Hoyas regroup for Gray Out against Villanova

February 22, 2012

Tuesday night offered the Georgetown men’s basketball team a cruel reminder of the unpredictability of Big East play. Despite entering their road test with Seton Hall as the No. 8 team in the nation, the Hoyas suffered their worst loss of the season, as the Pirates’ sweet shooting catapulted them to a 73-55 blowout victory.

In fairness to the Hoyas, any team would have had trouble with the Pirates on Tuesday night. Seton Hall shot 61 percent from the field, including a sizzling 8-13 from downtown. Senior point guard Jordan Theodore was un-guardable throughout the contest, connecting on all five of his three-point attempts to finish with a career-high 29 points.

“They played a terrific game,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Jordan Theodore played one of the best games that I’ve seen him play all year… He totally controlled everything, and tonight we just didn’t have any answers for him.”

The Hoyas had little to offer in response to their woes on the offensive end as well. Freshman Greg Whittington led the Hoyas with a pedestrian nine points, as the team shot 40 percent from the field and failed to produce a double-digit scorer for the first time all season. Meanwhile, sophomore point guard Markel Starks had one of the worst games of his career, making just one of nine shots to finish with a total of two points. This kind of struggle extended throughout the Hoyas’s starting five, as they managed only 24 points between them—five fewer than Theodore had by himself.

“I think that the frustration at the defensive end carried over to the offensive end,” Thompson III said. “They shot the cover off of it, and we didn’t respond like we normally do.”

On Saturday, they return to the Verizon Center to take on the struggling Villanova Wildcats (11-16, 4-11 Big East), a team in the midst of their worst season since Head Coach Jay Wright took over the program 11 years ago. While Seton Hall was inspired by their postseason aspirations, the Wildcats have little left to play for other than pride.

Nevertheless, the annual matchup with the Wildcats is always a highly anticipated affair, due to a rivalry that stretches back to 1985, when the heavily favored and No.1-seeded Hoyas led by senior center Patrick Ewing fell in the NCAA Championship to the No. 8-seeded Wildcats in one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.

But this ‘Nova squad is a far cry from their NCAA Tournament teams of recent years, let alone that miraculous title winner. They are led by two experienced scoring guards in juniors Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek, who average over 30 points per game combined. Yet both stars, as well as the rest of the team, struggle with inefficiency, and the Wildcats have shot an atrocious 41 percent from the field this season, good for 277th in the nation.

The Hoyas will be keen to avoid another upset and as they look to secure a bye in the first two rounds of the Big East Tournament. South Florida has emerged half a game ahead of the Hoyas into the fourth spot after Tuesday’s debacle, but with a difficult schedule ahead for the Bulls, the Hoyas will certainly have the chance to make up ground. Tip-off against the Wildcats is set for 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Verizon Center.

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