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Thompson Opens and Closes Marquette Game With Eight Apiece For Hoyas Win

Hollis Thompson wrote the opening and closing chapters of Hoyas’ 73-70 win against Marquette, scoring eight points at either end in the tight matchup Jan. 4 in front of 11,213 fans at Verizon Center. But it was the play of an almost all-freshmen lineup that gave Georgetown the momentum it needed to get ahead.

Early in the second half, coach John Thompson III substituted out his starters for a lineup of Greg Whittington, Mikael Hopkins, Jabril Trawick, Otto Porter and Jason Clark to narrow down the margin before Henry Sims and Thompson returned to the game to seal the win.

“You got the [starters] are here because they made some big shots and big plays but I think we got a whole lot of other guys in that room. This was lead by defense,” Thompson III said. “And I thought Jason, particularly early in the second half, set the tone and then we bring in Greg, Otto and Mikael, and … that’s the group that got us jump started.”

Thompson (16 points on 6-of-7 shooting) said “it did feel odd” to be on the bench for an extended period of time, but he praised the work the group did while on the floor in bringing the Hoyas within range.

“It seemed like time after time the other team would come down and they couldn’t score,” he said. “I don’t know how long it was but it felt like they didn’t score or get a basket for a long time so they did an excellent job.”

Not to be underestimated was Clark’s performance. He was the most consistent player on the floor with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting and five rebounds. Thompson III said he was getting down on himself in the first half when he didn’t make shots, but turned it around in the second half and his confidence led to more production on both ends of the court, as it did for the team.

Collectively, Georgetown only missed five shots in the second half, a product of their improved focus on the defensive end and elimination of turnovers, which dropped dramatically from 12 in the first half to just five in the second.

“[In the first half,] our poor decisions on offense — whether it be turnovers or bad shots — led to their baskets,” Thompson III said. “So that led to: stop turning the ball over. I thought we were getting shots we wanted. If we stopped turning the ball over and give us a chance to play defense because they were out every time we made a mistake. I think our guys became more attentive [in the second half].”

Defense was lacking in the first half. Marquette scored 22 points in the paint and 10 off turnovers compared to Georgetown’s numbers of eight and two, respectively. In the second half, that all changed. The Hoyas added 13 point off turnovers and held Marquette to just seven. But the points in the paint were more impressive; Marquette had just four in the second half while the Hoyas burst onto the court with 20.

Marquette coach Buzz Williams said, “It was hard to overcome their defense in the second half because they shot so well.”

Clark said though the Hoyas were down by as much as 16 in the second half, the team has confidence they can get back in the game.

“We joke about it but most of the time we have a feeling when we we’re down that we’re not going to lose a game,” he said. “I think that’s a really good confidence to have when you’re down that you’re going to win the game. I got faith in my players and they have faith in me that we’re going to win the game.”

Thompson may have written the closing chapter on this game, but the book for this conference season has just begun.

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