The Van Buren Boys

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Down Goes Nova; Bring On The 'Neers

What a bizarre game.

For the first time since his freshman year in high school, Roy Hibbert laid a doughnut. His final line was no points on 0-2 shooting with four rebounds, no blocks, and four turnovers in 14 minutes of play before fouling out. That’s horrible. And his replacement, Vernon Macklin, was almost as bad. The Big Ticket had no points on 0-1 shooting with four rebounds, three blocks, and three turnovers in 15 minutes of play before fouling out. Georgetown’s post players only took 3 shots! And some how the Hoyas still one…big…against a team that was needed a win to write their ticket to the Big Dance and who felt like we had stolen a win from the earlier in the season. Incredible.

The story of the game was, obviously, the team’s three-point shooting. The Hoyas finished with a school-record 17 three pointers, which also tied a Big East Tournament record. For the game the team shot just over 60% from Three-Point Land (17-28), but there were stretches where it seemed that we could not miss. Jon Wallace was lights out in the first half. Before the first-half buzzer sounded he had scored 19 points; 15 of which came on his 5 for 5 shooting from beyond the arc. And quite a few of them were well beyond that arc. They were solid NBA threes. Jessie Sapp shot 6 for 9 from down town on his way to a game-high 23 points. Summers was 3 for 5, and Freeman was 1 for 3.

But one of the biggest stories of the game was Chris Wright. After missing all of conference play with an injured foot, and after only returning to full practices in the last week or so, Chris stepped right in without missing a beat. He came in early in the first half to spell Wallace and within seconds he had nailed his first three-pointer. He finished the game 2 for 3 from down town, and had four assists with no turnovers in 15 minutes of play. Chris definitely added something to the Hoyas’ guard play. He looked confident handling the rock and, in my opinion, helped Georgetown push through the Villanova’s full-court press more effectively. Wright’s return adds some great depth to the team for both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. I’m very happy that he was able to play.

The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Connecticut Huskies yesterday in a match-up of the two other teams that Georgetown beat on crazy last second plays (a last second block by Ewing in Morgantown and a three-pointer by Roy Hibbert against UConn in DC). I think it will be a good match up tonight. Joe Alexander was fantastic for the ‘Neers yesterday and could cause trouble for Georgetown. But I think the Hoyas will find a way to contain him and will come away with the victory. That would set up a game against either Pitt or Marquette for the Big East Championship. To be honest, I’m pulling for Pitt in the other game. I’d love a chance to avenge our lost at the Peterson Events Center. Pitt is the only Big East team that we played this year without beating. Wouldn’t it be great to change that?

Let’s hope Georgetown wins tonight and we get the chance!

Other notes: Yesterday, after the game, I found some video on showing a post-game interview of Jonathan Wallace and Jay Bilas. I can't find it now, but let me just say it made me feel uneasy. Jay’s infatuation with Jon is scary. At one point during the interview Jay commented on how he thought other players might start wearing the protective wrap that Wallace has had on his wrist if it led to a shooting performance like Wallace had against Nova. As Bilas said this he reached out and grabbed Jon’s hand. He proceeded to turn his hand-grab into an end-of-interview handshake, but I definitely felt that Jay’s hand-hold lingered a little too long. He definitely loves J-Wall.

Speaking of Wallace, a commenter on one of the previous posts noted that ESPN analysts had been playing up the prospect of Wallace and Ewing Jr. being NBA prospects. I love those guys, but I just don’t see it. I just don’t know how they can be competitive at that next level. This is especially true of Wallace. He’s not that quick and he’s not an outstanding ball-handler or defender. He’s good at those things, but not NBA good. Ewing might be another story, but I doubt it. He just isn’t that consistent of a shooter and I have a hard time seeing him transition effectively to the NBA. He’s crazy athletic, but so are a lot of guys playing Division I ball. That being said, if he has an outstanding NCAA Tournament I might see a franchise taking a chance on him; especially given his famous dad. But right now, I’d be shocked. I’m no expert on the NBA. I like to keep focused on the Hoyas. But I just don’t get the vibe that either player has a realistic chance at a career in the Association. I think I’ll just chock this one up to ESPN’s analysts trying to hype up the game.

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