In its most lopsided loss of the season, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (6-4, 0-0 Big East) fell 83-68 against Monmouth (7-3, 1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in a home game that was not particularly close. After junior guard Justin Robinson hit a three-pointer with 9:45 in the second half to put the Hawks up 11, Monmouth never looked back.
“Robinson is the best guard we’ve played against all year,” Head Coach John Thompson III said.
In addition to Robinson’s 12-point performance, the Hawks had four other players score in double figures, with junior guard Je’lon Hornbeak leading the way with 18 points and five rebounds.
Hornbeak consistently attacked Georgetown’s defense off the dribble, drawing a number of fouls. He attempted 16 of the Hawks’ 37 free throw attempts, making 15.
Beyond just Hornbeak’s excellent shooting performance from the free throw line, the entire Monmouth team shot efficiently, making 31 out of their 37 free throw attempts. In comparison, Georgetown made just 21 of its 33 attempts. At 63.6 percent, the Hoyas’ shooting percentage from the line was well below their 75 percent season average.
“Sometimes I sit here and think the officiating is lopsided, but that wasn’t the case tonight,” Thompson said of the high number of free throws taken. “I thought the officials officiated a good game, I thought both of us did a good job of making sure we got to the line.”
In addition to all the free throws Monmouth made, Head Coach King Rice believed his team’s defense set the tone of the game. According to Rice, the Hawks’ switch from man-to-man defense to zone defense helped them pull away.
“Our kids were really guarding the ball today, and then when we went to the zone, it caught them off a little bit. I think it got them standing and that evened the playing field a little bit,” Rice said.
The Hoyas also had trouble during the game on the other side of the ball. Despite shooting 32.8 percent from the field, Georgetown was still able to mount a final run and put some pressure on Monmouth in the game’s waning minutes. However, the Hoyas’ defensive struggles early on dug too deep of a hole.
“[Monmouth] is best offensive team we’ve played this year. We have to get to where we can rely on our defense in getting stops and we needed to do that today. We didn’t,” Thompson III said. “That coincided with us having a bad day offensively. I’m not trying to discredit them, they worked hard, they were attentive, they contested shots, but at the end of the day it was at the other end of the court and not the offensive end.”
Despite Thompson’s assessment of the game, the Hoyas did struggle against the Monmouth defense. Playing four guards and one big man, the Hawks swarmed the Hoyas’ offense and made post play difficult for senior center and co-captain Bradley Hayes, who recorded just one point in the loss.
Moreover, Hayes shot the ball just four times from the field, a season low. Other than freshman center Jessie Govan, every Hoya to see court time shot below 50 percent from the field. The one bright spot in an otherwise wire-to-wire loss, Govan had 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting in just 17 minutes. If he had not picked up his second foul near the end of the first half, Govan might have played the majority of minutes at center.
Moving forward, the freshman’s aggressive play and decisiveness, two traits that allowed him to score against Monmouth’s zone defensee, should help him see more time on the court, particularly if Hayes is not playing well.
Conversely, sophomore forward Paul White did not play in the loss. The Hoyas will finish off their seven-game homestand Saturday against the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (6-4, 1-0 Big South). Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Southeast.
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