The Hoyas were a well-oiled machine last March, but Saturday, despite a victory over William & Mary, they showed they still have some rust left to shed before they can return to that same level of play.

Georgetown took roughly 20 minutes to warm up in its season opener against William & Mary Saturday, only closing out a 68-53 victory in the last six minutes.

“You have to grind it out,” senior guard Jonathan Wallace said after the game.

Grind it out they did. The lead changed nine times in the first half, with the Tribe never leading by more than five (5-0) and the Hoyas never by more than six (16-10).

“That’s how our games play out,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We have methodically pulled away [in our wins].”

In the first half, Georgetown had trouble getting senior center Roy Hibbert involved on the offensive end. The Hoyas faced a zone defense, which both took away backdoor cuts and made it difficult to pass the ball into Hibbert.

“[We had to make] a few adjustments on the angles and how we get it to him,” Thompson said.

The troubles inside led to an overabundance of three-point attempts – Georgetown took 17 three-point shots in the first half, compared to just nine in the second.

Georgetown’s troubles were not limited to the offensive end. The Hoyas allowed the Tribe to shoot 45.8 percent from the field in the half, and William & Mary’s leading scorer, senior forward Laimis Kisielius, scored all of his 16 points in the first half.

“[They’re a] team that runs a complicated offense that’s hard to defend – both man and zone,” Thompson said. “They got too many second shots.”

The result was a disappointing 35-30 Georgetown lead at the half. Wallace scored the final five points of the stanza in the last 1:14.

The Hoyas came out stronger in the second half, never relinquishing their halftime lead, but it was still far from a dominating performance. Georgetown led by just two with 9:48 to go in the second half, when Hibbert made adjustments and went to work. He scored nine of his game-high 23 down the stretch, finishing just three points shy of his career high. Over that same stretch, Georgetown extended its lead to as many as 18 points.

“Once Hibbert gets it you can’t stop him, basically,” William & Mary Head Coach Tony Shaver said.

Sophomore guard Jessie Sapp was impressive in the season opener as well, playing consistently throughout the game. Sapp scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and notched six assists.

The Hoyas’ offensive production was concentrated in four players, who scored 66 of the 68 total points. In addition to Hibbert and Sapp, Wallace had an all-around solid performance with 15 points, four assists and two steals, while sophomore forward DaJuan Summers added 10 points and six rebounds before getting into foul trouble.

“Physically they just wear you out,” Shaver said. “Their shooters are too good.”

Senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr., who started on Saturday in place of now-Seattle Supersonic Jeff Green, failed to score at all, but did manage to pick up three rebounds and three steals.

The bench, while long on minutes, was short on production. The bench combined for 55 minutes, eight rebounds and only two points, and was scoreless for 30 minutes of the game until freshman guard Austin Freeman sunk a jump shot from just inside the three-point line with about 10 minutes to go in the second half.

The debut of Freeman and fellow freshman guard Chris Wright was underwhelming. Freeman managed just the one basket and three rebounds in 12 minutes of play, and Wright was unproductive, turning the ball over three times and not recording a point or a rebound. Wright broke his foot last month, and Thompson said that he has not been practicing much and that he “left him out there a little longer than . anticipated.”

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