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Hoyas get trapped by USF
There was one word that summed up Georgetown’s performance against South Florida Wednesday night: foul.
The No. 7 Hoyas (16-5, 6-4 Big East) couldn’t hit their foul shots, saw their star big man sunk by foul trouble, and were left with a foul taste in their mouths after blowing a nine point halftime lead to lose 72-64 to the unranked Bulls (15-7, 5-5 Big East).
Coming off a convincing victory over then No. 7 Duke Blue Devils, the Hoyas were riding high, looking to roll against the Bulls en route to a matchup with No. 2 Villanova this Saturday. But a suddenly hot USF squad proved to be more than Georgetown could handle.
“I don’t exactly know what happened tonight,” sophomore center Greg Monroe said. “We definitely weren’t looking backwards, and we definitely weren’t looking forward. As a team we have to be more focused on games like this.”
Monroe gave the Hoyas their best opportunity to win, scoring 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and pulling down eight rebounds. But he was in foul trouble for most of the second half, and fouled out with three minutes to go in the game.
The big man was also 3-of-7 from the free throw line, a problem his teammates shared. The Hoyas hit just 11 of their 22 attempts from the stripe, missing six of their last eight as they tried to mount a comeback.
“We take pride in controlling the things we can control,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. “Today we didn’t, just overall I don’t think, control the things we can control, be it foul shots, be it turnovers.”
Georgetown had 14 turnovers to USF’s eight.
For the most part things had been going the Hoyas’ way in the first half, but the Bulls were able to rally as Monroe receded, and their star shooting guard Dominique Jones was able to break out.
In the first minute of the second half, Monroe picked up his second and third fouls in immediate succession. After the game, he maintained his play was not affected, but from that point on he scored just seven points and never grabbed another rebound.
Jones, meanwhile, had been shut down by the Hoyas for much of the first half. But the Big East’s leading scorer in conference play could not be contained.
“I’m pulling out my hair—the hair I have—and saying what play can we run, what can we do to get this guy, because if we don’t get him involved, we’re done, we’re toast,” USF head coach Stan Heath said. “Once he got going, boy he was really hard to stop.”
Jones could not be stopped in the second half, scoring 22 of his game-high 29 points after the break.
An ecstatic Heath heaped praise upon Jones in the postgame press conference, offering a stark contrast to the sullen and reticent Thompson.
“I’m really amazed at our team. This was the best win in our school history,” Heath said. “We’ve never beaten anybody of this magnitude on the road.”
This was the kind of game USF never wins, and the defeated, clearly disappointed Hoyas knew it.
Georgetown looks to rebound at home this Saturday against Vilanova at 12 p.m.