Georgetown lost another ugly one Monday, losing 80-72 to Marquette in overtime. Continuing a recent trend of late-game collapses, the Hoyas gave away a game that should have been in hand, squandering near heroic efforts from Markel Starks (28 points) and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (24 points, 6 rebounds). Georgetown's third straight loss appears to be another early nail in the coffin for the Hoyas' NCAA Tournament hopes.
This game announced its ugliness from the outset. Georgetown failed to score for the first three minutes, and then, like Marquette, struggled to keep up with the ticking clock, as the game was tied at 9 with as many minutes elapsed. For all his annoying hyperactivity, Marquette's Buzz Williams is a good coach, and accordingly shaded an extra Golden Eagle defender toward Starks or Smith-Rivera, hedging on screens and clogging the lane. The extra blue jersey made driving lanes and open perimeter looks hard to come by, and Georgetown's scoring lagged accordingly.
The Hoyas also struggled to score because JT3 gave his two scorers more rest early in the game. Presumably, this was an effort to head off another late-game fade like Georgetown suffered in its past several games, most recently when it turned double-digit leads over Xavier and Seton Hall to equally large deficits.
The change worked, to a degree. Both Starks and DSR were effective in the second half, creating offense when no other points were to be found. That was enough in this offensively challenged game to keep the Hoyas ahead for much of the second half. But even a rested pair of guards could only compensate so much for the offensive ineptitude of their teammates. For much of crunch time, Georgetown's lineup included Mikael Hopkins, whose energy on defense (10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals) didn't translate to point on offense, Moses Ayegba, who can only score at the rim, and John Caprio, who failed to even do that. For the game, Starks and Smith-Rivera each scored more than the rest of the lineup combined.
The continued reliance on Caprio was particularly odd, particularly given the few minutes given to the error-prone but still game Aaron Bowen. Caprio is a good story, but, to put it kindly, has his limits as a player. He could not finish near the basket against Marquette despite several opportunities. Those failures could be excused if he simply played error-free basketball, but he could not manage even that in the final minute.
With 28 seconds remaining, Georgetown clung to the ball, and the lead, forcing Marquette to foul Reggie Cameron. The freshman bricked the front end of a one-and-one, and Caprio inexcusably fouled Davante Gardner roughly 90 feet from the basket, sending Gardner to the line on the other end and gifting Marquette two points it sorely needed. The ensuing free-throw battle yielded one more Georgetown miss, which allowed Marquette to take the ball back down just three. Todd Mayo buried an open three-pointer with six seconds remaining to tie the score and force overtime. Marquette scored the first seven points of the extra session and never looked back.
In the midst of a losing streak, it's difficult to say whether a particular loss forecloses post-season odds. Still, if the Seton Hall debacle didn't shut Georgetown out of the tournament, this loss almost surely did. With Georgetown now facing a gauntlet of a trip to Creighton, which buried top-5-ranked Villanova in a pile of threes Monday night, a home game against 'Nova, and a trip to New York to play #3 Michigan State, it's hard to fathom how the Hoyas will win a game soon, let alone piece together the extended winning streak that would be necessary to support an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.