Five quick thoughts after Georgetown's pulsating 73-70 comeback win over Marquette Wednesday night:
1. That was an odd game. The first nine minutes were a no-defense track meet with gobs of uncontested layups. Then Georgetown's offense bogged down completely and Marquette happily scored in the tempo it wanted. Then the game's pace settled down and execution flipped midway through the second half, when Georgetown's D finally got a grip and its offense started executing again. I guess any of that is possible with the contrast of styles and personnel, but all of it in the same game? The end result was the game ended up around 66 or 67 possessions, which is right in the middle of where the two teams like to play, and both defenses got gashed in ways they haven't very much this season. It was entertaining, frenzied and makes you walk away still believing in both teams' NCAA Tournament potential, but being a little leery about what was exposed.
2. Henry Sims makes the Hoyas hum. For the long stretch in the middle of the game when the Hoyas' offense was ineffective, Sims was not nearly as involved as he needs to be. Just click down the play-by-play for the game and you see huge gaps where Sims didn't make any measurable plays (good or bad). The Hoyas' version of the Princeton offense is not solely dependent on running through a big man (which is why the reformed version is more enjoyable and adaptable), but Sims is such a diverse talent, you have to make sure he stays involved. Jason Clark was the scoring star with 26 points, but they look better when they run through Sims. That was clear down the stretch when he had a layup and two assists on the Hoyas' final seven points of the game to get the win.
3. Remember Louisville? For Marquette fans, this had a painful feeling of déjà vu. Last season, they blew a 17-point lead down the stretch on the road at Louisville and this had a similar feel. The defense was unable to get a stop and the Golden Eagles' offensive execution got sped up. Marquette stopped getting into the heart of the Georgetown zone off the bounce and the ball movement that created so many open shots earlier fizzled. Everything became individualist, which led to a series of difficult shots taken under pressure or by players out of their comfort zone. Mix that with a complete inability to get a stop, and that's the recipe for a collapse.
4. A time(out) for regrets. When Todd Mayo swished a corner three-pointer to give Marquette a 17-point lead with 13:12 left, there was an immediate timeout on the floor. The TV announcers assumed (understandably) it was Georgetown needing to regroup. Even ESPN's box score has it listed as a Hoyas timeout. Except it wasn't. The minute the ball splashed through the net, Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams was off the bench calling for time. I have no idea why. According to folks at the postgame interviews, Williams acknowledged he called it, but wouldn't discuss why. Maybe he saw a fool's gold approach and wanted to settle his team down or maybe he wanted to get some fresh legs in, but killing the profound momentum seemed very, very curious. Georgetown was on the ropes and didn't even need to burn its own timeout to get a breather.
5. Marquette's last defensive possession a head-scratcher. I'm not entirely sure who to blame for Hollis Thompson's wide-open 3 that won the game. Marquette preaches to its weak-side defenders to sag into the lane to help, but what unfolded can't be how Marquette wanted to execute. The ball was reversed to Sims at the top of the key when Jae Crowder was caught still watching the wing, so Sims had positional advantage on the catch and immediately drove down the left side of the lane, blowing past Crowder. Junior Cadougan was the other Golden Eagle near the point of attack and had originally sagged to the edge of the lane, like Darius Johnson-Odom below him, but started to head back out toward freshman Otto Porter (who is anything but a perimeter shooter) on the Sims catch. Sims split the two and then kicked to the corner to a wide-open Thompson as DJO remained on the edge of the paint and Cadougan stayed with Sims. DJO tried to draw a charge after the pass, but it was a good no-call, in my opinion. On Twitter, Marquette fans said Williams claimed his team defended that last possession perfectly, but I don't see how that's the case.
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