"I want my mommy."
I turned to a fellow Hoyas fan after Rashun Davis made his game-winning three for Radford Saturday afternoon and uttered those words. I was shocked, horrified even. That was likely the ugliest, most heartbreaking game of basketball I have ever seen. I legitimately cannot process what just happened, but it's my job to try.
Prepare yourself because no one is safe from blame after this one. This was an absolute clinic in terrible basketball from your Georgetown Hoyas today. The Hoyas seemed to leave their defense behind at McDonough today. The Radford Highlanders slashed, dashed, and tore through the Hoyas, who were standing around evidently taking a group nap to nab 73 shot attempts (20 more than the Hoyas) and way too many second chance points to beat the Hoyas. Seriously, every possession it seemed like the Hoyas should have had a rebound. But nope, Radford grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and bruised through our Georgetown men.
While we're at it, how about defending their two players who can score? Rashun Davis went 12-19 with three three-pointers including the dagger at the end. Cameron Jones scored 20 points while going 4-6 from downtown. On every one of Radford's ten three-pointers, it seemed like some Hoya was desperately racing to make a futile attempt at stopping it from going in. Bad rotations and miscommunication did the Hoyas in defensively.
Meanwhile, let's turn our attention to what was, frankly, an offensive effort on offense. (See what I did there? It's a terrible joke, just like this game!) Sure we shot 47% from the field, but we were too busy coughing it up 17 times to get more than 53 shots. In the first half, big men Bradley Hayes and Jessie Govan kept us in contention by bruising their way to a combined 18 points. Meanwhile, stars D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Isaac Copeland combined for four points in the first 20 minutes, and all four of those came from Copeland. Marcus Derrickson, the freshman advertised as a three-point threat, badly missed three attempts from outside early on his way to an 0-4 performance from behind the arc.
The Hoyas looked like they would lose this one in 40 minutes, but Isaac Copeland nailed a three and LJ Peak made a quick steal and layup to tie the game. A rare instance of good defense helped the Hoyas force a miss from YaYa Anderson to push the game to OT.
In OT, understanding the pressure of the situation, DSR woke up and, along with Hayes, combined for all of the Hoyas' points in the first overtime period. The Hoyas had a shot to win with an open Isaac Copeland in the corner, but in a symbolic moment, Copeland, standing in the same spot where he made the three to beat Butler, missed. In the second OT, Hayes was able to dominate the low post, but missed two costly free throws that could have shifted the momentum and seal the deal. But there could only be one winning team, and the Highlanders made it their day. Cameron Jones made a three-ball with 1:24 to go and as you probably know, Rashun Davis hit the game-winning tray with 1.5 seconds remaining.
All right, now onto the coaching staff. I have no idea what coach John Thompson III was doing in the timeout huddles. Was he asking the Hoyas to debate about whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich? Or maybe telling them his thoughts on the Pierce Brosnan James Bond movies? If he talked to them about holding onto the ball or tightening up on defense, there definitely was some sort of miscommunication. Sure, let a team with four guys 6'6" or taller slash into the lane against a team with only four guys 6'6" or shorter. How about a team where everybody except Marcus Derrickson and Kaleb Johnson (who only played eight minutes) turn the ball over. How about a team whose only hope is Bradley Hayes getting 19 points and 12 rebounds only because he's taller than everyone else on the other team? As a relative newcomer to Georgetown basketball, I get the feeling this must be what the Esherick era felt like.
I've been saving my worst for last. The crowd. Ok, so there's an old story about the Harlem Globetrotters going to northern Alaska to play in front of a crowd of Inuit. The Globetrotters were confused as to why the crowd sat silently, neither applauding the team for their talent nor laughing at their wacky antics. After the game, they were told that it is a sign of respect in their culture. This is not supposed to be the culture at Georgetown basketball games, however.
Sure, I'll give the crowd credit. When they needed to cheer on their Hoyas (which was during the Hoyas' run early in the second half and when things got desperate late in regulation and each OT), they did, as you should be able to see behind me in the Vine below.
They also broke out the "roller coaster" effect for some key free throws, including the two on which they won themselves free Jetties (who has now replaced Chick-Fil-A as the late-game foul shot sponsor) when Rashun Davis missed two consecutive free throws. But for most of the game, the crowd acted as if they were watching golf.
Much like in the Providence collapse last February, I have been hampered by a bad cough. By the end of regulation, I was gargling water since my throat was shot. I had screamed myself voiceless, but on most possessions, it seemed like it was just me. Not even the Heckler's Guide could help, because my voice would give out halfway through. I'd look behind the spot up front and often see no one in what was a surprisingly large crowd cheering. It paralleled the joke that Father Hentz likes to make sometimes when he swings by my job at the Theology Department office. He jokes that in particularly boring classes, the rows of bored students resemble Easter Island heads. Looking back at the silent, motionless, stone-faced crowd, I couldn't help but think about that.
There was, fortunately, a group of self-proclaimed "rowdy" students who came to help. They cheered and danced with me, as did some of the Hoya Blue faithful. But behind the first few rows and away from the aisles, nothing. I was becoming outraged by the end. Don't these people know that they can generate a home-field advantage? It could have made the difference today!
But at the end, there was nothing but shock. I spent five minutes after the final whistle sitting there looking like some combination of Edvard Munch's "The Scream," the "Home Alone" poster, and both of those reaction memes of Captain Picard. When filing for the exits, I took the usual white "Hoya Saxa" towel I sling over my shoulder à la John Thompson Jr. and dumped it in the trash in frustration. Anyway, Radford was who we thought they were, and we let 'em off the hook. I just hope we can win a game.
If it gets to be too much, just take a step back. The last couple of days have reminded us all just how precious life is. Go watch Netflix. Hug your loved ones. Or, just do what I did, and follow the route of Radford forward Kion Brown and eat by yourself like a scrub. Everything will be all right. I promise.