Georgetown started fast and kept the game just out of Tulane’s reach Monday night, beating the Green Wave 69-53 in the Hoyas’ home opener. Austin Freeman led the first-half charge by nailing four first half triples and finished with a game-high 23 points, while Jason Clark finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 steals. The Hoyas led for all but the opening minute and held a double digit lead for 30 minutes, bookending runs of 14-1 and 17-3 around a ten-minute lull that stretched over half time. A few quick thoughts:
- Hero. Freeman, whose 15-point first half helped put the Hoyas up twenty at two points before the half. For those who thought Big East Preseason Player of the Year took a bit too long to get going against Old Dominion, Freeman scored early and often, hitting on Georgetown’s first two possessions and effortlessly scoring from all over. Runner up: Clark, who provided all around brilliance, leading the Hoyas in rebounds and steals while again showing he’s taken a step up offensively since last year.
- Goat. Again, the broadcast. ESPN3 ran the same four ads — Dunkin’ Donuts pancakes and sausage, Samsung smart televisions, Verizon, and a preview for The Next Three Days — on a loop throughout the game and in so doing televised more Eli Manning and Russell Crowe than JTIII or Chris Wright. Runner up: the announcing. If you didn’t know that the analyst coached Tulane coach Ed Conroy years ago, you had approximately 25 opportunities to learn throughout the course of the game.
- Critical Stretch. After racking up a twenty-point first-half lead, the Hoyas relaxed a bit, getting sloppy on offense (not coincidentally, with the second stringers getting more minutes), hoisting ill-advised jumpers, and gradually letting the Green Wave back into the game. Ahead by just nine four minutes into the second half, Georgetown turned to their veterans: Freeman converted his second four-point play of the season, then, after a Tulane basket, Jason Clark scored five straight, making the lead 16. The Hoyas scored another eight straight, pushing the lead past 20 and putting the game out of reach for good.
- Half Empty. Julian Vaughn was out with an undisclosed illness that caused him to be taken to the hospital last night. Rumors that an illness affected some Hoyas around the time of their opener against ODU may be related. In any case, best wishes to the big fella. [Update: Coach Thompson said no decision has been made about whether Vaughn will accompany the team to the Charleston Classic. The Hoyas leave Tuesday afternoon for the tournament but do not play until Thursday, then have two more games on Charleston, on Friday and Sunday.] Runner Up: post play. Granted, Vaughn’s absence hurt the Hoyas’ interior scoring, but through two games, the Hoyas have just 10 points in 134 minutes from their four biggest players.
- Half Full. Vee Sanford, after not playing at all against ODU (rumor has it, because of an illness), scored a career-high 10 points in 19 minutes Monday night. He mixed in two smooth three-pointers with a couple of moves to the basket, including one particularly sweet spin move. Runner Up: Nate Lubick and Hollis Thompson, the latter of whom had a solid eight points, five rebounds, and a point, steal, and block apiece, executed a beautiful give-and-go. Lubick, finding himself at the top of the key, swung the ball to Thompson on the wing, then bolted for the hoop, where Thompson fed him for a strong, contested finish. Second Runner Up: Henry Sims, who had two points, five rebounds, and a pair of assists. While expectations for Sims have declined since his arrival on campus, he’s contributed positively in both games thus far. Shhhhh……
- Sightings. Walk-ons Ryan Dougherty and John Caprio got their first action of the season, as did freshman Aaron Bowen. None scored a point, grabbed a rebound, or got an assist, block, or steal, but good to see them getting a bit of experience none the less.
- Conclusion. Georgetown was supposed to beat Tulane handily, and did, even without its lone starting post. Freeman and Clark provided the necessary scoring, while Wright was comfortable as a distributor, dishing out eight assists. Sometimes lacking for motivation, the Hoyas nevertheless looked cohesive and well-tuned, particularly for so early in the season. While, again, too many points came from the perimeter, Hoya fans best steel themselves for more of the same throughout the season. Georgetown now heads south for the Charleston Classic, in which they’ll face Coastal Carolina Thursday at noon.