Hoyas Explode in Second Half to Top Bulls
Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 14:02
A low-scoring snoozer between the Big East's top-ranked defensive teams Saturday morning suddenly became an entertaining track meet after the halftime break, as No. 14 Georgetown (18-4, 8-3 Big East) overcame early offensive struggles to cruise to a 75-45 victory over South Florida (13-10, 6-4). Senior center Henry Sims scored 13 points to lead five Hoyas in double figures, and also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists in the win.
Both teams appeared to take a while to get the sleep out of their eyes for the 11 a.m. tipoff, combining for 16 turnovers and 38 points in the first half. Georgetown entered the locker room with an eight-point lead, despite shooting only 34.8 percent from the field.
"It wasn't [disconcerting] because we felt we were getting stops and we knew that the shots would start going in," Head Coach John Thompson III said. "Inasmuch as they are a very good defensive team, I don't think we weren't getting good looks. ... We were not concerned with offensive rhythm."
The Bulls, meanwhile, made even the Hoyas' mediocre first-half shooting display look good. US"F appeared lost on offense, reeling off a series of awful passes, sloppy displays of ballhandlng and badly missed three-pointers that could easily fill up a "Not Top 10" list on "SportsCenter."
"It's been our recipe for lack of success," USF Head Coach Stan Heath said of his team's turnover woes. "We did the same thing against Marquette — we had 22 in that game. When we've had losses, that's typically the magic number that sticks out."
The second half was a completely different game. The Blue and Gray extended their lead by uncharacteristically pushing the ball and shooting a blistering 65.2 percent from the field. USF cleaned up its game as well, doubling its 15-point first-half effort, but was unable to catch the suddenly red-hot Hoyas.
"All of athe sudden the avalanche opened up, especially with some of that back-door scoring and the three-point shooting, which is what you have to take away from Georgetown," Heath said.
Second-half highlights included a slick no-look pass from freshman guard Jabril Trawick to sophomore forward Nate Lubick for a thunderous dunk — though Lubick was immediately whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim — and a stunning alley-oop from sophomore guard John Caprio to redshirt freshman forward Aaron Bowen.
Freshman forward Otto Porter scored 12 points, senior guard Jason Clark netted 11 and Trawick and sophomore guard Markel Starks chipped in 10 apiece to round out the Hoyas' scoring. Senior forward Augustus Gilchrist was the only Bull to reach double figures, scoring 15 of his squad's 45 points.
"They have a lot of different weapons," Heath said. "Sometimes you just key in on Clark and [junior forward Hollis] Thompson, and those other guys can hurt you as well — Sims and some of those guys off the bench, like Porter."
The win was the second straight for the Blue and Gray, who have now won five of six since dropping back-to-back games to West Virginia and Cincinnati in early January. With the exception of last weekend's loss to Pitt, the Hoyas have held opponents to an average of 52.6 points per game in that span.
"From day one, we've stressed that if we defend and rebound, everything else will be OK," Thompson III said.
Thompson's emphasis on defense and rebounding has clearly worked. But if the Hoyas continue their offensive effort from Saturday's second half, No. 2 Syracuse will have its hands full this Wednesday.
Tipoff against the Orange is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.