- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A little less than a month ago, the Georgetown men’s basketball team cracked the national rankings, lost to Xavier by double-digits, and quickly dropped out of the Top 25.

On Tuesday night, the Hoyas were back in the rankings and back on the court against the Musketeers. And the result, too, was more of the same.

In a performance that fell somewhere between deja vu and a nightmare, the Hoyas got off to a putrid start and never recovered, falling flat against Xavier in a 66-53 loss. The defeat ended Georgetown’s four-game winning streak while also knocking them out of first place in the Big East — and maybe the Top 25, too.

“I don’t know how, big picture, to sum up today,” coach John Thompson III said bluntly. “We did not play well. They played very well.”

Georgetown might have played as poorly in the first half as it has in any half all season. After the first eight minutes of the game, the Hoyas had four turnovers and only six points. After 14 minutes, they had nine turnovers and eight points. At halftime, they had 13 turnovers and 16 points on a mere four field goals.

“I don’t think it’s a question of energy. I don’t think we were lethargic out there,” Thompson said. “I just think we made mistakes.”

Jabril Trawick was the main culprit with five first-half turnovers, including several in the opening minutes. Thompson admitted the senior might have trying too hard early in the game.

The team seemed to adopt a similar mentality as the half went on and shots continued to rattle out. Georgetown didn’t record a single offensive rebound or fast-break point, shot 25 percent from the field and went more than 11 minutes without a field goal in one stretch.

“I mean, they played pretty good on-ball defense,” junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera said. “I think today people were sticking to the ball too much. Maybe we could’ve flowed a little bit better.”

Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas with 13 points, all of them in the second half as the team slowly climbed back into the game. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 17-6 run, pulling Georgetown to within 54-47 with 3:54 remaining.

Xavier knew that run was coming and dug in its heels from there.

“You’re not going to go in this league and beat somebody by 40 points and have them quit,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “I thought our guys really locked in. They understood where Georgetown was cutting, who was trying to get the ball.”

Myles Davis led the Musketeers with 19 points, and center Matt Stainbrook added 12. His matchup with Joshua Smith was one of the focal points of the game; Stainbrook is listed at 6 feet 10, 270 pounds, and Smith at 6 feet 10, 350 pounds. Smith finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

Thompson was frustrated with his team’s offensive sloppiness and selfishness throughout the game. Afterwards, he lamented that the Hoyas were too eager to get quick shots rather than make Xavier’s defense work.

Though they improved in that area as the game progressed, the early mishaps were too much to overcome. Georgetown couldn’t fight all the way back, nor prevent its recent history against Xavier from repeating itself.

“The hole was just too deep to climb out of,” Thompson said.

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