Once again facing a must-win game, Georgetown came up short on Saturday, dropping a disappointing, error-filled 68-66 decision at home to Seton Hall. The loss ends the Hoyas’ recent winning streak and diminishes their already-distant NCAA Tournament hopes.
Georgetown started out poorly on Saturday, falling behind 13-2 over the first 5-plus minutes. The Hoyas couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean early, missing on one long jumper after another. That trend continued all day, as Georgetown made just 1 of 19 three-point attempts. Georgetown was slow to block out Seton Hall on the glass and to cut of driving Pirate ball-handlers. After three straight solid performances, the hoyas came out flat today.
The Hoyas narrowed the gap by attacking the hoop. LJ Peak penetrated into the lane with ease, setting up his teammates and finishing at the rim. On a day on which Georgetown shot just 38 percent from the field, the comeback didn’t come easily. Instead, offensive aggressiveness took the place of accuracy. Akoy Agau (7 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks) was active, grabbing loose balls and converting dump-offs from Peak at the basket. Jagan Mosely, who scored all of his 7 points in the first half, provided a spark when Peak sat with foul trouble. Even with a swoon in the closing minutes of the half, Georgetown has down by just 4 entering the break. The game seemed within reach.
The second half was a see-saw affair in which Georgetown clawed back, only to fall behind again. The Hoyas couldn’t stay ahead for reasons that would have been familiar to anyone who has watched these teams this season. Georgetown couldn’t stop fouling, allowing Seton Hall 16 second-half free-throws, of which the Pirates made 13. Many of these free-throws were true gifts, resulting from non-shooting fouls where a Hoya simply bumped a Pirate. All of this was predictable, but nevertheless dispiriting, for a Georgetown team that came into the game ranked last in the Big East in allowing opponents to the free-throw line.
When the Pirates couldn’t draw the whistle, they got second chances. Seton Hall gathered 38 percent of its own misses as offensive rebounds, which was business as usual for the conference’s best offensive rebounding unit. Post Angel Delgado led the charge, posting a beastly line of 26 points and 17 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive. Georgetown couldn’t dislodge Delgado from underneath the boards, and couldn’t defend him without fouling, as Delgado made 12 of his 15 free throw attempts.
With the visitors shooting just 29 percent in the second half, free throws and second chances were essential. Seton Hall scored just 27 second-half points, and 17 were on free throws or off of offensive rebounds. In one particularly frustrating sequence, Jonathan Mulmore senselessly bumped Pirate guard Khadeen Carrington two free-throws thanks to contact 30 feet from the hoop, then, after Carrington made his first attempt, no Hoya boxed him out on his missed, second free throw. Carrington collected the offensive rebound, only to be immediately fouled again, for two more free throws.
Down the stretch, Georgetown finally managed to defend without fouling and started doubling Delgado on the boards. As a result, Seton Hall went scoreless for six-plus minutes. The Hoyas slowly but surely caught up, eventually taking a two-point lead on a pair of Peak free throws.
But the lead didn’t last. Delgado answered with a put-back to tie, and a Peak jumper was equaled by a Carrington leaner. Both teams wasted chances to win at the end of regulation.
Overtime was similarly close but error-filled. Rodney Pryor made a jumper that briefly put Georgetown ahead with barely a minute to play, and it seemed that Georgetown might escape with the win. But Seton Hall answered to go back up by one, and a missed Jessie Govan three and a Pryor turnover frittered away the Hoyas’ best chances. After a free throw put the Pirates up by two, a slow-developing final race up the court resulted in a Peak three-pointer that came up just short.
Like many of Georgetown’s losses, today wasn’t crippling in its own right. Seton Hall entered today on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and plays a style, particularly with Delgado on the boards, that can wear down opponents. But this defeat, combined with three others at home to Big East opponents, added to lackluster non-conference play, virtually forecloses hope of dancing in March.
Georgetown returns to action Tuesday night at Villanova. The Hoyas won’t have the benefit of a winning streak, or of many positives they can glean from today’s loss. Their tournament hopes are less than slim, and they’re playing a foe that has lost at home just twice in the nearly four seasons of the new Big East.