MEN'S BASKETBALL | Hoyas Fall Flat at Cincy, Still Get Bye in Big Easts
Cincinnati 69, Georgetown 47
Published: Saturday, March 5, 2011
Updated: Saturday, March 5, 2011 18:03
As senior guard Chris Wright's left hand continues to get better, the rest of the Hoyas continue to get worse.
Despite backing into a first-round bye and the No. 8 seed in the Big East tournament – thanks to a West Virginia win and a Connecticut loss – Georgetown (21-9, 10-8 Big East) got blown out, 69-47, by Cincinnati (24-7, 11-7) on Saturday, extending the Hoyas' losing streak to three and raising questions about their ability to win a basketball game without Wright running the offense.
"Is it hard to deal with? I can't sit here and say everything is peachy," Head Coach John Thompson III said in the postgame press conference. "But that's what athletics are about. There are injuries. You have to play the hand you're dealt."
With the win, the Bearcats – a very good defensive team - also locked up a first-round bye and swept the season series from Head Coach John Thompson III's club, winning for the fourth time in five tries against the Hoyas, who have now lost four of five since winning eight straight. A questionable NCAA tournament team on Feb. 23, Cincinnati has since garnered two wins over the Wright-less Hoyas and is now a lock for the Big Dance.
Senior guard Austin Freeman attempted to carry the Hoyas on his back, scoring 21 points – albeit on 7-of-23 shooting and 1-for-7 from beyond the arc – and sophomore forward Hollis Thompson rebounded from a recent mini-slump and had 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field.
"Knowing that Chris is out of the lineup, I have to be aggressive on both ends of the floor," Freeman said. "I tried to get some baskets, get fouls. I just tried to be aggressive and help as much as possible."
But two players the Hoyas need to play well regardless of whether or not Wright is on the floor came up small for the third straight game. Junior guard Jason Clark contributed just five points on 1-of-10 shooting, including a brick-laden 1-for-8 from downtown. An integral part of Georgetown's eight-game Big East winning streak this season, senior forward Julian Vaughn went scoreless, grabbed two rebounds and got into foul trouble. A combined five points and 1-of-14 shooting from the Hoyas' third- and fourth-best players won't get it done against any team they'll see in the postseason.
The Hoyas got off to a 12-4 run to start the game, but the Bearcats ended the half on a 26-12 run, capped by a Christian Laettner-like three-pointer at the buzzer by Yancy Gates. With 8:42 to go in the game, Thompson's three closed the gap to four, but Cincinnati followed that up with a 26-8 run to end a game in which it made 24 of its 30 free throws.
As a team, Georgetown shot 32 percent from the floor and 4-for-18 from three. Since Wright broke his hand, the Hoyas have scored an anemic 118 points in nearly 96 minutes.
Georgetown now has three days off before taking the court at Madison Square Garden against either the No. 9 seed or the No. 16 seed on Wednesday at noon. That opponent will be Villanova, Connecticut, Marquette or DePaul.