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Game 20 - Marquette

A tale of two halves. After three straight disappointing conference losses, Georgetown entered yesterday's game in desperate need of a victory to keep them in NCAA tournament contention. With very little expected of the young Hoyas, the team jumped out to an early lead with precision passing and sharp shooting. Marquette fought back, adopting a small but quick lineup to drive past the flat-footed Hoyas. Both teams went into the locker room with the score tied at 42 and happy with their first half performances. Offensively for the Hoyas, the half was reminiscent of the Cuse game where quick passing led to open, high percentage shots. And for the first time in three games, the shots were actually falling in. Defensively, it was a much different story. Undefeated Marquette is one the best shooting teams in the Big East and despite Georgetown's best efforts, they could not stop the Golden Eagles from scoring. The high halftime score suggested that Marquette was controlling the pace of the game, but JT3 probably went into the locker room happy that his team was finally playing the motion offense with which he has had so much recent success. At the end of the half, Georgetown made 17 field goals, off of 15 assists and committed 9 turnovers. They limited the much smaller Marquette squad (for much of the first half they played with one player over 6'6'') to 9 rebounds, and only 2 on the offensive glass.

Then came the second half. Georgetown immediately reverted back to the selfish guard play that lost them the three previous conference games. Within two minutes, guards Chris Wright and Jesse Sapp had already thrown up two terrible three-point attempts. They were back-peddling with their arms outstretched and toeing the halfcourt line by the time the horrible shots pitifully missed the rim by a foot. JT3 quickly called a timeout to reset the Hoyas. Out of the timeout, the big men took charge as the next three shots were all layups/dunks scored or assisted by Greg Monroe or DaJuan Summers. The adjustment after the timeout was something Hoya fans were elated to see after its noticeable absence in the last three games. The dreadful and vaunted hope started to peak its head out, as some Hoya fans started to believe that a victory was conceivable, citing the last three seasons when JT3-led teams always and improbably won important games in hostile environments. But alas, the hopes were vanquished and sent to its proper place, deep inside a dark and locked chamber, kept from surfacing until next season.

With 14:31 left in the game, the score was tied at 52. For the next 14 minutes of basketball, Hoya fans shook their heads, chugged their brown-bagged cans of Old English Malt Liquor, and berated themselves for even thinking this team was capable of doing anything right. In those next 14 minutes Georgetown shot a respectable 10-22, but missed 6 layups. The offense managed to score 40 points in the half, marking the first time this year in Big East play that Georgetown has scored 40 or more points in both halves of a game. The game was lost on the other end of the court where the quicker, more talented and more aggressive Golden Eagles drove past every Georgetown player on the perimeter. For those final 14 minutes, Marquette shot 11-22 but went to the free throw line 21 times. Georgetown committed 17 fouls in the half, and 13 in the final 14 minutes of the game. The Hoyas had no answer to the driving guards of Marquette as Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal combined for 31 second half points. Even more embarrassing was the fact that Georgetown was badly out-rebounded, surrendering 9 offensive rebounds and 12 second chance points to the much smaller Marquette squad.

Wasn't expecting too much from the team so was pleasantly surprised by the offensive showing. A lot of people will point to the fact that the reason we have lost the last four games is because of our defense. I do not think this is true at all. The fact of the matter is that we have never been a good defensive team this season. Games against Savannah State and Florida International do not count. In Big East play, we have been fairly consistent in allowing opponents to take open shots and convert easy layups off of offensive rebounds. We do not have the defensive abilities of years past and often resort to fouling driving players, a recipe for disaster for a team with such a weak bench.

Some other items to note:
- 96 points by Marquette are the most points ever scored by an opponent in the JT3 era.
- 27 fouls are the most committed by Georgetown this season. It is also the most since the Pitt game in the final round of the Big East Tournament last year.
- 38 foul shots are the most allowed by Georgetown this season. Also the most since the above mentioned Pitt game.
- Nikita is first off the bench and has had the more bench minutes than anyone else over the past two games. I think it is a good and bad sign. Good sign because JT3 thinks Nikita is a worthwhile addition to the team. Bad sign because it means, as suspected, Vaughn and Sims are really not that good.
- DaJuan, playing injured, must have listened to Holding Out for a Hero by B(^2)onnie Tyler because he accepted the fact that a hero has to "play through any pain."
- Too bad his efforts were not enough to save the sinking ship that is Georgetown basketball
- Sapp had as many fouls and turnovers as points. He should be benched.
- Greg "Media God" Monroe had more turnovers than rebounds. The 6'11'' Monroe had 4 rebounds. 5'11'' Marquette guard Dominic James had 4 rebounds also. The rest of the starting Marquette five, no one taller than 6'8'' all had more rebounds than Monroe.
- Greg Monroe is the definition of a soft player, there I said it.
- Midseason review in next couple of days.

Good talk.