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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Solid Win

After a close, stomach-churning first half, our Georgetown Hoyas won handily last evening at Old Dominion University, 66 to 48. As the best Georgetown beat reporter, Barker Davis writes in his column for The Washington Times you can chalk this one up to solid defense from the Hoyas; something that might become the hallmark of this years's squad. The Hoyas held the Monarch's to 31.3% shooting and there were periods in the game where ODU could not hit the broad side of a barn, let alone a basket.

That being said, what the hell was up with Gerald Lee in the first half? The 6' 10" Fin ended the game with 24 points and 12 boards -- including 10 offensive boards. He was pretty much unstoppable in the first half, scoring 16 of ODU's 23 points. PE2 did a good job tightening up the D on him in the second half. But he still scored 8 points there.

Here are a couple of other thoughts I had about last nights game.

1.) I am very concerned about Macklin. Roy has been a fairly good job staying out of foul trouble, but last night he had to come out of the game with 4 fouls with over 5 minutes left to play. By that time we had a comfortable lead so it wasn't a big deal. But I am worried that in tougher games it's going to be a problem. Macklin ended the game with a decent line (6 points on 3-6, 2 rebounds, and an assist). But all three of his baskets were dunks and I believe they were all uncontested. He had a nice roll of a pick for one of those dunks, but if he defender had moved with him I am not confident that he would have made it. The official line only has Macklin turning the ball over once, but that doesn't match what I heard last night. During the first half I was listening to the game on the radio. Chvotkin reported that 3 times in the course of about 2 minutes that Macklin was stipped of the ball. Granted, Chvotkin messes up the call a fair amount, but this would be consistent with what I've seen from Macklin all season. If he can slide behind a defender along the baseline and get a clean pass he can normally finish. But if he has to play with his back to the basket in the lane he almost always fails to score. Most of the time he turns if over. Watch this next game. You'll see that I'm right.

2.) I'm also a little concerned with DaJuan. I was really hoping that he would build on his strong tournament performances and step up this year to fill the gap that was left by Jeff Green's jump to the NBA. That doesn't seem to be happening. He is averaging 7 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, but I don't feel like he is ready to take things to that next level. Last night didn't convince me otherwise. It was pretty much a stinker from Summers. He was 0-5 from the floor and at times seemed pretty much invisible. That kind of disappearing seemed to happen a lot last year too. Let's hope that we can chock this one up to it being early in the season. But if the Hoyas are going to replicate last years success DaJuan Summers needs to step up.

3.) Austin Freeman is ready. He looked great last night. I had though Chris Wright was going to be the freshman that made the most immediate impact on our team, but I think I'm wrong. Freeman did it all. He dunked, he shot the 3-ball, he had a nice assist. He finished the game with 11 points on 5-7 shooting and just looked fantastic. Kudos, Austin.

4.) One of the things that I was most happy to see was how the Hoyas started to play once they got a little bit of breathing room. It was then that we saw the Princeton Offense really start to click. Georgetown started to play grind-it-out, possession basketball at the pace that works best for the team. This did not go unnoticed by the opposition. Monarch's coach Blaine Taylor commented on this very fact after the game. He noted that "Georgetown is really in a comfort zone when they get ahead. And when you give them the lead, you're in for a long night." That is consistent with what we saw last year and makes me confident that this year's crop of student-athletes are understanding how to play to our system's strength.
That's all for now. Bring on Fairfield.


Diamond_Mike said...

Jester -- I share your concern about Macklin. He still doesn't look fully comfortable out there, and last night it looked like his hands were dipped in crisco. That said, JTIII keeps plugging him in and talking him up. He must be doing something in practice that coach likes. I was hoping we'd see him try to create his own shot last night. He will need to learn how to do that to be effective long term.

I also wanted to mention Jessie Sapp. We've discussed it before, but this kid has taken a big step forward this year. His numbers weren't unbelieveable but he created a significant number of buckets with drives and nifty passes. He looks much more confident out there than any of our other guards. I think we are going to enjoy watching him over the next two years.

IPB said...

I unfortunately missed the game in real-time because I was tied up in a meeting but thanks to the wonders of DVR technology, I caught the game late-night last night.

My observations are as follows:
(1) Very sold win in a tough environment; the announcers commented that ODU came into the game winning something like 42 of its last 46 home games (I may be off slightly with that stat but you get the point). I was pretty convinced going into the game that memories about last year's debacle at McDonough would propel us to victory and I'm glad my instinct was proven correct;
(2) Austin Freeman had a great game, Roy played a very solid game, Jessie Sapp played well too, and there were a number of plays in the 2nd half where Chris Wright simply took advantage of his speed and athleticism to just beat ODU players to the ball (this should be fun to watch over his Georgetown career).
(3) While I know we try to keep criticism of our guys to a minimum, let me join in Jester's comments by saying that Vernon Macklin's performance was probably one of the worst I have ever observed from a Georgetown player, especially in the first half. One of the great benefits of DVR is that I have all of this on tape and the tape doesn't lie.... It got so bad during the first half that I paused my DVR and actually started jotting down the miscues he made. I am happy to elaborate in further detail should our readers desire more info on Macklin's miscues during the game. There is absoltely zero doubt in my mind that his presence on the court hurt Georgetown more than it helped Georgetown last night. That is a sad thing to have to write but again the tapes don't lie...

His stat line from the game is also completely misleading; of his 3 field goals (all of which came in the second half), 2 basically occurred during garbage time when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

I keep hearing that he's a great worker and a great kid and I have no doubt that any of this is true, but watching him so far this season reinforces something I have observed and remain convinced of--this kid is not ready for prime-time yet. Thompson has apparently said that he's the most improved player on the far this has not been reflected in what I've seen from him this year.

As we know, big men do tend to develop more slowly and hopefully he can put some big games together as a junior or senior, but hopefully Roy will stay out of foul-trouble because Macklin is not confidence-inspiring on the court.

Overall, a nice game and I was very pleased with the club's performance. On to Fairfield!

Double said...

How did Rivers look? Can someone explain to me why he makes it into the court? Does Thompson (either one) owe his father something?

IPB said...

Double--thanks for your comment. I thought Rivers had a quiet but good game. He made a few nice defensive plays, which is primarily why I suspect Thompson puts him on the floor. I think we can all agree he is not on the court for his offense.

While those who read this blog know that I am a loyal and dedicated Celtics fan, I don't have a blinding love for either JR or Doc. But I do think JR does have something to contribute. He's never going to be at the level offensively of Wallace, Wright, Freeman, or Sapp though. This much is clear.

And I don't think there's any sort of quid pro quo involving the Thompsons and Doc Rivers.

I have to say there are times where I would like to see Tyler Crawford get on the floor, perhaps at the expense of JR. He is arguably the best defender on the team and his intensity is off the chart. He is supposedly turn-over prone with his ball-handling skills but I think the jury is still out on this since he sees so few minutes.

Jester of Magellan said...

Following up with what the IBP said...

I think that Rivers has actually played fairly decently this year. Despite playing significant minutes, he hasn't had a turnover since the first half of the first game. He also plays some of the best defense on the team.

That being said, he is a horrible shooter. His percentage on the season is only .286. Luckily, someone must have told him he's not a shooter. Although he's playing nearly 20 minutes a game he is averaging less than 2 shots per game.