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View from the Student Section: Sad!

They were chanting “Fire Thompson” and “J-T-Leave” at the end of this one.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Georgetown Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

What can you get with $2.7 million? You can pay for one full year of Georgetown for 38 students. You can also cover the cost of student season tickets for three years for every single Georgetown undergraduate. Or... you can pay for one season of coaching from a head coach who cannot beat DePaul.

As you probably know by now, Georgetown lost to DePaul Wednesday night in a crushing 67-65 defeat after two late free throws from Blue Demons guard Billy Garrett Jr. sealed the Hoyas’ fate. Garrett Jr. led the Blue Demons with 15 points, but swingman R.J. Curington chipped in 14 points off the bench.

On the Hoyas’ side of the ball, center Jessie Govan led all scorers with 18 points, but unfortunately also contributed two of the key blunders that doomed the Hoyas. Govan’s turnover with 35 seconds left contributed to a DePaul fast break that tied the game at 65. With five seconds left, he took his usual open three-pointer, only to air ball the shot. While it may have been his errors that sealed the Hoyas’ fate, however, fans could easily argue that Georgetown would not have even had a chance to win the game without his other contributions.

Rodney Pryor chipped in 14 points and 5 rebounds, but shot an inefficient 5-15 from the floor. LJ Peak scored only six points on six shots, but dished out a team-best five assists in the losing effort. Power forward Akoy Agau also performed yeoman’s work Wednesday night to keep the Hoyas in the game, scoring seven points and securing a team-leading eight rebounds but was ultimately called for the foul on Garrett on his buzzer beater attempt. The replay indicated that it may have been unclear, however, whether or not Agau’s foul came before or after the buzzer.

As for the crowd...

I didn’t have too much to contribute, since I was still recovering from a bad cold over the weekend and had not fully recovered my voice. I decided to see if I could cheer mostly at speaking volume, and as it turned out, the crowd followed. The crowd had a lower-than-usual energy to it throughout the game. I couldn’t blame them.

Even before tip-off, fans did not turn away from the court and chant “Let’s Go Hoyas” as DePaul was introduced. The usual crowd sing-along of “Hey Baby” featured fewer voices than usual.

Several fans tried to have fun with DePaul’s players during the game. I took to waving at players during free throws and trying to act friendly. Most of DePaul’s trips to the free throw line in the first half featured at least one miss. Attempts to distract center Levi Cook’s attempt for a three-point play by chanting “Cook needs Rogaine” were less successful, however, as the balding big man swished the free throw.

There was a bit of fun to be had with the student section theme for the game, in which several fans wore onesies to feel as comfortable as they could at a game between the Big East’s two worst teams. The “Copy That Scene” camera encouraged fans to imitate the Bluth family’s “Chicken Dance” from “Arrested Development.” Needless to say, the scene of students in onesies copying the Bluths’ terrible chicken impersonations provided some worthwhile entertainment.

The entertainment was not for everyone, however. As I walked up the stairs at halftime, I saw a girl sitting on the aisle near the top of the student section with a large workbook on her knees open to a page that said “Chemical Equilibrium.” Since it was science, I did not understand it. Later in the game, I turned around after a good play to scan the crowd and was able to see the massive workbook all the way up, still resting on that girl’s knees. It makes sense, come to think of it. If Georgetown is trailing to DePaul, might as well make the game worth it by doing your chemistry homework in the mean time.

The crowd roared in approval at several key plays in the second half, including Akoy Agau’s three-point play with 4:54 to go and Jessie Govan’s big basket down low with 1:14 left. But as the game wound down, what had once been shouts of joy became shouts of despair and anger.

The crowd hung on every dribble, waiting with bated breath to see what play Coach Thompson devised for the Hoyas to run out of the timeout called with 23 seconds left. Unlike most of his set plays out of timeouts, Thompson, it seemed, may have found a winner. The ball found Govan wide open behind the arc. He pulled up for the shot, the one he makes nearly 50% of the time and...

Air ball! The video above shows just how much the air left the arena when the ball fell short. Fans expected overtime, but overtime with DePaul was not exactly encouraging for the home crowd.

After Billy Garrett Jr. drew the foul from Akoy Agau, the crowd had to wait yet again as officials reviewed the play. It led to a minute or so where fans were confused as to whether the Hoyas would be heading to overtime or be put in position to lose. When the officials confirmed the foul, the crowd amped up its booing. The boos may have been directed toward Garrett’s free throw and the officials at first, but even in the video below of the attempt, you can tell that the fans sensed blood and were ready to direct their anger at sources within the program.

As soon as Garrett swished the free throw, a group of students began to chant “Fire Thompson.” Judging from their volume, the chants could probably be heard across the arena and perhaps on the TV broadcast. Eventually they transitioned to “J-T-Leave,” which is one I have not heard before. If Wednesday night’s performance and Georgetown’s willingness (or lack thereof) to heed fan input are indicative of anything, this may not be the last time we hear that chant.

After the game, a few fans lingered to shoot free throws. I gave it my best shot, only to clang mine off the back of the rim. I hung around for a few minutes watching others try to shoot. One student made a three-pointer, but the real attention-getter was one student who loudly shouted as he made his exit about the urgency of making a coaching change.

I ran into him afterward (turns out he’s someone I know), and he confessed that since he’s a senior and it’s his last game, he felt the need to get his frustrations with the team and the program off his chest. I’m pretty sure I saw Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed walking by not long before he started shouting, so I’m pretty sure Reed heard what the student had to say.

Ok, before I quit I have a few notes.


There’s a fun story out of this! Well before tip-off, I ambled through the Verizon Center concourse and ran into Gheorghe Muresan, former NBA veteran and father of current Hoya walk-on George. I confessed that he was one of my favorite players as a little kid, as I grew up in New Jersey and went to a lot of Nets games when I was very young. I asked for a picture and he declined at first, saying, “If I take a picture with you then everybody want picture.” Understanding his logic, I nodded and went on my way. As I move on, I hear a deep voice call back, “Come quick! Selfie!”

A little kid had asked for a picture so he told me to come back and take a selfie in the mean time. I fumbled with the camera a bit and quickly snapped a shot. It came out quite blurry but it definitely serves as a nice reminder that he is 7’7” and I am 5’7”.

Before this game, I thought about how and why I’ve been a fan through my four years here. I have been to over 40 Hoyas games in total in what has quickly become a dark age for the program. I realized that I did it because it kept the hope alive. It told me that, yes, Georgetown is supposed to be good at basketball. People are supposed to want to come to games. I felt a tremendous, life-changing excitement at games as an underclassman. I hoped that it would build toward something. Maybe a National Championship, maybe a Final Four, or maybe even just some fun, good basketball.

Had I known this was how the team would do I wouldn’t have bothered. I would have joined another extracurricular club and called it a day. That being said, there’s one thing that makes it all worth it and that’s the people. Yeah, that includes you, the person choosing to read nearly 1,300 words deep about one of the most crushing losses in Georgetown program history. Before my last “View from the Student Section” next Saturday vs. Villanova, I wanted to block out a few words to thank people like you.

In part because of that, even if Casual Hoya himself does not plan on leading the way on throwing a Casual Extravaganza this year, I will lead the way and be happy to join any Casualties insane enough to attend the game and meet up afterward. Even in the face of crushing hopelessness, the show must go on!

And with that, Hoya Saxa! It can only get better from here!