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RESCUE DOGS: No. 4 UConn Takes Bite out of Georgetown, 80-67

Hoyas hang around but could not close the gap in the second

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas (8-9, 1-5) fell to five conference losses after a 80-67 loss to the No. 4 UConn Huskies (15-2, 5-1) at the XL Center in Hartford. Georgetown did their best to hang around but only managed to close the gap to 6 points in the second half before the Huskies pulled away.

Supreme Cook led the way for the Hoyas with 18PTS and 13REBs, but fouled out and the effort just wasn’t enough to pull off the upset.

In a Sunday matinee, your Georgetown University Hoyas traveled up to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the 4th ranked UCONN Huskies. After a valiant effort against a strong Seton Hall team, Ed Cooley and Georgetown were hungry to pick off a top 5 team and pick up their 2nd BIG EAST win of the campaign. By avoiding a collapse here, Connecticut will likely earn the No. 1 ranking in the polls on Monday.

Out of the gate, this game had semblance of an old BIG EAST matchup. On the Hoyas first possession Supreme Cook (18PTS, 13REB) gathered 2 offensive rebounds, and finished the 2nd rebound with a two-handed jam. The physicality of the game fed right into Supreme Cook’s strengths, who logged 10 PTS and 5 REB (4 OREB) in the first 10 minutes of the game. Headed into the under 12 timeout, Georgetown trailed 11-5, which was a steady start given that the Hoyas had shot 2-13 from the field up to that point. In the huddle, UCONN coach Dan Hurley felt fortunate to have a 6 point lead given Georgetown’s looks around the rim and rebounding toughness.

Out of the timeout, Supreme continued to Cook and the Hoya guards fed the big man inside. He had the 1st 10 points for the Hoyas. I am not sure what Ed Cooley’s message was to the team, but Georgetown abandoned the live-by-the-3 mentality. Brumbaugh, Epps, Fielder, and especially Supreme were going to the rim with authority. Unfortunately, the Hoyas struggled to convert the bunnies around the cup, but Supreme Cook buoyed the team offensively, while the Hoyas defense was connected and tough. UCONN’s saving grace was shooting 4-7 from downtown, giving them a 19-14 lead with 8 minutes to go in the 1st half. The Hoyas left no doubt that they could hang with this team; they just needed the shooting statistics to even out.

Down the stretch in the 1st half, Georgetown continued to make the game ugly but couldn’t get anything going offensively. On the other end of the floor, the Huskies’ only reliable option was guard, Alex Karaban (26PTS), who was hot from 3 and scored 19 PTS in the first half (5-6 3PT). At the end of the 1st half, Georgetown trailed 40-31, but the score didn’t tell the whole story. They had only taken 5 three’s, but shot 29% from the field (against Seton Hall, they shot 35 three’s). Supreme Cook finished the 1st half with a double-double - 16 PTS and 10 REB. BIG EAST leading scorer, Jayden Epps only had 8 points (1-8 FG). The Hoyas looked like the tougher team, but offense was hard to come by, even with only 4TOs.

After the intermission, Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer (20 PTS) and Alex Karaban continued to shoot the 3, but the Hoyas kept the XL Center quiet. Supreme Cook was a man possessed: at one point, he ran the floor in transition defense, turned around, ran 94ft the other way, and got fouled in transition offense for the Hoyas. Dontrez Styles paid off Supreme’s hustle with a splash from beyond the arc: Hoyas down 8. Heading into the under 12 minute timeout, Georgetown trailed by 7: 55-48, and simply refused to go away. Epps and Jay Heath (13 PTS) started to get involved offensively, and Georgetown’s determination to get to the basket continued. Supreme was a one man wrecking crew down in paint. Unfortunately, Ish Massoud’s (4PTS, 5REB) offensive struggles followed him to Hartford, as he missed a 3 that was so wide-open, the closest UCONN defensive player was back in Storrs.

Over the next few minutes, the game stabilized with teams trading 3 pointers. Jay Heath seemed to find his stroke from downtown, and Alex Karaban could not miss. The Huskies were shooting a scorching 65% from 3-land (for reference, a 40% from three is strong night). Georgetown was not doing their best to run them off the 3-point line, but the effort certainly wasn’t worthy of UCONN going 12-18 from 3 up to that point.

With 7 minutes left and the Hoyas down 12, Supreme Cook was fouled hard on a late close out by UCONN PG Tristan Newton, to which Supreme took exception and it resulted in a double technical. It was a back breaker, as Supreme picked up his 5th foul just seconds later, and the Hoyas’ best player this afternoon had to sit.

The Huskies held on to their 10 point lead throughout the 2nd half, with the Hoyas getting no closer than 6 but no further than 13. The physical bout turned into a parade to the free throw line. While Georgetown showed up tough this afternoon, their offensive struggles in combination with the Huskies 3 point shooting was too much. In the end Hoyas fell 80-67.

If Georgetown (and Supreme Cook) plays like they did today for the rest of BIG EAST schedule, they will be competitive in a lot of contests. They were aggressive, they took care of the basketball (only 7 TOs), they played connected defense, and they were physical. They did not shoot the basketball particularly well (34% FG), but that’s fixable. Ed Cooley and Georgetown showed something today that I do not think I have seen in several years. It felt good to not live by the 3, and it was fun to watch Supreme dominate the interior. It would have been nice to see some more Brumbaugh, Fielder, and Bristol Jr., but the Hoyas and Ed Cooley are trending. There is a reason UCONN is likely to be the #1 team in the country tomorrow. They know how to win, and even in one of Georgetown’s best efforts of the season, they never panicked and took care of business.

The Hoyas return to action at Xavier this Friday at 6:30PM in what is certain to be another physical basketball game.

Until then, Hoya Saxa!