Georgetown's Win Looks Familiar
Friday, November 16, 2007
John Beilein had seen this kind of commanding performance from Georgetown before, back in February when he brought a team from West Virginia to Verizon Center and got blown off the floor in the first half. Beilein, now the coach at Michigan, said earlier in the week that he hoped this visit -- with a young and inexperienced team -- would be a little better.
It wasn't. Fifth-ranked Georgetown was dominant from the start and cruised to a 74-52 victory in front of 12,653 last night.
"I think it was pretty obvious to anybody that was here, you have two programs at different stages right now," said Beilein, who was hired by Michigan in April. "Georgetown is absolutely terrific. You just sit there and watch them play, and see how beautiful they play. Maybe our team watched them play because they were so efficient in everything they did."
The difference between the two teams was apparent when the players were introduced before the game. Michigan (2-1) started two freshmen and only one player (senior Ron Coleman) who averaged at least 10 minutes per game last season. Georgetown (2-0) countered with four players who started on last season's Final Four team and an experienced senior (Patrick Ewing Jr.).
So it wasn't a surprise that the Wolverines looked like a team that is still trying to understand Beilein's complex offensive and defensive systems -- Beilein compared it to being on "tape delay" -- while the Hoyas played like a group that knows exactly what it wants to do.
Georgetown senior center Roy Hibbert struggled -- he missed several shots inside and finished with 12 points on just 6-of-14 shooting. But it didn't bother his team. Eight other players scored, led by junior guard Jessie Sapp (12 points), freshman guard Austin Freeman (10 points) and freshman guard Chris Wright (10 points). Sophomore Vernon Macklin, Hibbert's back-up, had eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Hoyas shot 52.6 percent from three-point range (10 of 19) and six players made at least one three-pointer.
"Roy is the focal point," Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said. "He's going to have to have good games and a good year for us to have a good year. But when any one player is struggling out there, we have guys that can step up. . . . That's what we want to grow into."
Unlike Saturday's season opener, when Georgetown started sluggishly against William & Mary, the Hoyas were sharp from the beginning, particularly on the defensive end. In the first nine minutes of the game, Georgetown forced five turnovers and prevented the Wolverines from grabbing a rebound.
Sophomore forward DaJuan Summers set the tone by blocking Michigan's first shot, a jumper from freshman guard Manny Harris (13 points). Summers, whom Thompson has said could be a superior defensive player, held Michigan's DeShawn Sims -- who was named Big Ten player of the week after averaging 20 points in his first two games -- to just one point; Sims was 0 for 4 with five turnovers.
"I thought that was key -- our defense early in the game set the tone," said Thompson, whose team held the Wolverines to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half. "I thought we made it difficult for them to get the looks they wanted to get. . . . DaJuan's energy and attentiveness was outstanding."
On offense, Ewing scored the Hoyas' first two baskets on layups off of nice feeds from Sapp and Jonathan Wallace. It was Georgetown's three-point shooting that helped it put the game out of reach. Five Hoyas combined to make six of their first eight shots from beyond the arc, and after Freeman hit back-to-back three-pointers, Georgetown led 26-7 with 12 minutes 14 seconds remaining. By halftime, the Hoyas had opened up a 43-19 advantage.
Beilein said it was very similar to his last trip to D.C., when Georgetown opened up a 17-point halftime lead while shooting 78.9 percent against a West Virginia team that eventually won 27 games and the NIT championship.