Do we have to do this? I guess we have to do this. Georgetown fell behind early against Xavier early and basically stayed that way in an embarrassing 88-70 home loss. The defeat was Georgetown's seventh at home in the season, sixth in its past seven games overall, and the latest low point in a miserable season. The Hoyas yielded a season high in points, which is saying something, given how mediocre the Georgetown defense has been all season. The Hoyas now are .500 for the season and, given their recent trajectory, stand little chance of even qualifying for the NIT.
For the first 20-plus minutes, this loss was marginally better than some of its predecessors. Georgetown dug itself a big first-half hole but fought right back, tying the game just before the half at 33. The Hoyas showed some fight on defense and pace on offense. Just after the break, they had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead. The crowd--reported at over 10,000, nearly double the tepid attendance for Wednesday's loss to Seton Hall--was getting into it, ready to cheer on a fight in an otherwise disappointing season.
But that possibility disappeared almost instantly. Xavier scored on five straight possessions, blasting off a 13-0 run that quickly put the game out of reach. Musketeer guard Edmond Sumner got into the lane at will, blazing by Georgetown defenders for consecutive lay-ins. Xavier wing man Trevon Bluiett bounced back from first-half foul trouble by hitting two jumpers, one form beyond the arc. And Xavier's ever-shifting defenses left Georgetown one adjustment behind as the Hoyas went scoreless for nearly four minutes to open the second half.
The Hoyas briefly fought back to pull within single digits, but even that couldn't last. Xavier scored and kept scoring in the second half, pouring in 53 points on 77 percent shooting from the field. The Musketeers converted in transition, from three, in the post, and on the offensive glass. Sumner scored a game-high 22 points, and Bluiett and J.P. Macura took their turns knifing through the Georgetown defense. The Musketeer lead eventually swelled past 20, with the Hoyas unable to keep up.
Xavier has a very good offense, the second-best in the conference and top-25 in the nation, and the Musketeers were feeling it Saturday. That said, it takes a particularly strong brand of defensive ineptitude to allow a team to make 71 percent of its two-point shots and take 31 free throws while forcing just 7 turnovers. And yet that's just what Georgetown yielded Saturday. Almost every time they stepped inside the three-point arc, the Musketeers made a basket or earned a trip to the line.
And Georgetown's offense just couldn't keep up. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had a superficially nice line of 18 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals, and LJ Peak managed 12 points, but those numbers were heavily padded when the game was well out of reach. Perhaps the most encouraging offensive sign came from Isaac Copeland, who chipped in 13 points including several smooth, confident-looking jumpers. But beyond that the Hoya attack didn't pack enough punch to match Xavier.
In a week that included a seemingly rock-bottom loss to Seton Hall, a comprehensive catalog of all of the ills of a disastrous season, and a public plea for someone in the program to explain what exactly is going on, an 18-point loss to a top-10 team generates barely more than a shrug. Georgetown didn't lead for the final 32 minutes of the loss to Xavier, but also trailed for the final 36 minutes against Seton Hall and for the entire game against Providence. The only change after today's blowout is that broadcasters should mercifully stop contemplating best-case scenarios that somehow land Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.
For the sanity of the fans and the good of the players, Georgetown doesn't play again until next Saturday, when the Hoyas host Butler. Three games remain to be played in the regular season, plus at least one in the Big East Tournament. Hopefully Georgetown can play for some measure of pride, despite the overall disappointment of this season.