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Hoyas’ Solid Effort Leads to Win Against Defending Champs
UConn coming to Verizon Center was a must-win game for the Hoyas, and not even because it followed a poor outing at Pittsburgh just days before. Georgetown had good standing in the Big East on the line and they responded, holding the defending NCAA champs to their lowest point total of the season in a 58-44 win.
“It was good to have this type of performance, absolutely because I thought we played well. I thought we played well at both ends of the floor,” coach John Thompson III said. “Going through it, they were off, particularly in the first half, they got a lot of open shots that didn’t go in. But I think our defensive communication; I think our intensity throughout the whole game was very good.”
In Pittsburgh, the Hoyas struggled defensively, especially on the boards, a theme Thompson has stressed throughout the year as a place where the Hoyas can have success if they get the rebounds.
Wednesday night against Connecticut was not a problem in that department. After letting the Huskies score a quick nine points in the first three minutes, the Hoyas rallied back and regained the lead with a three-pointer by Hollis Thompson (18 points, nine rebounds), a lead they would never relinquish.
“I thought this was one of the better games Hollis has played because he did so many things,” Thompson III said. “He was an active part in every aspect of the game and was extremely effective, I think, in every aspect of the game.”
Jason Clark had kept them in the game during that stretch, scoring seven of the Hoyas first nine points for his 11-point total. He assisted in holding down Huskies’ leading point-scorer Jeremy Lamb to 14 points on 4-of-18 shooting, only 2-of-11 from three.
Henry Sims was also huge in his match-up with Andre Drummond, who scored a team-high 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting, but none from three and zero from the line. About eight minutes into the second half, the Huskies cut it to six. Clark pulled the Hoyas out with four points, but a big Sims dunk seemed to change the pace and get the crowd on its feet.
“Everybody was just like, ‘Whoa, on his head,'” Thompson said of the bench’s reaction. “It was a great dunk.”
“It felt good to get that off but it was a momentum-shifter,” Sims said. “It kept the momentum going and made the crowd come alive a little bit.”
The general take away from the performance was communication and attentiveness. Thompson III repeated it numerous times postgame, saying his players utilized it well. He stressed the importance of its uses in big games and how paramount it will be to keep it up if they hope to remain at the top of the Big East.
Georgetown now sits in third place in the Big East behind Syracuse, who they play Wednesday and Marquette, who they have beaten once this season and play again March in their last regular season game.