MEN'S BASKETBALL | Georgetown Shuts Down UConn in Big East Showdown
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 01:02
Andre Drummond brought the scouts, but Georgetown brought the show.
Nearly a dozen NBA scouts were in attendance to watch the talented freshmen center, who chose UConn over Georgetown late last summer when he was the nation's top high school prospect. Yet while Drummond may have been the most entertaining player of the night, the true star of the game was the Hoyas' defense. Just a few days after giving up 72 points in a terrible defensive display against Pittsburgh, the Hoyas (17-4, 7-3 Big East) held the Huskies (14-7, 4-5) to 30 percent shooting in a 58-44 blowout.
Even more stunning is the fact that the Huskies — who have now lost four in a row — scored only 31 points in 36 minutes after jumping out to a 13-7 lead in the first four.
"It was good to have this type of performance. I thought we played well at both ends of the floor," Head Coach John Thompson III said.
Georgetown didn't have any answer for Drummond in the opening minutes. The Connecticut native scored four straight baskets, including several dunks, to give the Huskies an early lead.
"Now, going through it, they were off, particularly in the first half," Thompson III said. "They got a lot of [open] shots that didn't go in, but I think our defensive communication, I think our intensity throughout the whole game, was very good."
Indeed, UConn kept working the ball around for open looks but began to miss them after the opening flurry. Star sophomore forward Jeremy Lamb struggled, finishing 2-of-11 from three-point range. The Huskies were a horrendous 2-of-20 from beyond the arc as a team.
"Our offense started out great and ended up very poor," Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun said.
Fittingly, it was a Lamb miss that provided the game's biggest thrill.
With the Huskies trailing by 10, Sims blocked a shot and the ball ended up in Lamb's hands. He elevated for a three-pointer, but the ball sailed past the hoop, prompting "air-ball" chants from the student sections. Sims followed with a thunderous dunk, causing the crowd of 15,000 to erupt as Sims let out a triumphant roar.
"It felt good. It was definitely a momentum shift. It made the crowd come out," Sims said.
Junior forward Hollis Thompson led the Georgetown charge, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine boards in his most complete game of the season. The lanky forward was an effective defensive presence, causing turnovers while guarding UConn's talented young guards, freshman Ryan Boatright and sophomore Shabazz Napier.
"[Hollis Thompson] was key in that zone defense. Not just the steals, but being there, supporting and helping on Drummond when the ball was on the weak side," Thompson III said. "This was the antithesis of what I felt in the Pittsburgh game, when he was just floating. … He was extremely effective in every aspect of the game."
Despite their poor shooting, the Huskies did have a chance to get back into the game. With UConn down by 10 points and less than nine minutes remaining in the game, Lamb hit a layup and freshman forward DeAndre Daniels followed with another basket to cut the lead to six and force a Georgetown timeout.
But the Hoyas responded immediately. Clark scored on a pretty inbounds play and again on a jumper a minute later, stretching the lead back to double digits and setting the stage for Sims' monstrous slam.
"Somebody went for a steal, and somebody took a bad shot, and now we're down ten," Calhoun said. "You can only run up the hill [for] so long."
Drummond still had an excellent night, finishing 9-of-12 for 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Sims did his best to match the freshman, finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. Clark added 11 points and five rebounds.
"If we stayed in playing defense, that was going to be, probably, a [tie] game," Calhoun said. "Instead, we took the chances. Give them all the credit, they stayed with their offense, they didn't score at all early, and we gave them a little bit in taking chances, and it eventually cost us the basketball game."
Georgetown will continue their home stretch with a game against South Florida Saturday. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. at Verizon Center.