Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III mustered only a cursory remark after his team’s 65-61 victory: “We needed that.” Given his team’s tumultuous week, nobody dared press him for more.
The Hoyas (2-2, Big East) raced out to a big lead over No. 13 Oregon (2-2, PAC-12) before needing some late-game free throws from junior guard L.J. Peak to seal the deal in the opening match of the Maui Invitational. Georgetown took a 38-21 lead into halftime on a running three by graduate senior Rodney Pryor, who led all scorers with 26 points. Freshman guard Payton Pritchard led the Ducks with 18 points off the bench, catalyzing a 22-4 run that gave Oregon its only lead of the game with 8:48 left in the second half. Senior forward Chris Boucher also contributed for the Ducks, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking five shots.
Georgetown was coming off a week in which they blew a late-game lead against Maryland (4-0, Big Ten) and were dominated by Arkansas State (4-1, Sun Belt) at McDonough Arena. Today, the Hoyas utilized some improved late game execution and tenacity that was missing in the two previous losses, knocking down free throws and challenging every Duck drive to the rim.
The Hoyas shot 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in the first half and held Oregon to just 24 percent shooting. Pryor scored 18 of his 26 in the opening twenty minutes, including 10 points in the last 2:44. The Hoyas also successfully experimented with different defensive schemes, dropping into a zone that flustered the Oregon ballhandlers into seven turnovers and many late-clock scenarios. Riding high into the locker-room with a 17 point edge after Pryor’s buzzer-beating prayer, Georgetown looked to be comfortably in the driver’s seat.
However, that comfort may have led to complacency. Oregon opened up the half on an 11-0 run as Georgetown missed its first 11 shots, and soon the Hoyas’ lead had vanished by way of a Dillon Brooks breakaway layup with 8:48 to go. Emblematic of the game, the Ducks slipped into another scoring drought, managing just two points over the next five minutes of game time. The Hoyas extended their lead back up to 11 over that stretch, capped by a layup and-one by junior guard Tre Campbell.
Hoya fans likely felt “deja vu all over again” after back-to-back Hoya turnovers with under a minute to play, but there was no repeat of the events in the Maryland game. Pryor and Peak combined to go 7-8 from the charity stripe over the last 24 seconds.
Next up, the Hoyas face No. 16 Wisconsin tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. in the semi-final of the Invitational. The game will be televised on ESPN2.