What's behind Georgetown's post struggles?

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Chris Wright, owner of the most scrutinized left hand in Washington these days, isn’t the only player the Georgetown basketball team misses. There’s the old Julian Vaughn.

The senior uses his 6-foot-9, 250 pounds to do Georgetown’s dirty work in the post. But in the three games Wright has missed, Vaughn’s production has declined precipitously.

Things got so bad during Wednesday’s 17-point loss to UConn in the Big East Tournament that coach John Thompson III limited Vaughn to 12 minutes. Vaughn didn’t struggle alone. Georgetown’s four main big men — Vaughn, Nate Lubick, Henry Sims and Jerrelle Benimon — combined for four points, 14 fouls and nine turnovers in the game.

“They were not playing well so we went with a different lineup,” Thompson said Wednesday of Vaughn and Sims. “Does that affect things? Yes. But they were not producing. You have to produce.”

Vaughn averages eight points and six rebounds per game, but hasn’t hit a shot in three contests without Wright. In those games Vaughn is 0-for-9 from the field with almost as many fouls (nine) as rebounds (10).

He attempts almost two fewer field goals without Wright (as a team, Georgetown’s field goal attempts are down by less than two) and has shot only four free throws in the last three games. All came against Syracuse Feb. 26.

Diminutive UConn point guard Kemba Walker highlighted the post problems Wednesday when he chased down three offensive rebounds in the paint. That’s part of the trend without Wright, one not fully explained by his absence. Without him, Georgetown averages almost seven fewer defensive rebounds — dropping from 34.4 per game to 27.3.

To be fair, Lubick is a freshman and has struggled with fouls (nine in the last two games) and Sims is coming off a seven-minute, three-turnover outing.

The post issues are part of the Wright-less puzzle Georgetown is trying to solve. Scoring has dropped from 72.9 points per game to 53.3 points. Field goal percentage (48.9 to 36.8) and assists (15.4 to eight) are down, too.

Wright, who hasn’t played since Feb. 23, is expected back for next week’s NCAA Tournament.We’ll see if the old Vaughn — and improved post play — returns, too.

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