what our ranking would be? Exactly 30th. The Hoyas have made dramatic improvement in defense and it was extremely evident in our win over Louisville. It's not just our intensity, our form is much improved as well. We did an excellent job stopping penetration and besides a brief let down in the second half we did a great job getting out on their shooters.
We completely shut down BE Player Of the Week, Peyton Siva. Holding him to 5 points but more importantly forced Siva into 8 turnovers. The Hoyas did a great job in this game forcing the Cardinals into turnovers. The Cards had 16 turnovers and a 25% turnover rate. The Hoyas converted on those Louisville turnovers very efficiently 111.1 eff after a steal leading to 10 points. The Hoyas also did a good job forcing leading scorer Preston Knowles into bad shots as he took 14 shots to get his 11 points 4 below his average.
While both sides struggled offensively in the opening half the vesper half led to an offensive explosion.
- The Hoyas shot 76.5% from the field in the second half an eFG% of 82.4%
- The Hoyas were efficient by getting points at the hoop
- The Hoyas only shot three 3's in the second half and shot 78.6% on 2 pointers
- The Hoyas were 13-19 on layups/tip ins for the game while Louisville was only 5-13.
Coaching was again amazing. JTIII's rotations and subbing has been excellent. He's getting everyone involved and using our depth to keep all the pieces well rested. I haven't seen this mentioned, but did anyone else notice the new out of bounds play we ran for Julian in the second half? I love that coach is working on an obvious area of concern for us and throwing new looks at teams. Julian didn't score but he did draw the foul and convert from the line.
The Hoyas were in a rock fight last night, but they persevered and emerged triumphant. Louisville fights as hard as any team in the nation. They give it their all out there on the court. The Hoyas matched their intensity.The Hoyas also overcame some pretty horrendous reffing. Bilas was not afraid to criticize how bad the reffing was especially with regards to the offensive fouls against, Chris, Austin, and Jerrelle all of which were blatantly wrong.
Chris Wright: Chris Wright is faster than y'all! Chris burned the cardinals for 24 points. His most impressive was a flip from his hip as he was tripped. His second most impressive was when he sped coast to coast and put the ball in the hoop with the entire Cardinal team chasing him. As the commentators noted: "They're all chasing him trying to knock the ball away from behind, but Chris Wright is just too quick." He was also 8-8 from the line and grabbed 5 rebounds. To round out his impressive stat line he added 3 assists and a steal.
Austin Freeman: Those 13 points marked Austin's 7th straight double digit performance ad launched him into the top 10 all time scoring leaders in Georgetown history. Louisville was determined to not let Austin beat them. This allowed the opening Chris needed to dominate this game. Austin also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and most importantly 3 steals.
Julian Vaughn: Julian was HUGE for us last night and during this win streak. He had the highest ORtg on the team at 200.9 We went repeatedly inside to Julian in the second half and Julian converted each time going a perfect 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line. He also had 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, an assist, and 0 turnovers! A truly amazing performance by the big fella.
Jason Clark: Until someone said it after the game was over I didn't realize that Jason hadn't scored when he went to the FT line at the end of the game. He went to the line and swished them both anyway. That is impressive. All of Jason's shots were open so I have no problem with him taking them. On the other end of the court Jason was a terror. he did an excellent job. He also grabbed 5 rebounds.
Nate Lubick: Missed a couple of bunnies, but I love the kids energy. 3points 3 rebounds a block and a steal is far from terrible. His addition to the starting line up really helps the team in all areas of the game.
Hollis Thompson: ONIONS! What a huge 3 pointer. He hit 2 3's both at the ends of halves. His movement to the bench has been amazing. He brings a scoring punch that the bench lacked. Kid is clutch.
Henry Sims: I thought Henry had a solid game offensively. He had a very nice move to the basket for the score and while only credited with 2 assists( I thought he had at least 3) he helped the offense flow very nicely. He's at worst holding his own when he comes in, which is great. Him being able to come in and not be a burden is really helping this team out.
Jerrelle Benimon: Should have passed on the fast break, but also should've gotten the blocking call. Played very good defense yesterday( PS that's why he plays by the way) He had a defensive rating of 54.8 for the 11 defensive possessions he played. He had 2 rebounds and a steal in his 5 minutes of action.
Vee Sanford: Played excellent defense yesterday he was only credited with one steal, but he had a couple strips and in general played lock down defense.
Markel Starks: Had a beautiful drive and basket in the second half where he sliced through traffic leading to a great 200.0 ORtg.
While the way most people view it the Hoyas now have sole possession of 7th place in the big east. But in fact in terms of games back from the leader the Hoyas are tied with UConn, Nova, and WV for 4th place and are just a half game out of 2nd place.
We need to take care of business in a trap game at home versus giant slayer Providence. They may only have 2 Big East wins, but both are the same as our best two conference wins: Nova and Louisville. Both those wins were at home, so I'm hoping the Friars don't pack the same punch on the road. We've been playing great defense the last 3 games, but we've also had major reasons to be up for those games: revenge, then two highly ranked teams. It will say a lot if we can show the same defensive intensity against Providence. With a trip to Syracuse looming it would be easy to over look the lowly Friars, but teams do so at their own risk. This years team is not last years team. But if it was last years team, this is exactly where they'd lose. Fans Show up on Saturday and be loud the whole game (I'm looking at you students) and make sure this doesn't happen.