Jan. 18, 2014
by Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON - Despite a banner day from junior forward Mikael Hopkins, Georgetown was once again unable to hold onto a double-digit second half lead as the Hoyas dropped a 67-57 decision to Seton Hall in front of 9,786 fans at the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.
Georgetown (11-6, 3-3) has now lost two straight games while Seton Hall (11-7, 2-3) snapped a three game losing streak in winning for the first time in 2014. Georgetown leads the all-time series with Seton Hall at 55-41 and dropped a home game to the Pirates for just the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Hopkins tallied his first ever double-double - the first of the season for the Hoyas - with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
"I thought Mikael played with an energy and a passion that I probably have never seen him play with," coach John Thompson III said about Hopkins. "The kid got 15 rebounds...if he can play with that passion, that's a step toward what we need to figure out."
Playing without regular junior starters Jabril Trawick for the third straight game and Joshua Smith for the fourth straight game, the Hoyas were able to get off to a fast start with Hopkins scoring the game's first six points as Georgetown opened up a 6-0.
"I just came out there being aggressive," Hopkins said after the Hoyas third loss in four games. "I really focused on attacking the glass - offensively and defensively - but it still wasn't enough because they have 15 offensive rebounds which we can't allow to happen."
Smith-Rivera found Hopkins flying down the left side of the court for perhaps the highlight of the game as Hopkins received the pass and flushed it down for a two handed jam that brought the Hoya faithful to their feet with the Hoyas leading 21-18 with 6:51 remaining.
Seton Hall, which made 6-of-12 three-pointers in the first half as a team, took its largest lead of the half at 25-21 after a Jared Sina layup with 5:08 remaining.
Bowen picked up a loose ball after Hopkins blocked Brandon Mobley at the rim and turned it into a coast-to-coast layup to draw the game even at 25 with 4:13 remaining.
After a Eugene Teague free throw momentarily gave the Pirates the lead at 26-25, the Hoyas tallied the final ten points of the half
Senior guard Markel Starks (nine points, two assists) then hit a three-pointer before finding Bowen for a backdoor layup on the next possession to push the lead to 30-26. Moments later Bowen drove baseline before kicking the ball out to freshman forward Reggie Cameron for a corner three-pointer to increase the Hoyas advantage to 33-26 with just over a minute remaining.
In total the Hoyas closed out the half on a 14-1 run while holding the Pirates without a field goal over the final 5:08 in taking a 35-26 lead into the locker room. Less than a minute in the second half Cameron's second three-pointer of the game gave the Hoyas their largest lead of the game at 38-28.
Georgetown, which came into the game with the top three-point field goal percentage defense in the BIG EAST, continued to struggle with defending beyond the arc in the second half as the Pirates made 5-of-8 to finish the game 11-of-20 (55 percent).
Fuquan Edwin had a game-high 24 points, which included 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range.
Seton Hall took the lead for good on a Teague layup with 9:23 remaining to give the Pirates a 50-49 advantage. The Pirates outscored the Hoyas 17-8 the rest of the way and held Georgetown without a field goal over the game's final 9:44.
Recognizing his team's shortcomings over the past few games with different lineups and personnel, Thompson was open and honest about what his team needs to do to right the ship with BIG EAST play heating up.
"We have to adjust, adapt, and change a lot of things - as a coaching staff, as a team - and try to figure that out," Thompson admitted. "We will. We're undermanned, but that's not an excuse. We have enough pieces where we can figure out how to play differently with who we have."
The Hoyas close out their weekend home stand on Monday, Jan. 20, hosting Marquette in an increasingly important game.
"We are going through a little slump right now," said Thompson III. "It's very important a game"
The game will be shown live on Fox Sports 1. Fans locally can tune in to Sports Talk 570 AM for the radio call of Rich Chvotkin.
* With his first half three-pointer, Markel Starks moved into a 10th place tie in school history.
* Starks cracked the Top 25 in school history with his two assists. Starks moved past Brandon Bowman ('06) with his 233rd career assist.
* Nate Lubick is narrowing in on joining his classmate with 228 career assists.