Has anyone ever sincerely uttered the words, "What a lovely night in Newark!" Likely not, and tonight at The Rock was not going to be the exception. The shooting was abysmal, the defense was inconsistent, the final result was painfully familiar: your Georgetown Hoyas lost to the Seton Hall Pirates this evening, falling to 6-5 in Big East play.
After getting intentionally bopped on the head by Riyan Williams (a la Trawick) during pregame warmups, L.J. Peak got off to a hot shooting start, tallying three 3-pointers in the first half. He and Angel Delgado (19 points, 13 rebounds) were the only players on either team regularly finding the bottom of the net, as the Hoyas and Pirates entered the break shooting collectively less than 30% from the field. With the parade of fouls and turnovers, Georgetown was lucky to be looking at merely a 1-point deficit.
Shall we play a game of Hoya-Kryptonite Bingo? Your bonus square tonight will be "mid-major guard". Transfer Derrick Gordon may not have had the most points out of the Pirates' roster, but he was by far the most impactful presence. In addition to 13 points, he was making D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's life hell on both ends of the court, bouncing and yapping away throughout the majority of the contest. Not sure how visible it would have been during the broadcast, but DSR deserves credit for consistently keeping the team communicating and gesturing to each other in an attempt to find a functional offensive setup during the rough-shooting first half.
Once again, fouls stand out as a major factor in deciding the outcome. The offensive and player control fouls called were avoidable and the Hoyas committed too many of then. However, this refereeing crew also had a hair-trigger. The double technical on Marcus Derrickson and Khadeen Carrington might have made sense in a chippier game, but that was not an issue this evening. Bradley Hayes may have deserved foul #5, but two of his others were questionable. A whistle-happy officiating setup could theoretically have worked in Georgetown's favor, as early in the season Seton Hall had difficulty playing defense without fouling. Unfortunately, the Hoya guards were unable to exploit this weakness, though Isaac Copeland did draw a couple off Desi Rodriguez during the second half. Being forced to constantly rotate the front-court lineup also meant that the Hoyas left Delgado in an ideal, thinly-defended position to grab rebounds and convert second chances. He took full advantage.
In addition to the flotilla of fouls, there were turnovers. Nearly twice as many turnovers as were committed by our opponents. Avoidable turnovers on sloppy passes trying to send the ball inside. Careless turnovers as the guards flailed towards the basket. Infuriating turnovers on set plays out of a timeout. As is their wont this season, the Hoyas found a way to claw back into contention. Two three-pointers and three made foul shots from Ike, followed by a jumper from Hayes, cut the difference to two points with 5 minutes remaining. What happened next? Turnovers on consecutive possessions that allowed the Pirates to extend their lead for good.
There were bright spots in this game. Kaleb Johnson continues to show solid defensive instincts that will serve him well next season. Jessie Govan appears to have been studying Rutherford's new-found hook shot intently, as he put the ball on the floor and popped home a couple of this own this evening before retreating to the bench with foul trouble. And Isaac Copeland...ladies and gentlemen, he has located the inside of the cylinder (18 points, 9 rebounds).
The sugarcoating can only go so far. Unless the Hoyas can somehow limit themselves to only 2-3 losses in the remainder of conference play, their NCAA fate will be determined by the Big East Tournament in March. There's a quick turnaround for the team, as Georgetown is back on the court 7pm Monday evening at the Verizon Center to take on the St. John's Red Storm.
It is now officially Super Bowl Sunday.
Go eat wings and think about things other than basketball. Hoya Saxa.