- Associated Press - Saturday, November 9, 2013

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Georgetown center Joshua Smith had a harsh assessment of his four-rebound effort in his team’s season-opening loss to No. 19 Oregon at a U.S. army base in South Korea.

“It was kindergarten stuff,” said Smith, a UCLA transfer listed at 6-foot-10, 350 pounds, who had 25 points in front of hundreds of soldiers at Camp Humphreys, south of Seoul, the country’s capital. “Defensively, I didn’t play that well, plain and simple.”

Oregon, led by Joseph Young’s 24 points and five rebounds, beat Georgetown 82-75, using speed and strong free throw shooting to overcome the Hoyas’ size and hustle.

“It’s not a successful day if Josh Smith only gets four rebounds,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.

Speaking of his team and of Smith, he said: “We’re a work in progress. He’s a work in progress. And our size, at the end of the day, wasn’t enough.”

Georgetown, which fought to get within four points with a minute left, had 11 turnovers and missed key free throws down the stretch, while Oregon hit theirs.

Young made all 12 of his free throw attempts for the Ducks, and Jason Calliste, who scored 16 points, was also perfect, with 11 of 11 from the free throw line.

“We’re a good free throw shooting team,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said after the game, as soldiers and players mingled on the gym floor. “Our quickness gave them trouble, and their size gave us trouble.”

Georgetown was outrebounded 40-32 and hit only one of their 15 3-point attempts. Georgetown only led twice in the game, with the opening basket and then briefly early in the second half.

Markel Starks, a senior guard, helped keep Georgetown in the game, hitting the Hoyas’ only 3-pointer with 7:31 left and scoring 16 points.

Oregon opened an early lead in the first half off repeated turnovers and poor shooting by Georgetown, but the Hoyas closed within 37-34 at halftime, carried by forward Mikael Hopkins’ 10 points and Smith’s nine.

Mike Moser had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks.

Oregon guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter were suspended by the school for violating NCAA rules against selling team-issued apparel, and the players didn’t accompany the team to South Korea.

“We just picked up the intensity and made plays to make up for the loss,” Young said.

Oregon was listed as the “home” team, but both schools were far from home. The game, labeled the 2013 Armed Forces Classic, was part of ESPN’s Veteran’s Week, meant to honor the men and women of the U.S. military.

The teams played in special camouflage uniforms — light-colored camouflage for Oregon, dark for Georgetown, and coaches on both teams wore combat boots and military-style cargo pants. Instead of names on the back of their jerseys, Oregon had “USA“; Georgetown had words like “Integrity,” ”Courage” and “Respect.”

Just after dawn Saturday, orderly lines of men and women in uniforms began lining up in the cold air outside the gym. Aside from an occasional whoop, the soldiers mostly stood and talked quietly while waiting for the gym to open. Inside, they cheered loudly for both teams, waving shirts and signs saying “Hi Mom” for the cameras. After the game, the players gave their jerseys and other gear to soldiers and posed for pictures.

“This is very rare for these guys,” 1st Sergeant Sharon Carson, from Silver Spring, Md., said. “They’re young and usually they spend their free time trying to get in trouble. … This keeps them out of trouble. It’s a big thing for them.”



Click to Read More

Click to Hide