Reporting Bobby Bancroft
Against a team desperate for a quality win, ninth-ranked Georgetown dug themselves an enormous first-half hole and never fully climbed out in losing to Pittsburgh 72-60 on Saturday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center.
Georgetown (16-4, 6-3) had exactly a week to recover from a season-low twelve made field goals in a 52-50 win over Rutgers but the Hoyas still looked completely out of sync early on against a Pittsburgh (13-9, 2-7) team that only won their first Big East game of the season on Wednesday.
After an Otto Porter (14 points, six rebounds) put back with 10:32 remaining in the first half, Georgetown didn’t hit another field goal for over seven minutes and the result was a 29-12 deficit that proved to be insurmountable.
Pittsburgh remained perfect (12-0) in their ten year old arena against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top Ten.
With the loss the Hoyas dropped into third place in the Big East standings behind leaders Syracuse and Marquette, who moved ahead of Georgetown with their win on Saturday against Villanova. The top four teams receive a double-bye at the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“Everyone’s performance today, everyone on Georgetown basketball needs to get better,” Coach John Thompson III said in the post game press conference.
While the offense eventually did improve as Georgetown connected on 42.1 percent of their shots for the game, including 10 out of 13 immediately following that initial cold spell, defense and rebounding proved to be non-existent through the contest.
“In both of those areas we were awful,” Coach Thompson III said.
“On the defensive end they got everything they wanted. And when they didn’t they got the rebound.”
Nasir Robinson victimized Georgetown all afternoon by scoring a season-high 23 points on a perfect performance (9-of-9) from the field, which included three uncontested dunks.
The holes in Georgetown’s defense resulted in Pittsburgh shooting 52.1 percent from the field against a team that normally holds opponents to just 39.3 percent.
The Panthers assisted on 20 on their 25 made field goals, eerily resembling the Princeton-like efficiency that the Hoyas have become know for under Thompson III.
Tray Woodall, playing in just his third game in a row after sitting out for an extended period with an injury, had half of those assists to go along with four points.
The Hoyas cut the lead down to just six at 55-49 after a pair of Greg Whittington free throws with 4:12 remaining but Robinson quickly answered and, once again, Georgetown went cold by not hitting a field goal for nearly three minutes.
Henry Sims (ten points, four rebounds, five assists) scored all five of his field goals in the second half, momentarily giving life to a possible Georgetown comeback bid. The senior center was very disappointed with what transpired Saturday afternoon.
“There were a lot of things we could have done better,” Sims afterwards about the loss.
“Overall just a bad defensive performance.”
Noticeably absent during long stretches in the second half was Hollis Thompson (eleven points) who is nursing a groin injury that kept him out of practice earlier in the week. The junior forward, who is second on the team in scoring at 14 points per game, had eight points in the final minute but it was too little, too late for the Hoyas.
For the game Pittsburgh out rebounded Georgetown 33-22.
Up Next: Georgetown returns home to the Verizon Center to take on No. 24 Connecticut at 7pm. The Huskies swept the Hoyas last season winning both at home and then in the Big East Tournament.
Hoyas Notes: Jason Clark has hit just one of his last eight three-pointers after going 5-of-7 in a win at DePaul on Jan 17th.