One day after playing its worst half of the season, Georgetown played perhaps its best game, outgunning a Kansas State squad that apparently was too busy licking its own wounds to learn anything from the Hoyas' loss yesterday. A balanced first half on both ends of the floor built a double-digit lead that the Georgetown guards blew open after the break.
Things started auspiciously for Georgetown, much as they did yesterday, before disaster struck. Today, the Hoyas scored on each of their first five possessions, while the Wildcats squandered each of theirs, turning over the ball four times and bricking a jumper. Georgetown had scored the game's first ten points, and never really looked back.
Faced with an accommodating man-to-man Wildcat defense, Georgetown attacked for much of the first half, netting 22 points in the lane before intermission. The Hoyas got to the rim in a number of ways, whether a back-cut for Aaron Bowen, a Josh Smith dunk that may have been a recordable seismic event, or penetration by the Hoya guards feeding open shooters. Georgetown spread the wealth, assisting on ten of the first twelve Hoya baskets, while seven Hoyas scored five points or more before the break. Unlike in recent losses, Markel Starks avoided early foul trouble, and as a result was the offensive ignition the Hoyas needed. Also deserving of credit was the Kansas State defense, which looked very much like a team that had never played against Georgetown's offense.
Georgetown's early energy translated to defense as well. The Hoyas continued to show the occasional full-court press out of dead balls, helping induce 10 Kansas State turnovers before intermission. Even when the Wildcats held onto the ball, they made just a third of their shots from the field in the first half. Were it not for Kansas State grabbing fully half of its first-half misses as offensive rebounds, the Hoyas' 17-point halftime lead may have been even wider.
But, as we learned yesterday, there are two halves to play, and just over two minutes after the break, the Hoya lead stood at 14, right where it was when Georgetown entered a Dust Bowl-sized drought against Northeastern. Today, mercifully, the result was different. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit a jumper that didn't fall yesterday and followed that up with a triple. After a few fallow minutes, a Starks breakaway lay-in off a live-ball turnover begat nine straight points by Jabril Trawick that pushed the lead beyond twenty and the game beyond doubt.
Thanks to a second-half offensive spurt, DSR netted a game-high 25 points, canning four triples while also working his way to the line for a perfect 9-of-9 free throws. One day after failing to attempt a single field goal, Trawick was nearly perfect en route to a career-high 16 points. Starks's shot was just so-so (11 points on 4-of-11 shooting), but his playmaking was impeccable, as the senior dropped a career-high 8 assists. Mikael Hopkins (8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks) played his perhaps his best all-around basketball as a Hoya in the first half, while Moses Ayegba (4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) showed some sturdy post defense.
There were some clouds on this otherwise sunny day. While Smith had an efficient scoring day, making 6 of his 7 shots, struggled with foul trouble and failed to make an impact on the boards, where he grabbed a season-low 2 rebounds. After an error-filled outing against Northeastern, Nate Lubick managed not to turn the ball over against Kansas State, but still hasn't eclipsed 6 points even though he's a senior, six other Hoyas have surpassed that very modest threshold, and Georgetown can use all the offense it can get. Georgetown continues to hear the whistle, committing 24 fouls against Kansas State, and continues to struggle on the glass, where the Wildcats cleaned up for much of the game. Of course, there also was the lingering disgust from yesterday's listless debacle, as evidenced by JT3's comment after today's win, "I think, I hope, I pray, that today is more indicative of who we are."
Still, it's hard to be too cynical about a 27-point drubbing, particularly one that is capped by a Aaron Bowen assisted, John Caprio converted basket. The one-sided win advances Georgetown to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off's consolation final on Sunday, when the Hoyas will face either Long Beach State or, more likely, the dreaded VCU.