My oh my.
Your fighting Georgetown Hoyas won an instant classic at the Verizon Center today, defeating the #5 ranked Louisville Cardinals 53-51. Out of nowhere, the Hoyas are now 4-3 in the Big East and a miraculous 4-1 without second leading scorer Greg Whittington, who remains suspended due to academic infractions. Otto Porter and Markel Starks led the way for Georgetown, each scoring 17 points on crucial possessions throughout the game. Porter added 12 rebounds, including the game-securing rebound with 1.4 seconds to go after Louisville's Peyton Siva capped off a horrific day by bricking a contested jumper with time running out. Porter's rebound came after he grabbed what should have been the game deciding rebound 25 seconds beforehand, though John Cahill saw differently, calling a tie-up on what was a blatant foul. There are few things in life that stay the same every year - death, taxes and John Cahill's awfulness.
Enough about Cahill though, how about THEM HOYAS? Porter and Starks scored 2/3 of the Hoya points, but Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen were spectacular throughout, making crucial plays down the stretch that made the difference between a win and a loss. Bowen's ridiculous tip in to give the Hoyas a 52-50 lead was not only the most spectacular play of the year for Georgetown, it was also the most important play of the year. Trawick was a beast defensively, tying up Louisville numerous times down the stretch and playing with an aggressiveness that has made him a Hoya fan favorite since he stepped on campus.
Nate Lubick, Moses Ayegba and Mikael Hopkins did what was needed from the bigs, holding Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng to under 20 points combined. The Hoyas outrebounded the Cardinals 32-28 with Trawick and D'vauntes Smith-Rivera grabbing 11 combined. DSR played nearly 30 minutes and struggled from the field, shooting 1-10 on looks that we've seen him knock down time and again throughout the year. Despite struggling offensively, he played his best defense of the year, as he continues to improve by leaps and bounds on that end from the beginning of the season.
There were still headscratching moments for the young Hoyas, characterized by lazy turnovers and stagnant offense late in the game, but no one out there can question this team's will to compete and desire to win. This season was expected to be a rebuilding one for Georgetown, with 10 of the 12 players on the roster comprised of freshmen and sophomores. That was before Whittington, Georgetown's second best player and best defender, got suspended for academics. To be 4-3 with wins over Louisville and Notre Dame is beyond any fan's wildest dreams considering the circumstances. Considering the Hoyas lost 2 of those 3 games in the last possession, well, you start thinking about crazy dreams in March again. Credit goes to Porter Jr. and Starks for carrying the team in the face of adversity and Bowen, Trawick and DSR for sliding in seamlessly with Whittington out. John Thompson III continues to work his magic, as he's done year in and year out since he took over the program, with very little notice nationally. Granted, we've seen recent Georgetown teams peak in January and limp into March, but this year feels different because we are performing well above expectations and getting better as the season progresses.
Today's game was a gritty, tough win over a team that all of us know will be in the Elite Eight at worst in March. Yet, after re-watching, one could argue that Georgetown should have won by 10 had Starks and DSR converted on layups they usually knock down in their sleep. That's the scary thing about this team, particularly because of the way we defend. Of course, this team remains young and inexperienced, so there will surely be another few games that we lose in a similar fashion as the South Florida game. What gives me a funny feeling in my pants is that we've went nose-to-nose with Indiana, Louisville and UCLA, three of the most talented teams in the country, and matched them punch-for-punch.
Georgetown has now defeated Rick Pitino and Louisville four straight times, with the Cardinals getting their last win in early 2009. If this week has told us anything in the Big East, it's that the conference is completely up for grabs, and now the Georgetown Hoyas are right in the thick of it. Think about that sentence as you surely revel in today's victory. Hoya Saxa.