Three nights after trailing for 36 minutes en route to losing a game they probably needed to win, your once-mighty Georgetown Hoyas trailed for 36 minutes en route to losing a game they definitely needed to win. The latter game was a 87-76 loss at Butler Tuesday night.
Georgetown's defense was crap, as it has been since the lethargic, season-opening loss against Radford. Butler's point total was the largest given up by Georgetown this season, a high bar, given that the Hoyas have let their opponents score at will for basically the entire season. Bulldog forward Kelan Martin scored a career-high 35 points from everywhere on the court, but he was far from the only Butler player to go off against Georgetown.
Any Bulldog with minimal lateral agility found open shots, open driving lanes, and open offensive rebounds. Butler shot a scorching 52 percent from the field, drew 29 fouls called against the Hoyas yielding 38 free-throw attempts, and gathered an astounding 42 percent of Bulldog misses as second chances.
Mercifully, any doubt was eradicated early, as, in one five-minute stretch midway through the first half, Butler scored 19 points on 8 of 10 possessions, turning a 4-point deficit into a 12-point Butler lead that served as roughly the difference for the rest of the game.
As it has been for most of the season, Georgetown's offense wasn't good enough to make up for catastrophic defense. LJ Peak had a pretty nice game, scoring a team-high 22 points on efficient 8-of-13 shooting. Peak's offensive improvement, particularly shoring up a shaky jumper, has been a story line that has been buried by disappointment on both ends of the floor for the Hoyas. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera poured in 21 points and 7 assists, although those numbers felt largely like empty calories, given that Georgetown trailed by double digits for much of the game.
Otherwise, the Hoyas were pretty bad offensively, most obviously the Hoya forwards, who continued their second half swoon. Isaac Copeland, Reggie Cameron, and Marcus Derrickson combined to shoot just 4 of 17 from the field. While every Hoya bears some degree of responsibility for this season's failures, the offensive shortcomings of the two forward positions have been noticeable and persistent at least since the calendar turned to 2016.
The focus, rightly, will be on the awful defense and, more specifically, awful defensive effort. The Hoyas came out flat-footed and stayed that way, despite cycling through a number of different lineups. Only spark plug Kaleb Johnson played like he actually cared about stopping Butler. Still, Butler is a good offensive team--between Roosevelt Jones, Martin, Kellen Dunham, and Andrew Chrabascz, the Bulldogs usually score. But Georgetown shouldn't give up nearly 1.3 points per possession under any circumstances, and yet that's what happened Tuesday night.
The ship of Georgetown's NCAA Tournament hopes might have sailed when the Hoyas lost at Connecticut, and probably was well at sea by the time of Saturday night's home loss to Providence. That being the case, tonight was OH MY GOD I CAN'T THINK OF ANY MORE SAILING METAPHORS AND THIS SEASON SUCKS.
Having given up on this recap, I'll leave you with two recommendations: watch "The Man in the High Castle," which was dope, and spend more time pondering the following quote from the Bill Murray Joint "Groundhog Day" than you do the rest of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball season.
When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.