This is my seventh year of writing recaps of Georgetown basketball games, and my capacity for outrage, or rage of any sort, has eroded. It eroded particularly quickly Tuesday, midway through the second half, when I threw my cell phone across the room as Georgetown was losing by double digits to upstart Monmouth. Wait a minute, that doesn't make sense.
Anyway, the visiting Hawks beat the Hoyas soundly and comprehensively, 83-68, playing with energy and a well-executed game plan while Georgetown lacked either.
Anyone who actually watched this game probably wants few of my thoughts on the matter, and anyone who didn't watch the game will be healthier by just going for a walk, spending time with loved ones while not watching the Hoyas, learning a foreign language, or drinking paint thinner. Regardless, I've agreed to write this game recap, and here goes nothing.
This game was terrible. Monmouth handled Georgetown from the outset. The Hoyas led at 2-0, at 4-2, and, well, that's it.
And while Monmouth is a respectable team with a solid resume, this wasn't an aberration. The Hawk guards got into the lane at will. They hit outside shots and free throws. Their entire lineup hassled Georgetown's offense all game long, collapsing on Hoya post-ups and rushing out on the perimeter shooters. Monmouth is a solid, veteran, well-coached team. Its bench has made headlines, but there wouldn't be any headlines to make if it wasn't for a very good team on the floor. The Hoyas looked scared early, and found their energy too late for it to matter.
We could fuss over the details. Georgetown tried to match Monmouth's pace but instead looked hurried on offense, jacking up 29 three-pointers but making just 7. Things didn't get any better inside the arc, where the Hoyas shot just 40 percent and regularly came up empty at the free-throw line. Despite a size advantage, the Hoyas actually got outworked on the glass by the more energetic Hawks.
Georgetown looked just as lost on defense, where Monmouth ball-handlers got into the gaps, found open perimeter shooters, drew fouls, and knocked down free throws. The Hoyas were at best a step slow defensively, failing to contain driving and slashing Hawk guards and failing to force isolation jumpers. Too late, they turned to a press that was promising but couldn't make up the ground that Georgetown had already lost.
Individual Georgetown players had bad games, but the list of Hoyas who played well is far shorter. Freshman center Jessie Govan scored a career-high 14 points, beasting down low even when things looked lost. Forward Isaac Copeland poured in 16 points, overcoming shaky outside shooting thanks to activity in the lane.
But focusing on individual achievement, or lack thereof, seems pretty pointless when Georgetown just got pounded. The Hoyas trailed by 12 at the half and closed within single digits just once after the break. Despite losing to a similar pack-line defense employed by Xavier three times convincingly last year, Georgetown looked ill-prepared for Monmouth Tuesday night. Despite the Hawks' well-publicized upsets of UCLA, Notre Dame, and USC already in this young season, the Hoyas looked completely unready for the speed or energy of their opponent. Instead, Georgetown became just the latest pathetic bystander to another round of Monmouth bench celebrations.
After questionable finishes in three previous wins, Georgetown has raised as many questions through 10 games as it has answered. Can the Hoyas defend even moderately well? Can they handle the ball well enough to score? Does Georgetown have a second option after D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera? Is DSR a reliable first option? What is all this depth worth if we need to play the same combination of bigs, forwards, and guards against every opponent?
Larger questions loom as well. How many years does Georgetown need to be outworked, out-hustled, and out-played on stages big and small by opponents with less talent but a better game plan and more energy before John Thompson III actually acknowledges that his teams often come out flat-footed and poorly prepared? As the last, departing resident of JT3 Island, is it okay if I take this lifeboat with me?
There are a two remaining games in pre-conference play to get things right. The clock is ticking, and the last few weeks suggest that the time isn't being spent wisely.