Georgetown was outworked, outplayed, and outcoached Thursday night in an embarrassing 82-67 loss at Seton Hall. The one-sided loss completes the Pirates' season sweep of the Hoyas, ends a disastrous two-game road trip for Georgetown, and puts to rest any notion that the Hoyas will be dancing in March.
The Hoyas never led in this game. A pair of Fuquan Edwin jumpers, the first four of a game-high 21 points, put Seton Hall up early and the Pirates never really looked back. The Pirate guards penetrated into the paint at will, and Seton Hall's bigs slid into one vacant space after another around the rim. Georgetown failed to contest Seton Hall's perimeter shooters, failed to get back on defense, and failed to communicate effectively on switches. The result was a dominating performance in the paint by the Pirates, but also plenty of open Seton Hall looks from deep. The Pirates got whatever they wanted, shooting 47 percent from 3, 59 percent inside the arc, and 74 percent on 27 free throws.
On defense, Seton Hall virtually ignored any Hoya big who strayed more than four feet from the basket, instead using the extra defender the clog the lane. This strategy took to new extremes defensive looks that the Hoyas have seen since Josh Smith's exile, where one opposing defender after another shades away from Hoya bigs and toward the more threatening Hoya guards. Mikael Hopkins proved willing and somewhat able to take the opportunities given to him, but the remaining Hoya bigs had little idea what to do with the space. The Pirates' defensive strategy to dare the Hoya posts to do something, and Big Man U, thus dared, could not respond.
There were glimpses of hope. Jabril Trawick led a brief flurry to start the second half that narrowed the gap to just three points. But the opportunity soon vanished as one Hoya after another failed to get back in transition defense and opted for a quick, overly optimistic jumper rather than the hard work of getting to the rim. Whether fatigue or simply listlessness, the Hoyas were routed as Seton Hall ran and shot its way to a lead that eventually approached 20 points.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas with 20 points, again firing away from deep and steadily working his way into the mid-range. Trawick chipped in 11, once again attacking the basket while contributing a timely three-pointer. And Markel Starks scored 13 points, his ninth straight double-digit performance but his third straight below 15. Fair or not, that's not close to enough on a team so bereft of scoring options.
This loss virtually forecloses any remaining tournament hopes Georgetown had. Seton Hall is not a good team and yet has beaten Georgetown twice. The Hoyas are two games below .500 in conference play and face a brutal closing stretch that offers scant hope for resurrection. Certainly, the porous defense Georgetown has played the last two games should dispel any delusion that the Hoyas can run the table or come close.
But there's little time to dwell on this dispiriting loss. Georgetown returns home for a Saturday morning match-up against Xavier, which still harbors its tournament dreams and beat the Hoyas going away once already.