18 lead changes, 11 ties, two overtimes, and one fateful Radford three-pointer later, a promising Georgetown basketball season has turned sour quickly.
The Hoyas (0-1, 0-0 Big East) disappointed in their season opener Saturday afternoon as they lost in double-overtime to Radford (1-0, 0-0 Big South) 82-80 in front of 8,187 dejected fans at Verizon Center.
A double-double from senior center Bradley Hayes (19 points, 12 rebounds) and 15 post-halftime points from senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera were not enough to overcome an overall flat-footed performance from the Hoyas. Radford senior guard Rashun Davis’ game-winning three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining in double-overtime was the final dagger to the Hoyas’ hopes of starting the 2015-16 season on a winning note.
“I think, in general, they made the plays they needed to make to win the game,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III after the loss. “We didn’t get the stops we needed. We didn’t get the rebounds that we needed to win.”
The Radford duo of Davis and senior guard Cameron Jones had a field day at Verizon Center. Including the game-winner, Davis had a game-high 28 points off 12-of-19 shooting, while Jones added 20 points off 8-of-19 from the field. Both combined to shoot 7-of-13 from three-point range.
“At the end of the day, good players made good plays for them,” said Thompson. “We weren’t tricked or fooled, they just came off and executed, set good screens for each other and shooters shot. The guys they wanted to get the shot for got the shot and they went in.”
Radford senior forward Kion Brown’s double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) paced the Highlanders on the glass as they out-rebounded Georgetown 43-37, including 15 offensive rebounds which proved costly for the Hoyas. No Highlander that played is more than six-feet, eight inches tall.
“I think it was heart,” said Hayes. “They just wanted it more than we did in the moment and it’s just that simple.”
Despite a daunting schedule ahead, including No. 3 Maryland (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) looming in their next game Tuesday night and a trip to New York for the 2K Classic next weekend, Thompson refused the notion that his players weren’t focused on Radford.
“I don’t think we were looking ahead,” said Thompson. “I think they just beat us.”
The fact that the Hoyas were able to force overtime was outright miraculous. Down 64-59 with just 42 seconds remaining, all hope appeared lost for the Georgetown faithful at Verizon Center. 16 seconds later, the game was tied, thanks to a three-pointer from sophomore forward Isaac Copeland and an and-one layup from sophomore guard L.J. Peak after stealing the ensuing inbounds pass. Peak missed his free throw attempt and the Highlanders failed to muster a final shot, sending the game to overtime.
The Hoyas had a chance to redeem themselves in the first overtime when Copeland, in a play design similar to the one where he sunk a game-winning three-pointer against Butler last season, missed an open three-pointer from the corner with one second left in the first overtime period to break the tie and give the Hoyas the win.
In the second and final overtime, Smith-Rivera’s layup with one minute remaining put the Hoyas up 80-79. But off of a missed three-pointer from Peak that would have sealed the game for the Hoyas with nine seconds left, Davis raced up the floor for Radford, hitting a contested three-pointer from the left wing to start the Highlanders season on a high note.
“I knew it was going down. I yelled ‘Win the game!’” said Radford Head Coach Mike Jones of Davis’ game-winner. “He’s a competitor.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Thompson struggled to find any positives from the Hoyas’ effort.
“I don’t feel like any [positives] right now,” said Thompson. “I may feel differently later, but I can’t think of any right now.”
The Blue and Gray will now look to regain their footing this Tuesday night when they travel to College Park to face No. 3 Maryland. Tip-off is set for 9:00p.m. Hayes and his teammates are eager to redeem themselves.
“I think we learn from it,” Hayes said. “We go back and we watch film, see what we did wrong and get ready for Maryland on Tuesday.”