MEN'S BASKETBALL | Hoyas Suffer Narrow Loss in Conference Opener
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:01
Despite yet another anemic offensive performance, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (10-2, 0-1 Big East) had a chance to pull out a win in its Big East opener at Marquette (11-3, 2-0 Big East).
But after a flurry of whistles and bizarre plays in the game’s drawn-out final minute, it was the Golden Eagles on the winning end of a 49-48 decision.
After a back-and-forth second half, Georgetown forward Greg Whittington was fouled on a corner three-pointer with two seconds left and the Hoyas down three. He hit the first two free throws, but Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams called a timeout to ice the sophomore before the final shot. Whittington missed, leaving his team a point shy with a second to play. Junior forward Nate Lubick immediately fouled Marquette guard Trent Lockett on the rebound, sending the senior to the line for a final pair of free throws.
The theatrics didn’t stop there, however. After missing the first shot, Lockett balked midway through his shooting motion of the second, which he intentionally missed in order to make Georgetown’s final heave more difficult. The hesitation drew several Hoyas into the lane before Lockett released the shot, and the referees whistled Georgetown for a lane violation. Balks like Lockett’s are usually called violations — Rule 9, Section 1 of the NCAA basketball rulebook forbids shot fakes at the line — but the crew either forgot the rule or didn’t see the hesitation as a “fake.”
The referees awarded Lockett another attempt, which he intentionally missed. Lubick’s three-quarter-court heave was blocked, but not before an errant whistle on the rebound went unexplained, confusing both teams and coaches. The referees waved off the shot and declared the game over.
Even without the strange finish, it was a game to forget for the Blue and Gray. They managed only four points in the first 10 minutes and shot 39.1 percent from the field on the game. Sophomore guard Markel Starks racked up 18 points — 14 of which came in the second half — and a career-high seven assists, but he was the lone positive in yet another ugly offensive showing.
The defense, meanwhile, was dominant, as usual: Marquette was consistently frustrated on offense, and guard Vander Blue bailed the Eagles out of several impending shot-clock violations. The difference came at the line, where the hosts hit 13 of 18 attempts compared to Georgetown’s seven of 12.
Saturday’s contest was hardly the performance Head Coach John Thompson III must have hoped for in the Big East opener against a current and future conference rival, but the areas of concern — rebounding, offensive production and depth — were at least familiar.
The Hoyas struggled on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 35-26. They shot 18-of-46 from the field, including the aforementioned abysmal start. Thompson III stuck with his seven-man rotation, and Whittington, Starks and sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. combined for all but two of Georgetown’s made baskets.