A long week after a narrow victory over Rutgers, the Georgetown Hoyas suffered their worst loss of the season to a Pittsburgh team who entered the game 1-7 in league play... all while wearing pink shoes for breast cancer awareness. The pink shoes continued a familiar trend of alternative footwear being correlated with poor performances-- as did the Hoyas loss immediately upon reaching the top ten, staple of the last several years.
The Hoyas once again came out dreadful on offense in the first half, needing a late second half run to score a meager 22 points. The only sign of life was from Otto Porter, who netted 9 points in the half despite a number of mid-range jumpers rimming out. The difference, however, between other poor shooting games this season was that the defense would equally hapless: the Georgetown zone was getting torched as Pitt racked up uncontested lay-ups and dunks for Talib Zanna and Nasir Robinson as the deficit reached as much as 17.
More loss after The Jump:
Despite that, this was not like the West Virginia game that saw the Hoyas race back from a deficit while running out of time -- it looked like Georgetown was going to make it a game immediately in the second half after being 11 at the break. Henry Sims awoke from a scoreless first half and dropped 6 points in the first four minutes, helping bring Georgetown back within 5. But the Hoyas never were able to get closer than that in the next sixteen minutes.
The switch to man-to-man improved the defense in the second half -- at least it cut down the uncontested lay-ins, but the it still seemed to give at the worse spots and the offense could never capitalize on an opportunity. For instance, after Henry came out for a great block on Ashton Gibbs and then Gibbs drew a flagrant foul as he prevented an easy Clark fast break. Down 8 with the ball back, a heap of momentum, and 12 minutes left to go, the Hoyas could never move it within six before seeing the lead finally balloon out of reach.
There were only a few true bright spots to this game: Otto Porter, Henry Sims (second half only) and the closing minute of the game. Henry dominated for a stretch that was reminiscent of Maui -- his moves were more patient and the result was easy jumpers and a number of close finishes. The ball almost always went into him and Pittsburgh D had to be aware of where he was at all times. On the perimeter, Otto rediscovered his three point shot and showed a willingness to punish smaller defenders with a burst of assertiveness that seemed to be an extension of his success in the closing minutes at Rutgers. He finished with 14 points, 6 boards, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and no turnovers. At times, this Georgetown team is going to need Otto to create for himself and he's starting to act like he understands that. Can he really be kept out of the starting line-up much longer? Yes, Pitt did help expose his biggest weakness, on ball defense, with undersized, but strong power forwards. But compared to the dreadful defensive game from Nate Lubick (who seemed to be on the assisting end for a number of Pitt layups) that's a minor issue.
Finally, Georgetown played to the final second of the game. This may sound like a weak silver lining with the only two notable results being Hollis padding his stats (he scored 9 of 11 points in the last minute) and Georgetown breaking the 131 over/under in the final seconds. However, you have to admire the heart on this team. Despite being down 14, Otto and Hollis combined to cause a jump ball with 8 seconds left. This is a team that has never been blown out of a game this season -- and the defensive intensity in the final seconds made a clear impression that they don't plan for it to happen again.
There's no time to sulk with the biggest home game of the year on Wednesday as UConn comes to town. This loss was so frustrating because it seemed like the Hoyas were continually poised for a second half run, but could never capitalize. That said, this Pitt team is miles better than it's record -- with Tray Woodall running the point this is a different team, as his 10 assists while running the show easily accounted for the margin of victory.
UConn is NeXt.