Trumpeted as the team that would bring the fear back to the Georgetown name, the men’s basketball squad (2-1) suffered their first setback – an unexpected one, to many – last Saturday in a 68-61 home loss to Vanderbilt (5-0). Tomorrow, the Hoyas will look to get back on track against the Oregon Ducks.

One needn’t look any further than the box score to figure out why the Commodores, and not the Hoyas, emerged victorious. Despite a strong first half, a brutal second stanza doomed the Hilltop gang.

Over the final 20 minutes, Georgetown managed just 25 points. Vanderbilt netted 39. The Hoyas shot 34.5 percent from the field; the Commodores put 59.1 percent of their shots through the net. Georgetown launched 15 threes; only four went in. Vanderbilt only attempted six shots from beyond the arc; half of them dropped. The Commodores made it to the charity stripe 25 times, hitting 18 of their free throws. Georgetown attempted just 11 free throws, making seven.

The root of this problem was Hoya foul trouble. Roy Hibbert, who after two 20-point performances to start the season was anointed the next great Georgetown center, reminded people that however talented he is, he is still only a sophomore. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert picked up three fouls early, and logged just 13 minutes on the afternoon. The tallest player in the Big East, he failed to grab a rebound. Senior point guard Ashanti Cook also got into foul trouble early on and played just 17 minutes.

Sophomore forward Jeff Green, however, seemed to be back to his usual self. After starting the season with two statistically sub-par performances (13 and 4 points), Green netted 14 points to go along with nine rebounds, three assists, and four blocked shots. Brandon Bowman, a senior forward, also showed signs that he was returning to form, scoring 12 points and skying for nine rebounds.

Oregon comes into the game at 4-1. Interestingly enough, the Ducks’ last game was also against Vanderbilt, a harrowing 76-75 defeat. Vanderbilt’s Mario Moore sank a running 30-footer as time expired to defeat the Ducks.

Hailing from the Pac-10, Oregon is led by sophomore guard Malik Hairston. A McDonald’s all-American out of high school, Hairston was named to the conference all-freshman team a year ago, after averaging 13.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Still just 18 years old, Hairston has averaged 13.3 points so far in 2005. Against Vanderbilt, he led all scorers with 27 points, to go along with nine rebounds.

Junior forward Ivan Johnson, sophomore forward Bryce Taylor, and junior guard Aaron Brooks have supplied Hairston with a solid supporting cast. Against the Commodores, the triumvirate went for 2, 13, and 13 points, respectively. Despite the low output against Vanderbilt, Johnson has averaged nearly 10 points a game.

Sophomore forward Marty Leunen has also been a solid contributor for the Ducks, averaging 8.6 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Oregon boasts two 7-footers, though neither has been a major contributor. Sophomore center Ray Shafer has been good for 7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18 minutes, while senior center Matt Short has contributed just averaged less than a point per contest in limited minutes.

For Georgetown to get back in the win column, they will need a more balanced performance. In their first two games Hibbert starred, with Bowman and Green taking on minimal roles. Against Vanderbilt, roles were reversed. Against the Ducks, the Hoyas need all three to be on their game. Additionally, they will need Ashanti Cook to bring his `A-game’ in running the Georgetown offense. Georgetown cannot afford the senior point guard to spend another game as a non-factor.

Tomorrow, the Hoyas will look to make a statement. No, they aren’t perfect, but a win would resonant very loudly on the Hilltop that the Hoyas are still a team to be feared.

Tip off is set for 3 p.m. EST in Eugene, Ore.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.