Pitt Hands Georgetown Worst Loss in Almost 40 Years
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 14:01
Georgetown has struggled on offense all season. Tuesday night, the Hoyas found out what happens when defense abandons them, too.
No. 19 Georgetown (10-3, 0-2 Big East) suffered its worst loss since 1974 and worst home loss since 1971, a 73-45 clobbering at the hands of unranked Pittsburgh (13-3, 1-2 Big East).
The blowout sent the Blue and Gray stumbling to its second straight loss to open the new year. They’ve failed to break the 50-point mark in either game.
“It’s embarrassing,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “I hope this isn’t — I know this isn’t — who we are, but tonight was very disappointing.”
The Panthers came into Tuesday’s game in a tight spot of their own, on a two-game losing streak and desperate for a big road win. They ran into much less resistance than expected.
The Hoyas made 13 field goals and committed 17 turnovers. They shot 2-of-12 from three-point range. They lost the rebounding battle by seven, allowed Pitt to shoot better than 55 percent from the field and didn’t put a single player in double figures.
Georgetown stumbled out of the gate on offense once again, scoring just four points in the opening eight minutes of the game. This time, though, the Hoyas couldn’t rely on an airtight defense to save them. The Panthers picked apart their hosts for countless wide-open shots; Pitt redshirt junior and local product Talib Zanna scored nearly all of his game-high 15 points on open midrange jumpers. By halftime, the visitors had built up a 37-22 advantage.
“A lot of those looks were open. ... They will hold the ball for 30 seconds and then try to score in the last five,” Thompson III said. “You’ve got to be attentive for 35 seconds, and that level of attentiveness — which we’ve been pretty good at, for the most part — was not there today.”
Georgetown’s second half was somehow even worse. Pittsburgh continued to dominate the offensive glass and effectively shut down sophomore forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Greg Whittington, the Hoyas’ primary offensive weapons.
The frustration came to a peak minutes into the second half, when Thompson III earned a technical for protesting a loose-ball foul called on junior forward Nate Lubick.
“I don’t think I did anything that was out of character for me,” Thompson III said.
The technical — along with some strong play off the bench from junior center Moses Ayegba — seemed to briefly revive the Hoyas in the second half, but the burst was short-lived. The Panthers broke loose for a three-pointer or layup every time the Blue and Gray built any momentum, and a series of defensive breakdowns and turnovers widened the margin in the final minutes.
“It was frustrating,” Lubick said. “We had a surge there where we got some offensive rebounds in the second half and tried to play off of that, then we came out of a timeout and they scored eight straight points.”
Redshirt senior guard Tray Woodall chipped in 11 points and seven assists for Pittsburgh. Porter Jr. led Georgetown with a very quiet nine points. Lubick added seven on 3-of-3 shooting, along with a team-high seven rebounds.
The Hoyas have played extremely well in three games in New York City this season, so Saturday’s trip to Madison Square Garden to play St. John’s (9-5, 1-1 Big East) bodes well. Still, it’s hard to be confident after back-to-back sub-50-point games, no matter where the next game is.
“We’ve got to figure that out,” Thompson III said.