After two straight embarrassing home losses to inferior teams, Georgetown turned in a similarly uninspired performance but still squeaked out a 62-59 at Charlotte Tuesday night. In a departure from recent defensive struggles, Georgetown's offense went flat for much of the game, and awoke just in time to pull out the win.
There's not a ton good to say about beating the 278th-best team in the country by 3 points, anywhere. The Hoyas didn't try much different from the Monmouth or UNC Asheville disasters, apart from a loose full-court defense that didn't pressure enough to be caused a press. To call it even a token press would be to understate the monetary value of tokens. Instead, Georgetown largely trudged through the same basic, half-court man and zone formations and looked no more in sync because of it.
On offense, Georgetown sputtered through possessions without entering the ball into the lane or, in many cases, even penetrating within the three-point arc. For a while, the Hoyas were able to get enough points from deep that it didn't matter. Marcus Derrickson, Tre Campbell, and Reggie Cameron each bombed away from deep, and the outside shooting opened up driving lanes for D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to carve up Charloote's defense inside. Late in the first half, hot outside shooting and DSR's scoring within the arc had the Hoyas up 14.
But then the Georgetown defense started to spring leaks once again. Despite foul trouble, 49er guard Braxton Ogbueze hit five three-pointers, four of which came after the game's first possession, when it became clear that he was going to fire away early and often from deep. In the post, Joseph Uchebo had has way with the Georgetown centers, going to work in the low. By the half, the Hoyas' lead had dwindled to three, and the game stayed within one possession for basically the rest of the game.
Most of the problems were on offense, where the Hoyas shot just 34 percent, including a paltry 10 of 32 inside the three-point arc. Apart from some profitable DSR drives and pull-ups and Isaac Copeland's activity in the lane, the Hoyas couldn't generate really anything near the basket. At this point, the Hoyas appear to lack ball-handlers, penetrators, and reliable post scorers to score consistently inside. Charlotte has allowed opponents to shoot over 51 percent from two-point range this season, but Georgetown couldn't get anything going tonight by drive, by pass, or by cut. LJ Peak frequently penetrated into the lane but then flailed, missing all six of his two-point shots despite generally getting to the cup. Jessie Govan and Bradley Hayes didn't contribute big-man points, managing just 2 points between them on 6 field-goal attempts.
Georgetown's defense also wasn't much better after 3 straight porous performances. Sure, Charlotte couldn't score, but 49er shooters were open left and right. The particular failure to defend Ogbueze, coming off a 7-three-pointer game, was baffling. The Hoyas also were strangely reluctant, after a series of embarrassing performances at home, to roll out any new defensive wrinkles, even though conference play was right around the corner.
Still, the Hoyas had enough to close out a road win. Peak stepped into a three-pointer that put Georgetown ahead for good, a lead that DSR augmented with a clutch and-one that basically sealed the deal.
About the best thing that can be said about the last two weeks of Georgetown basketball is that it's over. Christmas and 8 days will pass before the Hoyas play again. Maybe that time will be an opportunity to work out kinks on both ends of the floor, or just an opportunity for all of us to reflect on things that matter a lot more in life. Til then, Happy Holidays and Hoya Saxa.