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Chris Wright’s 24-Point Outing Leads To Hoyas Fifth Straight Win

Originally published at GeorgetownPatch.com.

What started out as a defensive faceoff soon turned into an offensive battle in the Hoyas’ 62-59 win against No. 13-ranked Louisville at the Verizon Center, Jan. 31.

The game read like senior guard Chris Wright’s free throws—bounce, bounce, swish—took a couple extra bounces, but eventually points were on the board.

The first half had a slow pace, ending with a 22-18 Hoya lead and more combined turnovers than shots. Both teams scored less than 31 percent in field goals from anywhere on the court, but gathered more than half their rebound totals in the first half. Georgetown (17-5, 6-4) gave up eight turnovers to Louisville’s 11. Because of the high amount of turnovers, the Cardinals (17-5, 6-3) were not able to as effectively execute the full court press they commonly use. The opportunities just weren’t there.

“We got stops. They weren’t scoring, so they couldn’t press,” coach John Thompson III said. “They do press off missed shots also, but because we were getting rebounds and turnovers, the opportunity for them to set up their press didn’t show up as much as they would have liked.

“That’s what they do. They pressure you the whole game and they play a zone. And that’s all they do and they’re good at it.”
The Cardinals were able to pick up their press in the second half, but Georgetown, who was struggling overall defensively at the beginning of the season and the beginning of Big East play, made a strong showing on that end of the court.

“The guys are beginning to take ownership,” Thompson III said. “You have to guard you’re man and you teammates are going to help you. They’re going to be there to have your back, but at some point, it’s not about let’s do this, let’s do that, let’s go over, let’s go under. It’s ‘I gotta stop him,’ and I think the guys are doing a better job of approaching it with that mentality and the support behind whoever has the ball has been better.”

Wright had his best game of the season, scoring 24 points, three assists and five rebounds while going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He was also a big part of the Hoyas’ increase in scoring percentage in the second half, from 31 percent to 76.5 percent.

With three minutes left in the game, Wright drove down the lane and made a hooked layup mid-fall as a defender laid on top of him. The shot tied the game at 55-all. A missed 3-pointer by Chris Smith gave Hollis Thompson the rebound and he shot a three with two minutes left to put the Hoyas up 58-55.

“Honestly, I came in and Julian (Vaughn) set a great screen and I saw an open shot and I took it,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t really thinking about time to score, maybe I should have.”

Preston Knowles made three consecutive shots attempts following Thompson’s 3-pointer.

“We were really focusing on getting the rebound that play,” Thompson said. “When we focus on getting the rebound, we focus on packing inside the key. A lot of those rebounds were flying over our heads. We needed to box out five people instead of boxing out players in the key.”

Thompson fouled Peyton Siva following the consecutive rebounds, and Siva made both free throws. Smith fouled junior guard Jason Clark on the ensuing play, and Clark, who had not scored any points all night, made both free throws to put Hoyas up by three, 60-57.

Terrence Jennings made the dunk to close the score, but Wright made two free throws for the 62-59 win.

The Hoyas have a four-day layoff before facing Providence at the Verizon Center Feb. 5. The unranked Friars are currently 14th in the Big East with a 13-9 record and have lost seven of their last nine games.

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