NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion, who defeated Georgetown last year to break the Hoyas’ 24-year record of winning in cDonough Gymnasium, made sure to remind its fans to “defend our house” in the teams’ rematch at the Constant Center.

This time, however, it was Georgetown who came away with the win, 66-48, before a sellout crowd of 8,424 at its opponents’ court Wednesday night.

“The tradition of playing in McDonough, they took something that was dear to our program, and to come back here and get payback, it felt good to get the win,” senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. said after the game.

“But that was last year, and we want to continue our success,” he quickly added in a nod to the Hoyas’ forward-looking attitude.

Old Dominion’s record falls to 3-4 with the loss, but its match against No. 5 Georgetown (4-0) was ODU’s third-straight time facing a top-10 opponent.

To start off the game, ODU senior center Sam Harris blocked Georgetown senior center Roy Hibbert’s first shot, a sign that Old Dominion came ready to defend last year’s 75-62 victory. The Monarchs would not let the Hoyas get comfortable during the first half, only twice allowing Georgetown to get more than a two-possession lead.

Old Dominion sophomore forward Gerald Lee scored to tie the game at 21-21 with three and a half minutes left, causing the Monarch fans to erupt at a deafening level in the Constant Center. But the Hoyas connected on their next four possessions, starting off with a Hibbert layup, to put up a 30-23 lead going into halftime. Ewing contributed a three-pointer, followed by dunks from freshman guard Austin Freeman and Hibbert to close out the period.

“When they had a chance to pounce or gain an advantage, they were quite prepared,” Old Dominion Head Coach Blaine Taylor said. “We had the chance to maybe let our crowd and our team really grab hold of this game and say, `Hey, we’re right in this thing.’ … I felt like it was a little bit deflating to run to the locker room down maybe more than we felt like we should have been.”

Georgetown was able to pull away in the second half thanks to its defense. The Hoyas made the Monarchs pay for their mistakes, getting 10 points off of turnovers and six off of fast breaks and outscoring Old Dominion 22-to-12 in the paint.

“That’s been a conscious effort,” Thompson said about improving defensively. “We spent a lot more time working on defense. I think we can be flexible defensively and a lot of things are coming. But our defense is ahead of where our offense was at this point last year. We’re just laying the foundation as far as that goes also. We put more time in practice on that, and I guess it shows on both ends.”

Hibbert was held to three points in the second half and had to come out of the game with five minutes and 32 seconds left when he picked up his fourth foul. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Georgetown’s brightest underclassmen – freshmen Chris Wright and Freeman and sophomores Jeremiah Rivers and Vernon acklin – got an ample amount of playing time. They still had some hiccups with a few bad catches and dribbles, but overall they put together a much-improved performance compared to the season-opening game against William & Mary, when the bench only scored two points. This time, the Hoyas’ top quartet of reserves totaled 26 points, led by Freeman’s 11. Macklin, a forward, dunked three times in the second half.

Guards Wright and Rivers also had the opportunity to call some plays, agreeing on them together before starting a set.

“We will get to the point where I don’t think about this group relative to who’s a starter, who’s not a starter,” Thompson said. “There’s gonna be very little drop-off up and down the board when we bring guys off the bench.”

Old Dominion’s downfall was inaccurate shooting. The onarchs attempted to score 14 more times than Georgetown but only made 31.3 percent of their shots, while the Hoyas scored on 52 percent of their attempts. Although Lee amassed a career-high 24 points in the game, none of his teammates contributed more than six points.

Particularly hurtful for Old Dominion was the poor showing from its three starting seniors. Guard Brian Henderson, who previously averaged 10.2 points per game, and Harris managed just three points each against Georgetown, while guard Brandon Johnson went scoreless.

On the glass, Old Dominion outrebounded Georgetown 41 to 34, even though the Monarchs’ 7-foot-3 Harris only had two boards on the night. Old Dominion feasted on offensive rebounds (22 compared to Georgetown’s nine) and second-chance points (18 to 8). Lee led all players in rebounds with 12.

When a reporter asked Thompson about why his team had given up so many offensive rebounds, the coach did not have any explanations, but his answer spoke loudly enough.

“I don’t know,” Thompson responded. “But it will be taken care of. Right, fellas?”

“Yeah,” Ewing affirmed.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.