The Providence Friars’ ability to hit shots in pressure situations downed the Georgetown men’s basketball team for the Hoyas’ third straight time to open Big East play, as Georgetown headed home with a 76-70 defeat.
Following their five-point loss to the Xavier Musketeers (12-2, 2-0 Big East), the Hoyas (8-7, 0-3 Big East) continued to display their crunch time struggles. Despite a career night from sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson — who scored 26 points, went 10-of-16 from the field and 4of-8 from three-point range — rough shooting nights from the team’s two leading scorers did not favor the Hoyas.
Junior guard L.J. Peak, the team’s second leading scorer, regained form on New Year’s Eve against the Musketeers with a 21 point performance, but struggled as he only finished with two points and was unable to get into a rhythm down the stretch.
Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor, who leads the team with 19.8 points per game, settled for threes. He finished with 16 points on 18 shot attempts, 11 of which were from beyond the arc.
The game was closely contested, as no lead was ever greater than eight points. Both teams started the game in sloppy fashion and were unable to take advantage of several opposing-team turnovers.
During a span of four minutes in the first half, no team scored. Providence (10-6, 1-2 Big East), finished the first half strong and headed to their locker room with a 30-23 lead.
“We missed some open shots,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said, “And they went on a run at the end of the first half to take the lead to seven.”
For the first 15 minutes of the second half, the Hoyas continued to trade baskets with the Friars. Derrickson was hot to start the half, but Georgetown’s inability to put together consistent defensive stops prevented them from building a lead.
Meanwhile, Providence converted some tough shots at the end of the shot clock to keep them in the game. At the seven-minute mark of the second half, Georgetown junior forward Akoy Agau blocked a shot that was redirected into the hands of open Providence junior guard Jalen Lindsey, whose subsequent three-pointer put the Friars up five.
After a half of trading baskets, Lindsey’s three changed the momentum. The Friars relied on the balance of their starting lineup, as they played most of the game. Lindsey and three other starters each had at least 15 points.
After Lindsey’s three, the Friars were able to penetrate the Hoyas’ basket and never gave up their lead. Thompson attributes poor defense down the stretch as a cause for the rough patch.
“For the past couple games, about midway through the second half, we let teams execute offensively,” Thompson said. “And that happened again tonight.”
As the Hoyas look to end their slide at the Verizon Center this Saturday, they face a tall task in a Butler (13-2, 2-1 Big East) team fresh off a win against top-ranked Villanova (14-1, 2-1 Big East).
“It’s frustrating,” Thompson said. “But at the same time we’ve got a group that’s been fighting and going to keep fighting.”
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