Georgetown started fast but couldn’t keep up with #13 Seton Hall, losing at the Pirates 74-61. The Hoyas struggled to generate offense and couldn’t stop the Pirate transition during a key stretch to end the first half. Georgetown continued to scrap after the break, but never made a serious run to put the game in doubt. The loss drops the Hoyas to 2-4 in conference, 12-5 overall.
Georgetown came out of the gates strong, building a 21-11 lead that featured some of the best basketball the Hoyas have played in conference play. Having struggled to generate clean looks the half court for much of conference play, the Hoyas found points in other ways. In that initial push, four different Georgetown players scored a total of nine second-chance points. For the day, the Hoyas grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, with Marcus Derrickson leading the way by cleaning the offensive glass seven times. The Hoyas also scored two buckets off of live-ball turnovers as Seton Hall mistakes begat open Georgetown shots.
But the good times didn’t last. After a timeout to regroup, Seton Hall turned up its intensity on both ends of the floor. The Pirates began to jump passing lanes on defense, generating turnovers that opened up the floor for a previously stagnant Seton Hall offense. As they have many times earlier this season, Georgetown struggled to penetrate inside the three-point arc. Instead, over a seven-minute span in the middle of the first half, the Hoyas turned the ball over seven times while scoring just five points, three of which came on a banked three-pointer by Jessie Govan.
The Pirates capitalized on all of those Hoya mistakes, scoring 9 points during the same stretch off of turnovers, and 10 more on Georgetown misses that allowed Seton Hall to get out and run. Pirate guard Myles Powell and wing Khadeen Carrington, who tied with a game-high 19 points, keyed Seton Hall’s offensive resurgence, with both players attacking the basket and Carrington burying a triple for good measure.
By the time Georgetown caught its breath, Seton Hall had turned the Hoyas early 10-point advantage into a 30-26 Pirate lead. And that was just a prelude to the push to come. After the Hoyas scored on consecutive possessions to retake the lead, Seton Hall held Georgetown scoreless for the final 5:31 before the half, rattling off a 14-0 run that essentially decided the game.
Like Creighton, the Hoyas’ opponent from last weekend, Seton Hall is at a different point as a program than Georgetown. The Pirates have been built brick-by-brick over the past several seasons: Kevin Willard has gradually accumulated solid talent across the board. Recently, he has had a deep and balanced team that executes offensively and can stifle an opponent defensively. Of Seton Hall’s five leading minute-getters on Saturday, four were seniors, and none were transfers.
Apart from its stalwart junior bigs, Georgetown is more or less at square one. Struggles to attract back-court talent late in the JT3 era have resulted in a roster that isn’t necessarily young (four upperclassmen start) but still lacks talent. The Hoyas can’t find early, easy offense because their guards can’t penetrate to open up the floor. They don’t have a reliable third scorer beyond Govan and Derrickson. Those two have taken a big step forward this year, but, as inside-out players, are somewhat awkward as the two fulcrums (fulcra?) of the Hoya offense.
Even on the road against a ranked opponent that had just rattled off 13-minutes of demoralizing play, Georgetown didn’t cave after the half. The Hoyas largely cleaned up their transition defense, getting back and set faster to deny the Pirates quick points. Seton Hall scored 19 of the 33 points in its extended first-half run in transition, but just 3 such points after the break. The Hoyas were genuinely locked in for much of the latter half, and as a result the Pirates didn’t score for five-plus minutes.
Unfortunately, Georgetown wasn’t able to turn the Pirates’ offensive stagnation into a full-fledged comeback. Although a Trey Dickerson lay-up narrowed the Seton Hall lead to single digits, that would be as close as Georgetown got. The Hoyas struggled to score for reasons that were familiar (turnovers) but also unlucky (six missed shots in the lane during this stretch).
Ultimately, after the ups-and-downs of the first half, this game ended up about as should be expected. Seton Hall is a very good team right now, and was playing at home. Georgetown plays hard but often not well, and stood a slim chance of making this game competitive on the road.
There were a few bright spots worth noting. Marcus Derrickson posted a double-double, leading Georgetown in both points (18) and rebounds (10). Even though the video of Ewing chewing him out during the DePaul game went viral, Doc has been a rock in conference play, averaging a cool 20 and 9, excepting his limited participation in the Creighton game. In addition to posting impressive numbers, he’s been very efficient, creeping into the 50-40-90 club with averages of 54% from the field, 44% from three and 90% from the line.
Jahvon Blair played solidly Saturday, scoring 11 points, largely of his own creation, in his second start of the season. The freshman guard still gets a tad trigger-happy and is way too loose with the ball, but he certainly shows promise as a scorer that may come to fruition later in his career. Kaleb Johnson, who’s been up and down in conference play, scored 14 points, a solid number that was tempered by 4 turnovers that included the now-customary travel or two.
On the flip side, the other Hoya wings were largely abysmal today. Jagan Mosely followed up consecutive double-figure efforts by missing all 5 of his shots and committing 4 turnovers, an unhappy return home for the Garden State native. Jamorko Pickett, coming off the bench with Blair inserted in his place, played just 9 minutes and didn’t score, either. And Jessie Govan, banging down low against Seton Hall stud Angel Delgado, had a rough day, making just 5 of 16 shots and grabbing just 5 rebounds.
It feels as though we’ve reached a baseline of what this Georgetown team is. The Hoyas will struggle offensively, occasionally opening the floor up from the inside-out or, less frequently against good teams, finding easy points in transition. Just as often, they’ll get bogged down, unable to enter the ball to the post and without another way to create a decent look. The junior bigs will lead the way, but no one else is a reliable contributor. On defense, Georgetown will have trouble containing opposing ball-handlers but will compete and at least tread water.
The question for the remaining two months of this season is what this team becomes. There are limits on how good an offense with negligible point guard play can be. What development do we see of Blair, Pickett, and Antwan Walker? Are Derrickson and Govan able to take yet another step forward offensively? Can Ewing and his staff find creative on-court solutions to roster issues?
All of that remains to be seen. For now, the Hoyas return home to host #1 Villanova, who will visit the ATM next Wednesday evening. Til then, Hoya Saxa.