Coming off of a smack down of Villanova and an overtime thriller against Marquette, Georgetown fans could be excused for expecting the Hoyas to come ready to play against the Xavier Musketeers. However, Georgetown (14-6, 6-3 Big East) fell to Xavier (14-7, 5-4 Big East) for the second time in a thoroughly frustrating game.
The Bad: The first half play of the Hoyas could be most kindly called a disaster. Xavier led the entire half, with Musketeer sophomore guard Myles Davis hitting big threes and dishing in the lane. With 12 turnovers and an abysmal 25% field goal percentage, Georgetown generated just 16 points in the first period, trailing 29-16 going into halftime. Xavier struggled to crack the Georgetown defense, especially given the number of fast breaks generated by Hoya turnovers, as senior guard and co-captain Jabril Trawick and senior center Josh Smith wreaked havoc with steals and blocks. The Hoyas’ frustrations came on the other end of the court, where shots wouldn’t fall and the ball was thrown around as carelessly as a hot potato.
Georgetown managed to slash its turnovers in the second half (only 4) and had sparks of creativity and scoring on offense, even cutting Xavier’s lead to 7 with 3:30 left in the game. But it could not quite close the gap on the Musketeers. The biggest issue came at the charity stripe, where the Hoyas went a miserable 13-24 on free-throws, including a 4-9 effort by Josh Smith). Every time junior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera tried to trigger a run with a bucket, Xavier responded with a basket of its own. Head Coach John Thompson III spent the game pacing the sidelines, alternating between anger and annoyance as layups rimmed out and the Hoyas racked up fouls.
Silver Linings: Fans will not find a whole lot of positives to be taken from this game. The Hoyas reclaimed underdog status, at least.
Freshman guard Tre Campbell had flashes of smart play. He plays aggressive, energetic full court defense every game and will hit open threes consistently. In the second half tonight, he showed range as he ran the court to earn a tough and-one layup. Look for Campbell to continue his rapid improvement as part of a dynamic freshmen class.
Smith — struggles from the free-throw line not withstanding — had a great game. He dominated the defensive paint, sending Xavier layups flying on a couple of occasions. On offense, he used his usual arsenal of spry post footwork to break the Hoyas out of their scoring slump and fought aggressively for offensive boards.
What’s Next: Georgetown will look to bounce back in Big East play as it takes to the the road to visit Creighton (9-12, 0-8 Big East) this Saturday.