Georgetown’s impressive performance in its 70-59 win over Memphis was a frustrating affair for the defending Conference-USA champions Dec. 22 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C..

The 16th ranked Hoyas (10-1) led by as many as 20 in the second half of the rematch of their November win over Memphis in Maui. The Tigers on the other hand, once a top-10 team, has struggled since that game to a 6-5 record and it’s shaken the team to its core.

It’s apparently gotten so bad that the Tigers had an impromptu and emotional team meeting directly after the game where no one emerged from their locker room for nearly an hour and 45 minutes.

“We just had a team meeting and needed to air a few things out because it was the right thing since we’re at break,” Memphis head coach Josh Pastner said. “We just needed to air some things out and I thought it was a good open discussion. I love those guys. No one in there is happy to be 6-5.”

Causing such frustration was Georgetown’s defense which forced the Tigers into 18 turnovers. That result caused Hoyas’ head coach John Thompson III to praise his team’s effort on the defensive end of the court.

“I think that for most of tonight our defense was very, very good,” Thompson said.

“I think that when we stopped their transition and didn’t have careless turnovers our defense was very good for large stretches of tonight’s game,” he continued.

Memphis sophomore point guard Joe Jackson had an especially bad night. The Memphis native was averaging close to 13 points per game, but was held to just two points on 0-7 shooting while turning the ball over four times. He was visibly shaken up by his performance and the Georgetown players noticed.

“I could see he was frustrated. He wasn’t attacking as much as he usually does,” said Georgetown senior guard Jason Clark. “I think our defensive pressure and our help frustrated him and he couldn’t get into the seams that he usually gets to.”

Key Players: Clark finished with 18 for the Hoyas, but was joined in double figures by junior forward Hollis Thompson’s 17, sophomore guard Markel Starks 14 and senior center Henry Sims 12. The Tigers were led by sophomore guard Chris Crawford’s 17 points and
freshman guard and Baltimore native Will Barton’s 12.

Key Stretch: After taking a seven-point lead into halftime, the Hoyas began the second half on a 21-8 run to grab their largest lead at 56-36.

Next Up: Georgetown begins Big East play on Dec. 28 at Louisville while Memphis will host Robert Morris on Dec. 29.

 

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO