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Manhandled at Home, Hoyas Held Off by Providence (LINKS)

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Cooley slows the game down, holds Hoyas to 44 field goal attempts...

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 19 Providence at Georgetown Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Providence Friars (8-6) came to D.C. and put a beating on the Georgetown Hoyas (5-8) on Wednesday night. Coach Ewing’s ever-shrinking team simply could not break free of Providence’s slow, physical style to find any consistency in ball movement or open looks. It was an ugly brand of basketball.

To say Georgetown shot poorly in the game is an understatement. The Hoyas were 17 for 44 from the field (38.6%) and shot 4-12 from three. There was an over-twelve-minute stretch of no GU field goals in the second half (0-13). Jahvon Blair, Jamorko Pickett, and Terrell Allen were a combined 14-34, but they really didn’t get any help in the scoring department. PC, however, had a list of bench players shining bright.

Some folks may have you believe that the Hoyas’ poor shooting was only in the second half as Georgetown led 34-30 at halftime, but the gap between the two halves was minimal. The Hoyas were 9-22 in the first half (bad) and 8-22 (slightly worse) in the second. The timing of that unforgivable second-half drought proved to be fatal, but it was an all-around poor shooting performance, especially considering it was their home court. Georgetown was 3-6 for three in the first and 1-6 in the second, so that could have been a key difference as well. The Hoyas still should have had a 16-point lead rather than just 8 points while the Friars start 0-for-7. Buckets weren’t falling, but the looks weren’t as good as the announcers seemed to think. Regardless, as mediocre as the shooting percentages were, it really was a case of failure to launch.

Attempting only 44 shots is not how Ewing’s defensively challenged teams can win games. 12 three-point attempts ain’t gonna do it, either. For instance, in the 12 conference contests prior, the Hoyas had 722 field goal attempts total, or about 60 per game. Shooting 25% fewer shots than normal was nothing short of handing Coach Cooley the keys to Jack the Bulldog’s mini-SUV. Are short-bench squads normally good with defending several series of long possessions? Do defenses that struggle on the perimeter prefer deep-in-the-shot-clock three-point attempts? Is any coach OK with allowing an opponent to shoot 13 more shots (30%!) than their team (PC: 25-57 FG)? Was the “pace” focus forgotten with Mac’s injury or with the Butler win?

Really, the only reason the game was even close at times was—especially in the first half—that the Hoyas were bailed out by free throws. Georgetown averages about 18.7 free-throws per conference game this year—they saw 32 against the Friars, including 15 in the first half. Providence only had four attempts from the charity stripe in the first half, but came back going 10-14, albeit some were from extend-the-game fouls towards the end.

Mark my words, there should have been even more fouls called on Providence as they pushed for space, held off-ball cutters, and never stopped moving when setting screens—the refs lost control of the game early on. Alpha Diallo and David Duke stiff-armed like the Heisman and Nate Watson and Kalif Young flopped around like fish while defending the post. With the increased contact, Georgetown lost control of the game. As good as Ewing has been at getting this team to respond in adversity, there was never an answer to PC’s clock-management approach. And, by the way, letting your pedally challenged shooting guard barrel out of control really doesn’t help your case with the officials.

Georgetown couldn’t keep up with the Friar’s scoring pace, but that’s probably more of a sign of the Hoyas’ defense getting re-exposed. Providence shot much better in the second half (15-25, 60%) than they did in the first (10-32, 31%) and took fewer shots (i.e., a methodical pace). The Friars shot well from three in the first (7-15) but cut back on attempts in the second (3-10) and drove to the basket more, as corroborated by a comparison of their free-throw attempts by half (4 vs. 14). Blair’s 2-8 (0-4 3PT) shooting in the second half, and only 6 points, were not good, but Providence was not letting him get the ball, let alone get a clean look. Still, let’s not pretend Georgetown’s offense was working well for more than about 4 minutes of the night. Providence had 21 assists in the game and Georgetown had 8.

Georgetown didn’t necessarily become mentally fatigued as the commentators routinely pronounced but they were manhandled in their own home. They were physically pushed into playing a style to their disadvantage. The Hoyas simply never had enough shot attempts to even make a reasonable effort in a “must win” game. Losing Mac McClung certainly sucked the air out of the game, but it wasn’t the only problem.

A solid counter for Georgetown might have been requiring PC to collapse on the center and allow the Hoyas to get back to playing inside-out. Ewing has been force-feeding the ball inside all season, almost to the detriment of the guards heating up, but not against the Friars. Unfortunately, Qudus Wahab (2-2, 3 TOs) and Timothy Ighoefe (0-1) were big non-factors in the offensive post. Omer Yurtseven did not even suit up—”he chose not to go.” Ouch. Wahab had some foul trouble late but with about 6 minutes left, Ewing apparently forgot to sub him back in for some offensive support. Oh well.

Georgetown’s tournament hopes aren’t completely dead, but it’s hard to believe that DePaul, Marquette, Xavier, Creighton, and Villanova won’t try to mimic PC’s confidence-shaking physicality in upcoming games. Maybe Seton Hall provided the blueprint to grinding out a win at Capital One Arena. Maybe the reality of Mac McClung’s foot injury finally set in with the team as he limped off the floor while tapping his head. Maybe Mosely’s shoulder bump took him from “banged up” to “playing hurt.” I have a better feeling about the Marquette and Creighton games because the free-flowing pace each team feeds into.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow worrying if McClung, Yurtseven, or even Mosely might not be able to perform near full strength again this season. Ice-baths and a film day are likely not enough to help the six guys regroup after that one. Maybe I’m too hard on the staff, but whether it was Duke, Seton Hall, Xavier, etc., Ewing’s teams shy away from the very bump and grind that he predicated his game on. Maybe that’s where you miss a trio of 6’6” aggressors the most. What’s the over-under for Pickett’s made layups through the next 5 games? Does he make 6 bunnies before March 8th? He’s constantly getting hacked, but Pickett won’t ever get the calls consistently playing this way. The staff needs to find a way to improve the body control of Len Elmore’s favorite skinny-legged upside-candidate. More playing time as a small forward should help. That’s just not happening this year.

Coach Patrick Ewing might have something left in his bag of tricks, but maybe there’s just not enough gas left. Blair and Allen can only do so much, especially as scouting reports adapt. Yurtseven could come back and easily carry them to a DePaul win and then disappear against Marquette just as easily. Perhaps—as finally predicted by every so-called BIG EAST pundit since December—the bench is just too thin and the legs are too tired to compete in the nation’s top conference. We certainly should applaud the players’ efforts, but the way the Hoyas lost a must-win game at home was sincerely disheartening. With only 44 shots, they didn’t have a chance.

Anyway, Providence matched-up well with personnel and style, and Cooley schemed his way to this win. It’s just a shame that while their throwback hack-a-Hoya technique may get them a tournament invite, the NCAA refs won’t let that boorish bullshit come even close to sniffing the Sweet 16. Just ask John Thompson, III.

Here are the links:

Georgetown Falls Short to Providence | GUHoyas

“It was tough - it was very tough. To me, we just ran out of steam, ran out of energy, ran out of effort. All the things that we had been doing great - those guys had been logging some heavy minutes - tonight, it just took its toll.” - Head Coach Patrick Ewing ...

Jahvon Blair led the Hoyas with a game-high 20 points while also grabbing six rebounds.

Jamorko Pickett recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Terrell Allen finished with 16 points.

Georgetown shot 38.6 (17-44) from the field and outrebounded Providence 33-32.

Mac McClung is injured again, and undermanned Georgetown falls to Providence | The Washington Post

“He practiced some yesterday, so we knew that he was going to be able to do something, but just keep him limited,” Coach Patrick Ewing said of McClung. “I’m not sure what has happened. . . . He just said he felt it pulling and it started hurting so [he] stopped.”

As for Yurtseven, Ewing said the 7-footer hasn’t practiced this week.

“He hasn’t been doing anything. Thought he was going to be able to go today — he chose not to,” Ewing said. “It is what it is. We just have to do the best we can to get them healthy and hopefully get on the floor at some point.”

Men’s Basketball Tops Georgetown, 73-63 | Friars.com

The Hoyas started the contest with a 9-0 run. Providence was 0-7 from the field in the first 4:30 minutes. Luwane Pipkins (Chicago, Ill.) scored the Friars’ opening basket of the game to put Providence on the board. Georgetown held the lead 12-5 with 11:44 left on the clock.

Diallo and White scored consecutive three-point balls to give the Friars a small 6-0 run. The Hoyas responded with shot from downtown to end the run. Young contributed with a layup on the following possession. Georgetown had not scored in the last 2:04 minutes and the Friars took their first lead of the game after an Emmitt Holt (Rochester, N.Y.) three. The Friars led 16-15 going into the under eight media timeout.

Second half defense leads PC to 73-63 win over Georgetown | Providence Journal

Georgetown led 34-30 at the half and that was mainly due to its ability to draw fouls and make free throws. The Hoyas knocked in 13 free throws while the Friars were just 3-of-4.

The Hoyas kept the lead early in the second half as Blair made a few shots and found his way to the foul line to keep his team up, 49-43. The Friars made a push, however, and when Diallo ripped an offensive rebound, scored and hit a free throw to give PC a 50-49 with 11:50 left...

Georgetown kept getting to the foul line to stay close but a 0-of-13 skid and 13:22 without a field goal gave PC a 68-58 lead with 1:31 left. The Friars made things interesting by missing the front end of two 1-and-1′s but offensive rebounds by Young and Diallo preserved possessions and allowed Pipkins to make three free throws for a 71-63 lead with 40 seconds left.

Not Mad, Just Disappointed: Hoyas Fall to Providence in Bubble Battle | Thompson’s Towel

Despite an overwhelmingly positive first half for the team overall, nothing can ever come easy. This time, it was Mac McClung heading to the locker room after asking to be taken out. A hushed silence fell over the arena; that’s how demoralizing it was. After the game, Ewing said that Mac felt “it” pulling and then stopped. What this means, I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound good.

Coming out of the break, the Friars finally figured out they had an advantage on the inside. With Omer Yurtseven yet again sidelined with an ankle injury, Ewing was forced to rely on his two freshmen centers in Qudus Wahab and Tim Ighoefe. Neither were particularly effective, and both struggled to defend without fouling. As a result, Providence’s tag-team of Nate Watson and Kalif Young played a pivotal role in closing the gap.