So while the end result of the game was not what we desired, I am not discouraged by this loss. For starters, we were not supposed to win this game. By every metric Marquette was favored in this game. This was a game of inches and it just was not our day. Once bounce here or there decided this game and on a neutral court this is a 10 point Georgetown win. At home, it's a blowout. That's how much home court is worth in the Big East.
Once again our defense was outstanding - good enough to move us from 12th in the nation to 10th in the nation. We held the Golden Eagles to an efficiency of 88.8, and a FG% of 36.4%. We also held them to 23.5% from 3 and 3 of their 4 makes were as the shot clock expired. Other things we did well in this game was take care of the ball, with a TO rate of only 18%
There were questions heading into this game whether the extended time off would be a problem for the Hoyas. I tend to believe that the extended time off didn't actually effect much but rather provided an easy scapegoat for lazy sportswriters to point to. Would we have been sharper offensively if we hadn't had so much time off? While I don't believe it was the cause or that performance there is a study that suggests teams coming off such long breaks do perform subpar offensively. There are definitely flaws with this analysis, such as the small sample size of games teams play with 10+ days of rest, but the study does show a sharp decline of teams that play after long breaks. In fact in terms of the ideal amount of time off between games according to that piece it appears to be: 3 days, 2 days, 4 days, 5 days, 7 days, 1 day, 6 days, 8 days, 10+ days, 9 days. So no excuses when we play Pitt since we'll have the best possible days rest prior to the game.
Markel Starks: The brightest spot in this game. This was possibly Starks' most complete game as a Hoya. 18 points and 7 assists throw in 2 rebounds and a steal as well. He was extremely efficient shooing 7-12 for the game and a team leading 122.7 offensive rating. The 7 assists are the biggest thing for me. That's a career high and a big development. We need more of Starks driving and dishing. His 7 assists are 2 more than he's had this year and 3 more than he had in any game in his first two years.
Greg Whittington: Second leading scorer in this game with 13 points, leading rebounder with 8 boards, second in assists with 3, first in blocks with 2, and second in steals with one. Only other Hoya to post an offensive rating over 100.
Otto Porter: 13 points and 6 rebounds. And several blocks that the Marquette scorer keeper refused to count for some reason. Hoyas had at least 10 blocks in this game yet were only credited with three blocks for the game. What a travesty. Otto was third overall in net points and lead the team in +/-.
Jabril Trawick: I love Jabril! I'm sure everyone loves Jabril! How could you not love Jabril! I love his attitude. I love that he stares down opponents and talks trash. That block was amazing. Saving the ball on the other end to keep possession alive was another example of Jabril's great hustle play. He also lead the team with 3 steals and added 2 rebounds and 2 assits.
Nate Lubick: Like Jabril, Nate is a lunch pail kid. He drew two charges, but one was incorrectly called a block. He hauled down 4 rebounds and had 2 assits and no turnovers. He also did a very good job defending in the post.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera: Hmm. Well he had 0 turnovers. He contributed no fouls. He had 1 rebound.
Mikael Hopkins: While I'm sure many people would think it would be even harder to write something positive about Hopkins than it was for DSR you'd be wrong. Hopkins is far from perfect and has a lot to improve on. That being said Mikael excelled in one area in the game against Marquette. Defensively Mikael was a difference maker. He led the team in defensive rating at 70.6. He was actually a positive in the net points. Why was he so good defensively? He did a great job fronting Davante Gardner and getting steals. He lead the team with 3 steals. Mikael played 15 minutes in the first half and only 3 in the second. In that time he held Gardner to only 2 points. While he was out of the game, Gardner scored 10 points.
Big East play is just beginning. There are plenty more wins on the horizon as will there be more losses. How we respond to the loss is what's important and Pittsburgh will provide a tough test. Our lockdown defense will keep us in every game and while improvements on the offensive end will be necessary, I believe this team is more than capable.