The Princeton offense was working perfectly Saturday afternoon at MCI Center.

But it was not the Georgetown Hoyas who were executing it – it was the Vanderbilt Commodores.

In their home opener, the Hoyas (2-1) got outplayed at their own game on both ends of the floor by the visiting Commodores (4-0) and slumped to a 68-61 loss.

“There was very little that they did that we didn’t know was coming,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III. “It just comes down to focus, execution and making shots. I think we did execute. The ball didn’t go in.”

While the Hoyas’ shots were not falling, the Commodores’ were. Vanderbilt erased a 13-point first-half deficit and hit 59 percent of its shots in the second half to lead Georgetown by as many as 10 late in the contest.

“I thought the key to the game was in the second half we defended and rebounded much better and got to the foul line more,” Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. “They certainly executed much better than us in the first half, but fortunately we were able to come out in the second half and turn it around a little bit.”

Georgetown jumped to an early lead on opening threes from sophomores forward Jeff Green and guard Jonathan Wallace. With a combination of pressure defense and offensive penetration, the Hoyas outplayed the Commodores on both ends of the floor in the first half, hitting 57.7 percent of their shots and going on a 20-10 run that gave Georgetown a 13-point lead with under five minutes to play before the break.

Vanderbilt was able to narrow that lead to seven at halftime, but Georgetown never trailed in the first half, and scored an impressive 22 points in the paint in the period.

“In the first 17 minutes of the game they dominated us physically,” Stallings said. “They were quicker, faster, more aggressive and tougher.”

But in the second half it was the Commodores who were the faster and more aggressive team. They eliminated the Hoyas’ lead in less than five minutes on a 12-3 run that was capped by a dunk from the Commodores’ leading scorer, sophomore swingman Shan Foster, giving them their first lead of the afternoon at 41-39. After Georgetown regained the lead briefly at 42-41 on a trey by freshman forward Marc Egerson, Vanderbilt took control and pulled away, by as far as 10 points and always beyond Georgetown’s reach.

“They just came out and played harder than us,” Green said of Vanderbilt’s play in the second half. “We couldn’t match the intensity. They put out a lead. They kept it. They just maintained it. . They just came out and wanted it more.”

Foster paced both teams with 20 points – 13 of those coming in the second half – and went 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Possibly no points in the game were more important than the two he tallied with a dunk at 15:23 remaining to put his team ahead.

“He makes shots,” Thompson said of Foster. “He’s a very good shooter.”

Foster was not the only good shooter for Vanderbilt on the afternoon. The Commodores hit eight three-pointers and 18 free-throws, with senior guard Mario Moore collecting 12 points off the bench on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor.

For the Hoyas, a return to their home court also meant a return to their regular top scorers. After sophomore center Roy Hibbert had back-to-back career nights to open the season, forwards Green and senior Brandon Bowman – Georgetown’s leading scorers last season – led the Hoyas on Saturday afternoon with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

“As a coach, you get sneaking suspicions,” said Stallings, “and coming in I had a sneaking suspicion that what Green and Bowman had done in the first two games – that today would be a lot different and it was unfortunately. They were both outstanding, I thought.”

Along with Green and Bowman, Wallace and fifth-year swingman Darrel Owens both finished in double-digits. Wallace had 11 on the afternoon and Owens had 10, but the four players could not put enough together to top the Commodores.

After his two big games, Hibbert was quiet on Saturday. After missing his first four shots, he got in foul trouble early, and ended up with six points in 13 minutes.

“The foul trouble is what took him out in the first half,” Thompson said of Hibbert. “In the second half I just thought we were pretty effective with a different group.”

Senior guard Ashanti Cook, who also started off the season with a double-digit average in points, was a non-factor against Vanderbilt as well. Cook had four fouls and zero points on the afternoon.

Vanderbilt marked the first contest of a major three-game non-conference stretch that will test Georgetown and its NCAA tournament potential. While the Hoyas failed the first test, they will have a chance to redeem themselves next Saturday when they travel to Pac-10 power Oregon (4-0) and then again on Dec. 8 when they face off with No. 15 Illinois (5-0).

Tip-off with the Ducks is set for 3 p.m. EST.

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