I walked into the Verizon Center I could feel it in the air. It felt like the Gray Out Duke game we played last season with President Obama in attendance, but this time it was former President Bill Clinton in the house. I knew how big this game against Syracuse would be. Gray Out 2-26-11 tees were placed on just about ever seat in the Verizon Center just as they were last season when the Hoyas played against Duke. Also, it was senior day for four of our seniors Julian Vaughn, Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Ryan Dougherty. The Georgetown Hall of Famers were introduced at half time featuring Hoya basketball great Alonzo Mourning. The atmosphere in the Verizon was just astounding and electrifying. I think I was as hyped as I've ever been, and believe me I stay hyped in the phone booth (Verizon Center).
The Hoyas (21-8 10-7) kept the score close until the 8:32 minute in the first half. The Orangemen scored 21 points off of the Hoyas 16 turnovers. Scoop Jardine made a steal and then made a layup to put the Orangemen up 21-16. Syracuse (24-6 11-6) had the momentum for most of the first half, but couldn't pull too far away from the Hoyas. From the 7:54 minute to the 4:07 the Hoyas did not score until Hollis Thompson made two free throws. The score was 24-19. Freshman Hoya Markel Starks made a steal at the 3:45 minute and Austin Freeman a layup. Score 24-21 with 3:41 minutes to go in the first half.
After a Syracuse timeout at the 3:38, the score was still 24-21, but Orangemen James Southerland grabbed an offensive rebound and then had a tip in to make the score 26-21 with 3:05 to go in the first half. The last basketball scored in first half was three pointer scored by James Southerland to make the score 33-23. The Hoyas did not score until the 1:54 minute in the first half. The basket made was a layup by Hoya Henry Sims.
At the 10:47 minute in the second half the Hoyas tied the game on a layup by freshman Hoya Nate Lubick. Lubick, who seemed to go a tear scoring another layup at the 10:00 minute mark to put the Hoyas up 45-43. After that Orangeman Scoop Jardine came down at the 9:05 minute and made a jumper to tied score 45-45. The two teams did not score until Syracuse big man Rick Jackson made a layup to put the score at 47-45 with 6:46 to go in the game, and after that Syracuse never looked back. With 1:21 to Austin Freeman was fouled by Orangeman Baye Moussa Keita.
Freeman made both of his free throws to put the score 54-51. Senior Hoya big man Julian Vaughn grabbed a big rebound on a missed free throw by Scoop Jardine with :40 seconds to go. A Georgetown timeout was called with :36 seconds to go. Out of the timeout instead of going to the rack Jason Clark shot a three pointer with :28 seconds, but the shot was blocked by Orangeman Kris Joseph.
Brandon Triche grabbed the defensive rebound and was then fouled by Jason Clark. Triche knocked down both pressure free throws to put the score at 56-51 with :20 seconds to go in the game. After a Jason Clark turnover with :12 seconds to go Brandon Triche was fouled by Markel Starks. Triche knocked down both free throws to put the score at 58-51 to end the game.
I liked how the Hoyas had the fight in them in the second half. I knew they had their senior point guard Chris Wright's back. They played as a team. The Hoyas dug down deep inside themselves to try to pull this game out. It was so beautiful to see. I knew my team would not go down without a fight and that they did. They fought until the end. They tried to make up for their mistakes early on but came up on the short end.
"We came out on the losing end," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said, "but whether Chris is out there when Chris gets back, until then we're going to figure this out." "I'm not trying to look for something good, but we responded. It's not like we packed it in. It's not like we took a 'woe is me' attitude. We fought. We scrapped. We got back in it," John Thompson III said. "Are we in a position we thought we would be five days ago? No. But that group in there I've got confidence that we're going to figure it out."
Personally, I think the Hoyas have figured it out, except for one thing, don't start Hollis "Hollywood" Thompson, bring him off of the bench just as we've been doing. His mind has smoothly adjusted to his new role coming off of the bench, and he has been doing great adding a big punch to the defenders with his three point shooting. Start Markel Starks, he's ready, he has grown up.
Will he make a mistake or two, yes or maybe, but the mistakes won't be drastic because he's a pure point guard, who knows his role. He adds skill, heart, determination, a high IQ of his position and the game of basketball. Markel Starks is a smart player and quickly catches on. When a coach shows confidence in him by playing him he's the type of player that will respond above and beyond the call of duty.
The Hoyas have to cut down on the turnovers, and play smarter near and at the end of games. Advertising passes, over passing was the cause of most of the turnovers, so what that means is the guards need to get low before they receive the ball and stay in triple threat position to be a threat to attack the basket a lot more, this especially would cut down on turnovers because the ball would be going into the paint.
The guards also have to give their big man the ball quickly by throwing to ball to the up hand or to the basket where the bigs can go get it and lay it in or dunk it. A lot of times the ball was getting below the foul line but was being kick back out too much, this also caused a lot of turnovers.
But one thing about it, this is something you can correct by going back to the basics of basketball. The triple threat stance and insertion of the ball into the interior. I love talking about guard play. It's seems to be my specialty. I'm just glad God gave me this knowledge and gift. It's something I taught my son and other's and it seems to work everytime. I really seeing my Hoyas fight back, I think that was the best thing about this the fight of the Hoyas! This definitely will carry over for our next game in Cincinnati! My Hoyas still give me something to BELIEVE!
WE ARE GEORGETOWN!