Hollis Thompson hit a game-winning three-pointer with 1.8 second to play, capping a thrilling road win for the Hoyas and narrowly averting last-minute disaster. Georgetown held back the Tide for 37 minutes of play, building and re-building a lead that swelled to nine points with just under three minutes remaining. But just as soon as the Hoyas seemed ready to cruise to a dominating road victory, they went cold, the Tide got hot, and a combination of questionable calls and a rowdy home crowd pushed Alabama ahead by one with twelve seconds to play. But Jason Clark, who steadily lead the Hoyas with 22 points in an otherwise offensively challenged game, fed Hollywood on a pick-hand-off play on the right wing, freeing Thompson’s silky jumper from well beyond the arc, which sank as smoothly as ever.
A two-point win (as opposed to a one-point loss) may not really prove much. The whims of luck, fate, or your term of choice for semi-random events factor too much in such a tight game. But Georgetown didn’t just hang with a top-fifteen team for forty minutes, it largely dictated the pace of play. The Tide seemed dumbfounded by the Hoyas’ 2-3 zone for much of the night, and only erratically cracked it toward the end. On offense, the Hoyas weren’t pretty, but Clark, Thompson, and Henry Sims (13 points, including a personal 7-0 run) did just enough to the keep the Tide at bay. The Hoyas accomplished all of this in front of a sellout crowd in an arena from which no opponent–including last year’s Final Four-bound Kentucky squad–had emerged victorious in a season-plus.
Georgetown’s win on Thursday had all the substance to support the most hard-headed thinking, but also the emotion that we all seek in sports. Our pulses raced, as Thompson’s incomparably gorgeous three fell softly through the net. We felt pride, seeing the next generation of Hoyas prove themselves in a difficult environment in front of a national audience. And thanks to twitter-induced proximity, we nostalgically remembered how it felt to see previous Hoya squads prove themselves, just as those Hoya legends reacted to their younger brethren’s triumph.
Thursday night was not perfect. Georgetown relied too much on its veterans, as the much-lauded class of freshmen and their much-improved sophomore teammates deferred to readily to their older teammates, particularly in shouldering the scoring load. The offense was turgid for much of the game, a combination of uninsipired passing and errant shooting. The Hoyas yielded a 10-point run in the last three minutes that nearly conceded a game that should have been in the bag.
But even in a decidedly imperfect game, there was so much to love. There was Clark, repeatedly proving himself in such a young season. Sims took what was given to him, dominating the post when the Tide’s big man JaMychal Green exited with foul trouble. And, especially at the end, here was Thompson, a pure scorer for his first two years, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and handing out three assists on an off shooting night, only to reemerge as the hero in the waning seconds. For a young team with unproven leaders, and its ever hopeful fan-base believing ever incrementally more in this year’s cast of characters, Thursday’s win wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t far.
More tomorrow, but in the meantime read more about it here.