Georgetown fell behind early and stayed that way en route to an 84-71 loss at #3 Villanova Saturday. The defeat was the Hoyas' sixth straight, the longest such streak for Georgetown in John Thompson III's 12-year tenure. Saturday's loss resembled many of its predecessors, as Georgetown trailed Villanova for the entire game, including by double digits for the final 35 minutes.
The Hoyas were inept on both ends of the floor, although somewhat more so on defense, as Georgetown gave up 80-plus points for the fourth straight game, including 46 in the first half alone. Slow rotations, flat closeouts, and an overall lack of defensive effort and execution characterized a typically dispiriting defeat. Villanova's slash-and-kick style is enough to scramble a lot of defenses, none more so than Georgetown, which went flying by Wildcat defenders at the merest hint of a ball fake. But it wasn't just the 'Nova attack that caused defensive breakdowns. Georgetown defenders frequently took bad angles, closed out way too hard on closeouts, failed to seal off the baseline, or simply let their man get into the paint with no resistance. Forays into zone defense ended so badly that they were quickly scrapped.
Of course, the numbers back up what we're all seeing on the floor. The Georgetown defense now ranks 121st in the country and third-to-last in the Big East, easily the worst marks since well before JT3 became coach. The Hoyas committed 27 personals against Villanova, a fitting end to a season in which Georgetown has fouled at the 7th-worst rate in the country. And for all those fouls on the Wildcats, what did Georgetown get? Just 9 forced turnovers, precious little reward but unfortunately typical for a team that ranks in the bottom 20 percent of teams nationally in forcing turnovers.
The defense was bad, but the offense wasn't much better. Georgetown shot just 4 of 26 from three-point range, continuing a season-long trend of jacking up long-distance shots with not enough success. Some of those threes came too early in the shot clock, others as a last resort when the Hoyas couldn't penetrate. While Villanova seamlessly executed a relatively simple scheme that maximized its players' abilities and kept Georgetown defenders on their heels, the Hoya offense once again sputtered.
The bright spot in Saturday's defeat was sophomore Peak, who poured in a career-high 31 points on a mix of drives and jumpers. Peak's sophomore campaign has been a silver lining on an otherwise cloudy season, making Saturday a microcosm of the season. The wing has shown improved perimeter shooting, stronger finishing at the rim, and better ball-handling even as the rest of the offense has crumbled.
Saturday's loss virtually ensures that Georgetown will finish with its first losing season under JT3. Georgetown is now 14-17 and will play DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Even assuming the Hoyas emerge victorious from that game (which they didn't two years ago), they will get a rematch with the conference-champion Wildcats, who have won 6 of the past 7 match-ups between these rivals.