- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2006

MILWAUKEE — The Georgetown Hoyas have contracted a nasty case of a stretch-run swoon.

Collapsing in the clutch for the second consecutive game, No. 17 Georgetown dropped a 57-51 decision to Marquette last night at boisterous Bradley Center. The suddenly suspect Hoyas (17-6, 8-4 Big East) travel to No. 4 Villanova on Sunday staring squarely at the possibility of the season’s first three-game losing streak.

Despite a rare poor performance on the offensive end, the Hoyas still had an excellent opportunity to salvage last night’s game against the Golden Eagles (17-8, 7-5) when senior point man Ashanti Cook drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:52 remaining to give Georgetown its first lead of the second half at 49-48. But just as they did against West Virginia in last Sunday’s loss at MCI Center, the Hoyas fatally floundered in the game’s waning minutes.

“We did not play well tonight,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “But that last stretch I thought they made plays more than any real negligence on our part.”

Thompson isn’t likely to still feel that way after reviewing the tape.

Sure, Marquette made plays. Senior guard Joe Chapman hit a critical 3-pointer to put the Golden Eagles ahead 51-49 with 2:26 remaining. Dynamic freshman point guard Dominic James (16 points, five assists) dropped a gorgeous baseline floater to extend the lead to 53-49 with 48 seconds left. And Chapman and senior gunner Steve Novak (19 points) made all four of the team’s free throws down the stretch.

The Hoyas followed the Cook 3-pointer with the following results on their next five possessions: walk (Jeff Green), offensive foul (Cook), airball (Brandon Bowman), turnover (Jonathan Wallace along the baseline) and no-chance, backboard-rattling 3-pointer (D.J. Owens).

Meanwhile, sophomore center Roy Hibbert (17 points, eight rebounds) never got a touch down the stretch. The Hoyas forgot about the 7-foot-2, 283-pound Hibbert for the bulk of the second half.

“Every time coming out of timeouts, we said we want to throw it in. We have to throw it in, and we didn’t get that done,” Thompson said. “You’ve got to give those guys credit for some of that. They did a good job of denying Roy the ball. But I definitely agree that we didn’t get it inside enough.”

The lack of touches for Hibbert might not have proved so costly if anybody else had heated up on the offensive end. Green, the team’s primary offensive option and trigger man, endured one of the worst nights of his career, scoring just two points and committing a career-high eight turnovers.

“That’s probably the worst game I’ve ever seen Jeff Green play,” said Thompson after watching his 6-9 sophomore forward pick up his second foul on a call on the offensive end with 10:13 remaining in the first half and never really find his flow after spending the remainder of the half on the bench. “He picked up a couple of quick fouls and never got into a rhythm. That’s happened once in two years. Unfortunately, it was tonight.”

Even Green’s struggles would not have mattered if the Hoyas had heated up from the outside. But typically reliable 3-point marksmen Cook (1-for-7), Owens (0-for-2) and Bowman (0-for-3) were all miserable from 3-point range, putting the final touches on a miserable offensive evening.

“We had several guys who didn’t play well tonight — it wasn’t just Jeff,” Thompson said. “Hopefully it’s out of our system, and we’ll be regrouped and ready for Villanova.”

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