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Hoyas roll past inefficient Texas
NEW YORK — Standing on the free throw line with 2:39 remaining on Tuesday night, Georgetown junior forward Nate Lubick had no idea he had a chance to set his career-high in points. Neither did coach John Thompson III.
By then, that was about the only drama left in a game the Hoyas ended up winning 64-41 over Texas in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
After making his first attempt, Lubick missed the second. He hustled back on defense, committed his third foul and then was replaced, ending his night. It wasn’t until afterward that Lubick found out he had finished with 13 points, tying a record he set on Nov. 14 against Liberty.
Still, Lubick said he wasn’t upset he didn’t remain in the game. After all, he had played well despite wearing a brace on his left elbow. He had sustained the injury in the Hoyas’ last game, an ugly 37-36 victory over Tennessee last Friday in which Lubick played only eight minutes.
From the start on Tuesday, Lubick didn’t show any signs he was hurting, and he said afterward he felt fine. Lubick made all five of his field goals in the first half as Georgetown took a 30-17 lead at intermission.
Four minutes into the second half, Texas guard Javan Felix’s three-pointer from the left wing cut Georgetown’s lead to 32-24. On the next possession, Hoyas guard Markel Starks connected on a three-pointer from the left corner, the start of a 15-3 run over the next six and a half minutes to put the game away.
Georgetown shot only 41.0% from the floor, including 4-for-18 on threes, leading Thompson to call the team’s offense “very stagnant.” Still, he was much more impressed with Tuesday’s game than Georgetown’s last outing, when the Hoyas and Tennessee didn’t score for the final 4:10.
“That game against Tennessee was an anomaly,” Thompson said. “That’s not who we are. That hasn’t been who we are…I don’t think anyone in our locker room, on our staff, on our team, came out of that game thinking we can’t score. That’s not the case at all. That was a blip.”
Meanwhile, Texas had more turnovers (22) and fouls (15) than made field goals (14). The 41 points were the fewest the Longhorns had scored since Jan. 19, 1987 in a 52-37 loss at TCU.
During the Longhorns’ first timeout, coach Rick Barnes asked his team how many turnovers they had committed. Everyone was silent except for one player.
“Two,” he responded.
Texas had seven.
“I’m like, You’re not in the game,” Barnes said. “You’re not in there mentally or something.”
Kabongo, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, has not played this year because the NCAA is investigating his relationship with Rich Paul, LeBron James’s agent. Boyd missed the first two games with an injured right ankle before returning against Chaminade, a Division II team. In that game, which Texas lost 86-73, Boyd came off the bench but sustained a left foot injury after playing five minutes. He hasn’t been back in the Longhorns’ lineup since.
Before the game, Barnes talked with his players about making sure to pass the ball down low. Barnes believed the Longhorns could score from there against a smaller Georgetown team, and they could also draw fouls against the Hoyas.
Barnes said he kept reminding them throughout Tuesday’s game about that plan, too, but they didn’t listen. Texas finished with 20 points in the paint, six fewer than Georgetown. The Hoyas committed 18 fouls, but the Longhorns didn’t capitalize, making only 11 of 21 free throws.
“They didn’t do one thing tonight that we weren’t expecting,” Barnes said.
Georgetown, ranked 15th in The Associated Press poll and 23rd in the USA Today poll, plays again on Saturday at home against Towson. With no seniors on the roster, the Hoyas believe they can continue to improve.
“We are a work in progress,” Thompson said. “I think we’re going to be much better than we are right now. But with each passing day, not just me but the team, the group, is feeling a lot more confident.”
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