MEN'S BASKETBALL | Thompson, Freshmen Shine in Rout
Published: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 11:12
Hollis Thompson picked up Saturday right where he left off Thursday.
The junior forward, fresh off hitting a cold-blooded three to give Georgetown a 57-55 victory over Alabama Thursday night, scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead the Hoyas in their 84-44 rout of NJIT earlier this afternoon.
The Blue and Gray wasted no time in taking advantage of the obviously overmatched Highlanders, jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the opening three minutes of the game. Thompson nailed three of his career-high six three-pointers in the first five minutes before Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III pulled most of his starters.
"My teammates caught me open and I knocked down the shots," Thompson said.
Thompson wasn't the only one playing well, either. The overall level of offensive execution was impressive considering the quick turnaround from Thursday night's road slugfest, and all the rotation players looked smooth in the early going. Senior center Henry Sims continued his recent trend of excellence, stuffing the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks in only 16 minutes.
"I'm confident in this group," Thompson III said. "Have been probably since the fourth or fifth day of practice, preparing to go to China."
NJIT didn't roll over completely. A three-pointer from junior guard Ryan Woods, who led his team with 16 points, narrowed the gap to nine points late in the first half. The Hoyas kept their composure, however, and a layup from freshman forward Mikael Hopkins sent them into halftime with a 42-26 advantage.
The Georgetown defense locked down in the second half, holding the Highlanders to 17.2 percent shooting from the field. The predictably unbalanced game turned into an opportunity for Thompson III to showcase the freshmen who haven't seen much court time this year, namely Hopkins, guard Jabril Trawick and forward Tyler Adams.
"It was just that our guys picked up our communication," Thompson III said of his team's second-half defense. "We weren't communicating well with each other in the first half. ... They got too many open looks just because of our lack of communication."
Even considering the questionable quality of opposition, the freshmen put together a fairly impressive performance. Hopkins — whose total of 12 points was second only to Thompson's 20 — showed off a variety of jump hooks, and even hit a floater with the shot clock expiring late in the game. Trawick was aggressive attacking the basket and ran the point effectively for much of the second half. Adams, a 6-foot-8, 270-pound Mississippi native, bullied his way to eight points, six rebounds and three of the Hoyas' 13 blocks in his 11 minutes.
"Today was productive because we were able to get some extended minutes for some guys that we hadn't been able to get extended minutes for," Thompson III said. "Big Tyler just showed a little flash — he's not 100 percent, but the big fella showed a little flash of what we're going to see. It's important to get those guys game reps."
The freshmen did go through some predictable growing pains, and the second half featured more missed layups and errant passes than Thompson III probably would have liked. All in all, though, the newcomers showed enough flashes of brilliance to give Hoyas fans hope for the future — and built a big enough lead to earn minutes for sophomore guard and fan favorite John Caprio, who scored once and blocked two shots.
On a warm Saturday afternoon in December, the Georgetown faithful are undoubtedly pretty happy with a 40-point win and a pending leap into the national rankings. But according to to senior guard Jason Clark, the best is yet to come.
"I think this team has the ability to be one of the best teams in the country if we keep playing hard, if we keep doing what we're supposed to do," Clark said.