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Cincinnati Handles Georgetown At Verizon Center
Whether it was the 9 p.m. start time, the threat of the end of the season looming or a delayed hangover from the loss against Connecticut, the Hoyas performed poorly on both ends of the court and made only four field goals in the second half of their 58-46 loss to Cincinnati at Verizon Center Feb. 23.
“We have to give Cincinnati’s defensive intensity credit,” coach John Thompson III said. “In general, and definitely in the first half, we were careless with the ball. I thought there were stretches where our defense was OK. Some possessions it felt like they were getting down to the last five or six seconds before they were getting a shot somewhere. A lot of their points were off of our turnovers.”
Austin Freeman was the only player to score more than one field goal all game (7-of-13), and though the star guard made a 10-point scoring run in the last six minutes to tie the game at the half, it wasn’t enough to sustain the momentum.
At the beginning of the second half, Chris Wright had a turnover, but injured his left hand in the process. He was wrapped up on the sideline, came back in, but left 30 seconds later to head to the locker room. Though he did come out a little later with a more intense wrap, he could only sustain another 30 seconds of play before crouching down, clearly in serious pain. Thompson confirmed in the postgame press conference it is indeed a broken hand.
“At first, I thought he was going to be able to play,” Freeman said of Wright. “But then when I saw he wasn’t able to do anything, and then when he asked to come out, I knew something was wrong.”
Cincinnati’s full court press slowed the Hoyas down in the first, but when they moved away from their traditional man-to-man to a more zone defense in the second, the Hoyas never gained footing to counter them.
“We thought we would see a little bit of zone,” Thompson said. “But they played extensively zone, especially in the second half. So we were prepared for it, but did we expect it? No, because traditionally they are a man-to-man team most of the time.”
“We were careless with the ball,” Freeman added. “It was pretty much our fault.”
Though Georgetown played strong defensively in the first half — neither team scored until a cool four minutes into the game — it was not enough to sustain the Bearcats’ attack. Multiple big men, just a few inches away from the 7-foot mark, gathered enough rebounds and steals to dominate on the boards.
The fact that none of the Hoyas shots were falling didn’t help either. Three free throws and four buckets were all the Hoyas could muster in the second half. Thompson said without Wright, the team was “out of sync.” Hollis Thompson scored the first field goal of the second, a three-pointer, at 9:59. Freeman followed, but not until 4:18 was left on the clock. Vee Sanford added his own three about 30 seconds later, but the writing was on the wall. Freeman’s last field goal at 51.1 seconds was a lost cause.
Georgetown plays their last game of the season Feb. 26 at Verizon Center against rival Syracuse.