The 6-10 (0-5 Big East) Georgetown Hoyas traveled North today to take on their long-time rival, the currently nationally ranked Connecticut Huskies. Having a basketball game to watch was a nice departure from the on-line discourse the past few days surrounding the team and program. Notably, Patrick Ewing Jr.’s appearance on Gene Smith’s podcast sparked debate on the program’s feelings towards their fanbase and Myron Metcalf’s front page ESPN article was the first national recognition that Georgetown is not living up to its potential. But nonetheless, there was basketball to be played! But the 8:40 tip wasn’t ideal for those still courageous enough to care for this year’s version of the Hoyas.
The Hoyas looked overmatched to start, as one would expect given the 15.5 point spread in favor of UConn prior to tip. UConn’s interior presence, headlined by Adama Sanogo, seemed too much for Tim Ighoefe and the rest of Georgetown’s bigs. Ighoefe quickly fouled twice and Ryan Mutombo checked in at the 16:26 mark, which must have felt nice for the youngster coming off a DNP. The Hoyas’ offense had a hard time keeping up with the Huskies and the guys fell down 25-16 after just the second media timeout (defense is a problem) but following the timeout, the offense kept pace by way of the three point shot. 21 of the Hoyas first 31 points came via the three on just 11 attempts. But the defensive shortcomings still gave UConn a 7 point buffer into the under-4 media timeout. UConn ultimately rolled to a 52-40 half time lead.
The story of the first half was the defense. The offense put forth an uber efficient shooting performance (53% FG, 67% 3PT) highlighted by good performances from Aminu Mohammed (13), Colin Holloway (8), and Donald Carey (8) but even that wasn’t enough to stay competitive with the Huskies. UConn shot an astounding 56% from the field and 42% from 3 and to make matters worse, collected 50% of all their misses to the tune of 8 offensive rebounds. Combine all that with a measly 2 turnovers and UConn scored a whole lot of points. UConn finished the half at 1.53 points per possession – a number that had this game on pace to be Georgetown’s worst defensive performance in at least 20 years. Again, the team’s collective defensive performance continues to be a stain on the Ewing regime.
There wasn’t much of note in the second half, and no change in the success of the defense. UConn started with 5 straight points and the Hoyas never came within 14 points again. There was a slight scare to Aminu Mohammed’s foot, which would just add insult to injury, but he seemed okay. The buzzer eventually mercifully sounded to the final tune of a UConn victory by a score of 96-73.
I don’t have the stats in front of me but this was one of the worst defensive performances in modern history and it really isn’t a surprise. The defense has been trending in the wrong direction and our frontcourt had little chance to match up with Adama Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley. If the results are going to be this poor, is it time to cut our losses and just accept the bumps you’d get from playing Mutombo larger minutes? There doesn’t seem to be an alternative on the roster that may eventually be the answer at the center position.
Unfortunately, it feels like we’re trending towards rock bottom. Recent comments from Ewing and the response from the team probably indicate he’s not going to get anything out of this group and if the losses keep compiling, one would imagine Ewing’s pride may notion him to step aside. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out – because it’s very unlikely the actual basketball games become interesting again.