Georgetown's lethargic victory against Mount St. Mary's was a case of the quiet after the storm.
Ten days of exams sandwiched around an emotionally taxing overtime conquest of No. 17 Memphis yielded a predictably pedestrian performance Saturday from the young Hoyas. Playing without their customary passion or sharpness, the Hoyas slogged to 69-58 win against the Mountaineers in a game that failed to enthrall as a near-upset or an elite demonstration.
No. 15 Georgetown (8-1) never truly had its winning streak at Verizon Center - now 27 games - seriously threatened by the hard-luck Mountaineers (3-7), who have dropped five straight by an average of only five points. But after sleepwalking through much of the contest, the Hoyas didn't use the opportunity to refine their game heading into Big East play.
Though Georgetown led by double digits throughout most of the second half, the Mount cut the margin to 58-52 on a steal and dunk from junior forward Kelly Beidler (16 points) with 4:43 left. The Hoyas pulled away down the stretch thanks to a parade to the free throw line.
"I'm not sure if I'm pleased with anyone right now," coach John Thompson III said. "You are going to have bad days physically, days where things don't go right and you miss shots and the opposition has a play or a player that you can't control. But I think that mentally we had a bad day today, which is not good. We did not play well."
Georgetown has only one more tuneup, Tuesday vs. Florida International, before opening league play Dec. 29 at No. 2 Connecticut.
Offensively, the Hoyas lacked their trademark sharpness on cuts, constant movement and commitment to earning point-blank looks. As a result, Georgetown, which entered as one of the nation's best-shooting teams (51.4 percent), shot a season-low 38 percent. While a portion of that performance was due to the Mount's intensity, nobody is likely to confuse it with the daunting defensive units of Memphis and Tennessee, which the Hoyas fared better against on the offensive end. And the Mountaineers didn't have much to do with Georgetown's three missed dunks and 13 missed free throws.
In past seasons, such an effort might have spelled defeat. But unlike its more methodical incarnations under Thompson, this Georgetown bunch can always turn to quicksilver point man Chris Wright (19 points, seven rebounds, four steals) and its superior athleticism and dribble-drive ability when the offense disintegrates.
The sophomore playmaker from Bowie turned in yet another impressive performance, bailing out the Hoyas on stagnant possessions. And the Hoyas earned a season-high 38 trips to the line, scoring 18 more points there than the Mountaineers.
The Hoyas were even less impressive on the defensive end, where the Mount routinely beat them down the floor in transition. The Mountaineers collected 15 offensive rebounds and dominated the larger Hoyas in the low post (scoring 32 points in the paint to Georgetown's 22), largely thanks to the first dud performance from Georgetown freshman center Greg Monroe (eight points, four rebounds).
"Even though we won the game, I don't think any of us feels like we won," said junior forward DaJuan Summers (13 points, four rebounds). "Yes, we're in exams, but we can't use that as an excuse. That's a cop-out. ... Everyone needs to look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do to make sure the next game won't be this way or any game for that matter.
"Because like Coach said, it's not so much that we had a bad shooting night, but more that the effort wasn't there on every possession. That's not how we play at Georgetown. That's not Georgetown basketball."
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