As March nears, schools hanging on the bubble become desperate for quality wins.
Nowhere was that more evident on Tuesday night than in Newark as Seton Hall used a late first-half push to gain separation before eventually blowing out ninth-ranked Georgetown 73-55 at the Prudential Center behind a career-high 29 points from Jordan Theodore.
“Jordan Theodore played one of the best games that I’ve seen him play all year,” Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said in a post game press conference.
“He totally controlled everything, and tonight we just didn’t have any answers for him tonight.”
Georgetown (20-6, 10-5) allowed Seton Hall to shoot 61 percent from the field which was highlighted by the Pirates connecting on 8-of-13 from three-point range.
For the season Georgetown ranks in the top ten nationally in both field goal percentage defense and three-point percentage defense.
It was the worst defensive performance by the Hoyas, shooting-wise, since Thompson III arrived in 2004.
Making matters worse for Georgetown was the fact that the poor defense led to equally poor offense.
For the first time all season the Hoyas finished without a player in double-figures as Greg Whittington led the way with nine points.
“I think that the frustration at the defensive end carried over to the offensive end,” Coach Thompson III said.
“They shot the cover off of it, and we didn’t respond like we normally do. They hit a couple shots early and our frustrations set in and carried over.”
After Otto Porter cut the Pirates (19-9, 8-8) lead to 33-28 moments before the half, Theodore drove the length of the court and was fouled with 1.3 seconds left. Theodore made both free throws to make the score 35-28 at the break.
The Hoyas didn’t ever get much closer in the second half although a Hollis Thompson three-pointer did cut the lead to 39-33 soon after the break. Georgetown spent the rest of the game down by double figures thanks to Theodore’s ability to hit almost everything that he threw towards the basket – 8-of-11 shooting.
“From points to assists to defense to running the team, [Theodore] just played fantastic,” Coach Kevin Willard said in the post game press conference.
Theodore, a senior who has never made the NCAA Tournament, picked the right night to go perfect (5-of-5) from three point range.
Georgetown never seemed to get on track after Nate Lubick picked up two quick fouls and was forced to sit most of the first half. The starting forward went on to play just nine minutes
In total, the Hoya starters combined for just 24 points on 8-of-29 shooting – both numbers far worse than what Theodore accomplished all by himself.
“They played very well and there are a lot of things that we need to do better,” Coach Thompson III said about the loss.
“I don’t think that there is anything that happened today that we can’t get better at it.”
With the loss, Georgetown fell into fifth place in the conference standings which would result in the Hoyas just missing the double-bye at Madison Square Garden.
A double-bye would mean the Hoyas would open up on Thursday March 8 while a single-bye would have them begin their Big East tournament run on Wednesday March 7.
Up Next: The Hoyas returns home Saturday to take on Villanova (11-16, 4-11) at 2pm on CBS.
Hoyas Notes: Georgetown holds a 38-14 all-time advantage in Big East games over Seton Hall but the Hoyas are now just 1-2 at the Prudential Center.