As a political junkie, I couldn't help think of Jeb Bush when I saw the Hoyas slog their way through a 72-64 loss to Seton Hall. Both the Hoyas and Jeb faced high expectations entering their respective seasons, only to massively disappoint everybody while showing a lack of energy and an apparent unwillingness to change. Both struggle to find their ways as they get trounced by just about everybody else. Jeb can console himself with the fact that he still leads Ben Carson, and we can console ourselves by saying that we're still better than St. John's.
The Hoyas just could not contain The Hall, allowing them to penetrate into the lane and draw 24 personal fouls on the night. It did not help that the Pirates were feeling it from behind the arc, shooting 50% from downtown while nailing seven three-pointers. Guard Isaiah Whitehead was particularly hot, draining four threes to go with his 22-point, 6-assist night. Khadeen Carrington made all ten of his free throws to total 18 points on the evening. It seems like this combination of foul shots and three-pointers burns Georgetown every game. Wednesday night was no different.
And yet again, Georgetown showed little life offensively. The team turned the ball over on shot clock violations at least twice and ended many of their possessions with out the ball finding its way to the paint even once. The Hoyas even took 27 three-point attempts as their inside game was virtually nonexistent, and only made six of them. The one bright spot came from center Jessie Govan, who put the team on his back by scoring 27 points on 10-13 shooting. Govan connected on four of his five three-point attempts and even added seven rebounds, even though he went down late in the first half after taking a nasty hit and opening up a gash on his forehead. If there were Casual Awards going out for tonight's game, Jessie probably would have won the "Heart of a Champion" award.
In addition, despite a terrible shooting night in which he went just 6-19 from the field and a woeful 2-10 from three, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera still found a way to rack up 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Another shoutout goes to LJ Peak, who scored 10 points off the bench and consistently demonstrated hustle. Toward the end of the first half, there was a three possession stretch in which Peak made a shot on which he was fouled, slammed home a fast-break jam (until he was whistled for an iffy offensive foul), and then, after a Marcus Derrickson steal, ended the next possession with a layup.
Other takeaways include the fact that Seton Hall still won by eight even while going over 14 minutes without making a field goal. Yet again, this Hoyas team fell victim to giving up shooting fouls, allowing Seton Hall to capitalize by making 25 of their 30 free throw attempts. I'm running low on words to describe the on-court product this season. It's repetitive, messy, and disappointing.
The one redeeming factor for this game is that not too many people chose to come out to Verizon Center and suffer through it. Now, I wholeheartedly endorse coming to games win or lose, because the student fan experience is quite fun, but if you want to come see your team win, I kind of understand being hesitant to leave your house or your dorm room. There's no way you can fault Hoya Blue or the Marketing Department for not being able to sell going to games. It's tough for fans to get enthusiastic about a losing team.
That being said, sitting in the student section was fun even if it was a little quiet because there wasn't too much to cheer about. Shortly after arriving, I found that Hoya Blue had decided to make fun of Seton Hall's "Rock Lobster" student fans by giving out lobster bibs to the first couple rows of the student section. I happened to hold a sign that said "Lobsters don't get Valentines" for the game.
There were a few moments where the crowd got riled up. After LJ Peak's slam was ruled an offensive foul, the crowd delivered a "BS" chant. After one particularly egregious Seton Hall flop late in the first half, I shouted that his attempt to draw a foul was "faker than Hillary Clinton's personality. The crowd applauded Tre Campbell's hustle when he leapt to deflect a cross-court pass attempt by Seton Hall. Channeling my inner Richard Sherman, I shouted that Tre was "the best corner in the game!" Crabtree would have no hope against Tre, that's for sure.
And in what's become a recurring issue, the Jetties free sandwich for missed free throws promotion brought one of the biggest ovations of the night. I'll admit I cheered, but primarily because there were some disrespectful Seton Hall fans who were trying to chant "Let's Go Hall" and I wanted to try to drown them out. Plus, I kept making fun of Isaiah Whitehead, who ultimately missed the two free throws, for depriving me of sandwiches. What else can you expect from fans? If you're gonna have to ride the "Existential Misery Tour" that each game has become, can't you at least get a damn sandwich out of it? Still, the fact that we have to resort to settling for sandwiches is just disappointing.
And finally, I assume at least a couple of fans will be piping up to suggest firing coach John Thompson III as this season continues to drag to its conclusion. The only thing I will add to the discussion right now is a framework for considering it. In my class on Statecraft and Negotiation that I took last semester, taught by a former foreign policy advisor to President Obama, he noted that conducting good foreign policy requires considering the effects of your actions. He critiqued the President in our class, noting that the President would tend to ask an advisor "what happens if we do this?" when they proposed an action. My professor noted, however, that a good leader also has to ask, "what happens if we don't do this?" So if you're planning on weighing whether JT3 should stay or go, just try to figure out what happens if you do it, and what happens if you don't.
And now I will share with you my consolation prize of the night, a picture of me in both a Casual headband and a lobster bib joining with Jack the Bulldog to dab in unison.
Let's Go Hoyas! Try to beat Xavier (or at least tank for a high draft pick or something!) Please clap.