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Game 21 - Rutgers

You can't spell UGLY without GU. That adage normally applies to Georgetown cheerleaders but it is also applicable to last night's contest against Rutgers. But that is exactly the type of game Georgetown needed to snap out of five-game losing streak. By no means was this game pretty, and against any other team with the possible exception of DePaul, the Hoyas should have lost. This was the last leg of a brutal 12-day stretch where Georgetown played 5 games, 3 of which were on the road. And they ended with a horrific 1-4 record. Georgetown now has an 11-day stretch with only 2 games, which hopefully gives the team enough time to work on fundamentals. And despite the win, the team needs a lot of practice.

The turning point of the game was a Jason Clark three 11 minutes into the game. At the time, the score was tied at 14 and Georgetown was 6-15 from the field and 1-6 from beyond the arc. Four different players had missed three point attempts and the team missed 3 layups. After the Clark three, Georgetown went on a 10-4 run to end the half and continued the hot streak out of the locker room scoring 16 out of the first 21 points in the second half to capture a game high 20-point lead. Georgetown still managed to make the few in attendance groan with inexcusable mishaps and poor shot selection that allowed Rutgers to get within 9 points. But that was as close as it would get as time ran out and Georgetown ended up all smiles in the locker room. If this was a 45 minute game, as opposed to the usual 40 minutes, Georgetown would have lost. But they played well enough for just enough time to hold onto the lead.

Lowest shooting percentage (39%) and most turnovers (21) by a Big East opponent this season. Jesse Sapp thinks it was because of the swarming Georgetown defense:
That was just us paying attention to detail. We are a team that can get 21 turnovers if we play defense the way we're capable of.
But in reality it was because of a poor Rutgers offense. We did play very well in the zone in the second half, causing two straight Rutgers turnovers, but when the Scarlet Knights started hitting their threes, we were forced to man up. The defense is getting better, and I think it has to do with what Thompson said in his post game comments:
With young teams, they tend to get too emotional. When you're missing shots it affects your life and that's natural that happens. Understanding that first half that we were missing shots but we still executed in every other aspect of the game and that's something we haven't been good at.
We were much better at keeping the offensive woes from affecting the defensive intensity in this game. Overall, it was a good effort against a bad team. But we will need a great effort to knock off some of the ranked opponents we have coming up.

Other random observations:
- I have always hated people that tell me when to cheer and what to cheer and to encourage my team unconditionally (i.e. people that wear blue wigs) and I would never want to turn into one of those idiots - but -
- Student turnout at this game was embarrassing. I realize this is the longest losing streak that anyone on campus has witnessed as a student but it is still pathetic to host a night game against a Big East opponent and have the student section filled less than halfway.
- Students complain about having to sit in the 400 sections for big games but why would Verizon ever expand the student section if no one shows up to games like last night.
- Nearly 2,000 more people were in attendance for a game against Mount Saint Mary's than last night against Rutgers.
- Nikita Mescheriakov has now fouled out of the last two games. Maybe he is the thug John Thompson Jr. said this team needed?
- Welcome back Jesse Sapp, first time in double digits since December 8th, 14 games ago.
- Georgetown missed 10 layups, but only 3 in the second half.
- Free throws reared its ugly head again, as Georgetown was 8-15 from the line, their worst percentage this season in Big East play.
- Greg Monroe had his worst conference game from the free throw line, shooting 40%.
- Here's a fun fact: Monroe shoots 73% from the line in Georgetown's wins and 60% from the line in Georgetown's losses. Before the win against Rutgers he shot 90% from the line in wins.
- The team as a whole however, shoots 70% in both wins and losses.
- After a stellar performance against Marquette, Chris Wright took over the role of GTS - Guard That Sucks, from Jesse Sapp with a 2-9 shooting effort.
- He needs to learn that trick shots, although very impressive in games of Horse, are not very effective in actual games.
- Bench play was again strong, led by great efforts from Nikita Mescheriakov, Jason Clark and Henry Sims.
- Never would have thought that at this point in the season that Georgetown would have more conference games where their bench outscored the opposing bench than the other way around.
- Julian Vaughn averaged a remarkable foul per minute of playing time.
- Least amount of points scored in a win this season.
- Rutgers scored 29 points in the second half, 17 of them were from Mike Rosario.

Cincinnati on Saturday. The team hasn't changed since I last previewed them. We could have won against them on the road if we didn't fade out in the final five minutes. Here's hoping that the extra rest gives us more energy come crunch time.

Good talk.