Well, that wasn't casual. In what was Georgetown's final opportunity in its non-conference schedule to silence some of its early-season critics, the Hoyas went out and proved the doubters right, falling in hopeless and somewhat embarrassing fashion to the Kansas Jayhawks 86-64 at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Hoyas came out of the gate spry, going toe to toe with the mighty Jayhawks on strong play by Josh Smith, Markel Starks, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and even Aaron Bowen, leading by as much as 6 points early and led 24-23 with less than 8 to go in the first half. It was at this point that Smith was whistled for what was a questionable flagrant elbow on a play where Jayhawks center Tarik Black was also given a foul, giving the Jayhawks two free throws and the ball. Kansas made both free throws, Naadir Tharpe made a three pointer, and the Hoyas never led again. Over the game's final 28 minutes, Georgetown was outscored 62-41.
A lot went wrong for Georgetown in this game and though many Hoyas fans will point to the early officiating which had Kansas in the double bonus early in the first half, Georgetown's problems are much deeper. On offense, Smith was involved early and then was largely ignored, a product of both his inability to move in the paint to get open and his teammates' inability to feed him the ball. Starks, who finished with a team-high 19 points, was largely silent during the first half.
More concerning than the offense, however, has been Georgetown's inability to play defense at a high-level this season. A trademark of JT3's other Hoyas varietals has been that even though Georgetown may struggle for minutes at a time on offense, its defense keeps them in the game. That isn't the case this season. Georgetown has allowed opponents to score 70+ points 5 times already this season, with teams surpassing the 80 point mark 3 times.
Perhaps most telling was a quote by Nate Lubick after the game. "All the credit goes to them," Lubick said. "We didn't come ready to fight." Well, why the hell not?
This kind of punchless effort the Hoyas brought to Lawrence isn't going to cut it. If Georgetown is going to give itself the chance to erase the memories of recent NCAA Tournaments past in March, they best come ready to fight. And that starts next week against Florida International with the Big East opener against DePaul on New Year's Eve rapidly approaching on the horizon.
Official recap from Sports Information Director Mex Carey below:
Georgetown Falls on the Road to No. 18 Kansas, 86-64
Lawrence, Kan. - Georgetown took a six-point lead midway through the first half, but could not maintain it as the Hoyas struggled from the field and Kansas took advantage, opening a 10-point lead at halftime en route to an 86-64 loss at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The loss ends a six-game win streak for the Hoyas, who are now 7-3 overall, while Kansas improves to 8-3 overall.
Senior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Hoyas, while sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central/Oak Hill) added 11 points. Junior forward Jabril Trawick (Philiadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) chipped in eight points
Trailing by 10 points, 44-34, at the break, the Hoyas cut the lead to 46-38 after a conventional three-point play from Trawick and twice had a chance to cut the lead to five or six points, but could not connect. Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins followed with a three-pointer, pushing the lead back to 11 points, 49-38.
After a 7-0 run by Kansas pushed the lead to 56-38, Trawick hit a three-pointer and Smith-Rivera a jumper to make it 57-43, but that was as close as the Hoyas would get as KU went on an 8-4 run to make it 65-47 on a free throw from Naadir Tharpe with 8:33 to play.
The teams battled back and forth through the first eight minutes, with six ties and six lead changes. Georgetown came out hot and had connected on more than 60 percent of its field goals during that span, connecting on 10-of-12 shots from the floor to start. Trailing 15-12 after a three-point play from Joel Embid, the Blue & Gray used a 9-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 21-15, on a Starks three-pointer with 11:57 to play in the half. Senior guard Aaron Bowen (Jacksonville, Fla./QEA [N.C.]) started the run with a pair of layups and Smith-Rivera added a three.
A jumper from Starks maintained the six-point lead, 23-17, with 11:25 to play, but Georgetown went cold from the field, missing 12-straight shots. Smith hit a free throw with 8:27 left that gave GU a 24-23 lead, but it was the last of the game as the Jayhawks used an 11-3 run and opened a 34-27 lead on a Jamari Taylor layup. The Hoyas went 10:32 without a field goal, ending the skid on a pull-up jumper from Smith-Rivera with 52 seconds left in the half, making it 41-32. A jumper from Starks cut the deficit to 10 points, 44-34, at the break.
Junior center Joshua Smith (Kent, Wash./Kentwood/UCLA) finished with five points before fouling out, while senior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks) had four points before fouling out and Bowen added nine points.
Georgetown is back in action next Saturday, Dec. 28, hosting Florida International. Tip-off at Verizon Center is slated for noon. The game will be shown live on Fox Sports 1, with Jon Sadak and former Georgetown standout Ron Thompson calling all of the action. The radio call for Rich Chvotkin can be heard on ESPN 980 AM.