Two weeks ago, Georgetown and Providence faced off in D.C., and I wrote of the Hoyas' 73-69 loss, "Georgetown played just well enough to lose closely Saturday." The same was true of these teams' rematch today, although that high-level view misses the particular drama in round 2. The Hoyas came out of the gate as lethargically and incompetently as can be imagined, falling behind by 26 before half. They then mounted a fantastic second-half comeback, playing with defensive intensity that's been lacking throughout the season. Jessie Govan and Trey Mourning both saw more minutes with Bradley Hayes out indefinitely thanks to a broken hand. The younger Hoya big men brought offensive versatility and defensive mobility that the senior lacks, and, for the second half anyway, that worked. Govan and Mourning joined three other Hoyas in double figures, as a balanced Georgetown attack looked downright fearsome in a 43-point second half. With 10 seconds to play, Georgetown had pulled within 3 and had a chance to tie as Isaac Copeland headed to the line to shoot just that many free-throws. But the first attempt missed, the Friars converted two on the other end, and a desperation D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera three was partially blocked to end the game.
Georgetown needed this game to preserve even the slimmest of NCAA Tournament hopes, and the Hoyas' loss turns the focus to whether they can even qualify for the NIT. With effort like they gave in the first half, Georgetown will be sitting out the postseason entirely. But the second half showed the promise that might be in store for the remaining games: a young roster, particularly without Hayes, testing out different lineups and defensive options, in search of growth down the line.