Georgetown’s trio of Rodney Pryor, Jessie Govan, and LJ Peak put on a show at the Verizon Center Saturday, as they combined for 63 points in an 80-62 Hoyas victory over Marquette. The Hoyas grabbed the lead three minutes into the game and maintained it to the final buzzer as Georgetown’s prowess on both sides of the ball propelled them to victory.
The defense held its own against Marquette, keeping the less-than-Golden Eagles to 62 points, a total just one point shy of the team’s previous season low. It did not help the Golden Eagles’ cause that they shot just 3-14 from behind the arc, but the worst lapses for Marquette came on defense.
The Hoyas successfully exploited holes in Marquette’s defense and found their way into the paint. An early sign of the Hoyas’ ability to find those holes came midway through the first half when Jessie Govan found a cutting Rodney Pryor for a crisp pass followed by an easy dunk. Govan in particular found the touch offensively, connecting on his first two three-point attempts and creating several scoring opportunities for himself out of the low block. This was no small feat, considering that between centers Luke Fischer and Matt Heldt, Marquette is one of the biggest teams up front in the Big East.
The offensive success seemingly fueled an unusually strong performance from the defense. The Hoyas would give up occasional easy baskets to Marquette, but those baskets came less frequently than in several recent games. Early in the first half, Rodney Pryor leapt to block what would have otherwise been an easy layup for Fischer, setting the tempo early for a strong defensive performance. A quick look at the shot chart also suggests that the Hoyas succeeded in preventing Marquette from taking quality mid-range shots. The Golden Eagles made only four shots that were attempted inside the arc and beyond approximately six feet from the basket.
Yet again, Georgetown proved that when all three of Pryor, Peak, and Govan are rolling offensively and the defense avoids its most egregious lapses, the Hoyas can match up with virtually any opponent on their schedule.
And yes, there was a student section too!
Leading up to Saturday’s game, I had been angling for a rivalry with Marquette. Marquette robbed me of my first opportunity to see a win in Big East play freshman year, when they stole an overtime win after a late-game Hoyas collapse in a game that has since become known as the “Sad Scott” game.
Ever since then, I have held a grudge against Marquette and eagerly anticipated the chance to see one last matchup between the two before I graduate in May. In addition, I had missed last Saturday’s game vs. Seton Hall due to an LSAT-induced absence, making me particularly starved for a Hoyas home game.
Today marked the “Gray Out” game in the crowd, but the decision to hand out the shirts rather than place them on the seats led to less of an effect than in previous years. In an interesting innovation, Hoya Blue brought their markers and a handful of blank poster boards, allowing a handful of fans to create their own sign rather than hold the usual “big heads.” I decided to go for an alternative fact:
Fans can create their own sign today. Mine's two-sided but here's the side I prefer. Apologies in advance to the Press Secretary. pic.twitter.com/MrZNQaOk2L— Roey (@roeyhadar) February 11, 2017
Early on, student fans had some fun at the expense of Marquette guard Andrew Rowsey. The team lists Rowsey at 5’10”, but because he looked significantly shorter than everyone else, some fans started to chant “Can’t go to Six Flags” as he shot free throws. This became a recurring theme for some fans during the game, as they would remind Rowsey that he had to spend time playing the carnival games rather than riding the roller coasters.
I also had some fun of my own at the expense of other Marquette players, deciding that Luke Fischer would be the target of my shouts of “Catch me outside how bout dat?” I also reminded him of his staggering resemblance to the boy on the box of the Kinder chocolates I used to eat when I was a kid. I also broke out a current events reference after a questionable turnover called on Jessie Govan when I shouted, “that call was fake news!”
Jack the Bulldog did not skateboard today, but devoured a plush version of Marquette’s Golden Eagle. Little did we know at that time (it was a four-point game during that timeout) that this would accurately reflect how the rest of the game unfolded.
The scoreboard operators decided Saturday’s “Copy That Scene” would be the Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne’s World, and I responded by joining a couple of fans in rocking out in front of a camera. The crowd kept the theme going after the timeout, as several Marquette possessions late in the first half featured the crowd’s own rendition of Queen’s hit song.
The second half included the return of the “Jack-in-the-Box,” as I accidentally spotted the first participant...
There's a banana here. Probably the best costume I've seen today pic.twitter.com/scIV0rM4Yb— Roey (@roeyhadar) February 11, 2017
...leading to a quick chiding to not spoil what was coming in the second half:
The banana did not succeed in generating a free throw miss, but the second attempt, pictured at the top of this article, where a young Hoyas fan sprouted from the box, had greater success in forcing a missed attempt.
The crowd erupted when Rodney Pryor flew for an incredible, Jordan-esque dunk in the second half. This slam put the exclamation point on what already had been a double-digit lead.
And of course, fans chanted his name afterward pic.twitter.com/GpIPunRBHU— Roey (@roeyhadar) February 11, 2017
Apparently, an incident during the timeout featuring the Gatling gun and the launch of t-shirts led to a tense moment. A fan threw a t-shirt back in the direction of the court, hitting a cheerleader and ultimately leading to the fan’s ejection. I did not see this, but removing the fan in question was likely a good call.
.@Chris_Grosse laying down the law and ejecting a fan who threw back a free t-shirt and hit a cheerleader— Hoya Vey (@HoyaVey) February 11, 2017
As the clock ticked down, the crowd became antsy, cheering “We Want George” in the hopes that coach John Thompson III would choose to play freshman walk-on George Muresan. While JT3 did not cater to the crowd, a quick look to the bench saw Muresan smiling and laughing as the crowd pleaded for his appearance. A handful of fans tried to chant “Wisconsin can’t hang,” but unfortunately for them, it did not catch on. Finally, as the last few seconds ticked away, the crowd chanted “We Are Georgetown” and triumphantly celebrated the victory.
Quite the jubilant scene as the final buzzer sounded. Big win for the Hoyas! pic.twitter.com/1GumlOz0cE— Roey (@roeyhadar) February 11, 2017
Fans lingered after the buzzer, with a handful of faithful fans singing the fight song and sticking around to high-five the players as they left the court. Leading scorer Jessie Govan was the last one off the court and in a jubilant scene, fans chanted his name as he jogged into the locker room. It was, no doubt, a perfect final scene to cap off the joyous occasion of beating Marquette.
Hoya Saxa! On to the next one!