Washington – In a game that had all the first half excitement of watching tortoise races, Georgetown backed up their win over Connecticut with a 75-45 thrashing of South Florida at the Verizon Center.
Hoyas head coach John Thompson III wasn’t worried when his team shot just 35 percent and led 23-15 at halftime, but you had to wonder if the offense was going to get it together in the second half.
“It wasn’t a concern,” Thompson said. “We knew the shots would start going in as long as we got stops and rebounds, we’ll be able to score enough points so it wasn’t disconcerting at all.”
I am glad Thompson was confident because his team went 9:29 without a field goal.
If it was possible to be worse than that, the Bulls certainly managed to do it. They went a stretch of 10:57 without scoring a single point and on nine straight possessions, the Hoyas forced a turnover. It was ugly basketball at its finest.
“Today just wasn’t our day,” said South Florida head coach Stan Heath. “I don’t know what it was. Early start, late start, I don’t know. But it just wasn’t our day.”
Let me also say 11 a.m. is no time to start a basketball game. If the players weren’t sluggish, I know for a fact the reporters were.
Playing in ugly games is nothing new to Georgetown, but in the second half they turned their fortunes around by starting the half on a 16-6 run and quickly built a 20 point lead, which the Bulls never recovered from.
“I think the shots just started to go in,” said Thompson. “I thought we had good energy in the first half and I don’t think we had better energy in the second half. I just think the ball started to go in. As in life with basketball, you make a couple and they start to go in.”
It was the second straight game in which the Hoyas held the opposition below 50 points after giving up 72 against Pittsburgh on the road last week.
“I don’t think anything was going wrong,” Thompson said. “I thought we were awful against Pitt. I think our defense has been pretty good most of the year and that’s the thing we stressed from day one. If we defend and rebound, we’ll be okay.”
The Hoyas outrebounded the Bulls 34-27 — 29-17 on the defensive end — and forced them into 17 turnovers.
More importantly, when it looked as though they would have a tough time all game offensively, they managed to hang 52 points on the Bulls in the second half. The 30-point win was the Hoyas largest win over a Big East foe since they pounded St. Johns, 72-42 during the 2007-08 season.
Hollis Thompson led five players in double figures with 13 points. It was the first time the Hoyas have placed five in double figures since a 103-90 win over Villanova during the 2009-10 season.
Markel Starks chipped in with 10. In a game that started off so sloppy, the balance was nice to see.
“I think it’s very important,” he said. “As long as guys are taking good shots and knocking them down, I think it’s going to be spread out like that. We came out in the second half especially and got into a rhythm and shots started going in.”
So while it was ugly at times, the Hoyas have managed to win two straight and five of the last six. They are 18-4 overall and now 8-2 in the Big East with Syracuse on the horizon at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday.