Oof. That was rough.
This game looked bad from the get-go, as Monmouth made five of their first seven shots and led most of the game. The Hawks succeeded in spreading out the offense, as five players reached double figures, including guard Je'lon Hornbeak, who scored 18 points on 15-16 free throw shooting. Fellow guard Justin Robinson scored 12 points and dashed past Georgetown's defenders, with Georgetown coach John Thompson III calling Robinson "the best guard we've played this year." (via Voice Sports) The undersized Hawks out-rebounded the Hoyas, and also out-shot them from the field, from behind the three-point line, and at the free throw line. Monmouth put out a lineup with four guards, all of whom were able to penetrate the lane and score at will from both inside and outside. Monmouth definitely had the shooting touch and proved why they beat UCLA, Notre Dame, and USC earlier this season.
Meanwhile, your Georgetown Hoyas suffered from the same finals malaise that is currently plaguing campus, as they shot just 32 percent from the field and 63 percent from the free throw line. The Hoyas put up a particularly gruesome performance, consistently struggling to make both ends of their free throws and stagnating against Monmouth's pack-line and zone defense. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the way with 18 points, but shot just 6-18 from the field, including 2-10 from behind the arc. Isaac Copeland chipped in 16 points as well, but only hit one of his five three pointers. Bradley Hayes led all Hoyas with 11 rebounds, but scored one point while missing all four of his field goal attempts. His counterpart at center, Jessie Govan, played just 17 minutes but scored 14 points thanks to a 4-6 shooting performance, a three-pointer, and a perfect 5-5 performance from the charity stripe.
There's not much to deconstruct about this game right now. There will be time to review the film of this game, but something just seemed off. Even when the Hoyas had open shots, they just did not fall very often. Had the Hoyas shot better than 24 percent from three and made a few more of their 12 missed free throws, they may have had a shot. It's difficult to win against a team who makes 31 of their 37 free throws. It may have been made worse as the Hoyas played slightly more shorthanded than usual, as Paul White did not make an appearance. It may be worth keeping an eye on if he plays Saturday as he still may be battling the hip injury that kept him out earlier this season.
The crowd came excited to tear apart Monmouth and their ridiculous bench, but it was difficult to do so as the Hawks built a steady lead. They were kind of fun to watch at first, but now that it came against us, it just felt like a dagger in the heart of the fans. It did not help much that the student section next to the band was closed, so no students had a shot at delivering an earful at close range. Despite a small turnout, the fans who made it were dedicated as always and made fun of Justin Robinson's height and reserve forward Collin Stewart's thin legs, with some fans chanting about him "skipping leg day." When the game was a bit closer, a couple of fans and I made our own "student section mob," flapping our wings like birds and flexing in the moments when Georgetown actually scored.
But the loss took its toll. The crowd quieted as the Hoyas fell far behind and time ticked away, but most fans did not leave, to their credit. Personally, I continued to battle a cold that has caused a strong cough, and it meant that my voice faded quite quickly. The crowd made up for my relatively quiet night, but it definitely drained me. By the last few minutes, I conceded that things were not looking good and decided to cover my eyes with my scarf. With two minutes left, I knew that I didn't need to see the rest of the game to know what was coming.
Still, it's always worth it to hang out until the end. Fans helped distract Monmouth reserve Pierre Sarr during a pair of late-game free throws, pressuring him into misses and winning Jetties sandwiches for the crowd. At least Hoyas fans did not leave empty-handed. Staying after the game, also has its perks, as you never know who you may end up meeting. In my case, it ended up being Hoya greats Dikembe Mutombo and Reggie Williams, who both attended tonight's game.
It's still a long season with a lot of time for the Hoyas to bounce back. But the schedule will not get any easier, with four Big East teams in the AP Top 25. While this may instill fear in Hoyas fans, it's also a big opportunity for the Hoyas to prove themselves against top-tier competition. Hopefully for Georgetown, Saturday's game will bring more success.