I wish I could say otherwise, but I think the nation has found the chink in Georgetown’s armor. After two consecutive conference losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse, Georgetown has proven that it is not a clutch team – yet.

I say the Hoyas are not a clutch team because in two straight games, and in all three of their losses this year, the Hoyas have either led late in the game or had a solid shot at coming back. Every time, they’ve fallen short. I say “yet” because there’s still time for Georgetown to find that killer instinct and play to its true potential as a national top-10 team.

Georgetown has not had the poise of a top team. That much was clear in the late minutes of the Notre Dame game. With the score tied at 59-59 and Troy Murphy on the bench, Georgetown should have easily put the game away. The television announcers even said as much. Yes, Notre Dame is a top-25 team, but without Murphy they are mediocre at best. The Hoyas didn’t finish off the Irish. Abysmal free throw shooting and poor decision-making sealed their fate.

And those same shortcomings dominated the first half of last night’s game against the Orangemen. Georgetown was not on its game. Dribbling into traffic, soft-passing and forced shots only accentuated the Hoyas’ scoring problems in a first half that saw them shoot only 31 percent from the floor. On the other end of the court, Syracuse pulled down a steady stream of offensive rebounds to pull away early.

In the second half the Hoyas began to show glimpses of their true potential, clawing their way back into a game that many considered to be over at the half. But, the tide turned once again on a referee’s call that ended Wesley Wilson’s night and killed any and all momentum that Georgetown had accumulated. Then the team forced a few shots, made a few more mental mistakes and before long the coffin was sealed and Syracuse was back up by 12. A team that wants to make a case for a top-10 ranking, or last into the late rounds of the NCAA tournament, cannot make the mistakes that Georgetown has made in its last two losses.

I kept trying to tell myself that the real Hoyas weren’t playing those games. Deep down I think I may be right. I’ve seen the real Hoyas play. The gutsy, gritty team that knocked off last year’s powerhouse Syracuse team in the Big East tournament. The same team that hung in to pull out a triple-overtime victory against Virginia even after the Hoyas missed their goal of the NCAA tournament.

Those Hoyas played sound, fundamental basketball. Those Hoyas didn’t shoot 53.8 percent from the line like the team that played the Fighting Irish on Saturday. Those Hoyas didn’t shoot 35 percent from the floor like the team that lost to the Orangemen.

But it is the same team. The same men fill the same jerseys they filled last March. Georgetown is that same Georgetown, and we have undoubtedly improved with the additions of freshmen Gerald Riley and Mike Sweetney. So why has Georgetown dropped its last three of four games?

With the return to national prominence by this year’s team, the pressure has increased tremendously on Georgetown. And with the ease of the Hoyas’ early season schedule, the team has been under scrutiny to perform against the more legitimate competition of the Big East.

Many, including myself, believed that the Hoyas gained that legitimacy with two wins against Seton Hall. Since then, however, the Pirates have suffered losses to Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Suddenly Georgetown’s wins don’t seem quite as big as they once did.

The Hoyas now have something to prove again. The pressure only increases as the season draws to a close, and the Hoyas have to once more show they are the legitimate contender that many fans on this campus know them to be.

Related Links

 Men’s Basketball Page

 Men’s Basketball Schedule

 Men’s Basketball Roster

 Box Score vs. Notre Dame (1/27)

 Box Score vs. Syracuse (1/29)

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