Georgetown Men's Basketball Prepares for Notre Dame after Losing to Pittsburgh

"You have to bounce back," John Thompson III, with DaJuan Summers, said.
"You have to bounce back," John Thompson III, with DaJuan Summers, said. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
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By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 5, 2009

The Big East season isn't yet one week old, but Georgetown already has experienced both extremes of competition -- the euphoria of toppling second-ranked Connecticut and the anguish, just five days later, of suffering its worst home loss in four seasons.

In the wake of Saturday's 70-54 drubbing at the hands of third-ranked Pittsburgh, the challenge facing the young Hoyas is regaining their equilibrium. Quickly.

That means, for their emotional well-being, figuring out which part of Saturday's defeat to forget. But it also means figuring out what lessons to take from the loss if they're to continue developing.

And they have less than 48 hours to distinguish the two before boarding a plane for tonight's game against seventh-ranked Notre Dame (10-3, 1-1).

"The nature of this league is that win or lose, you have to bounce back," Coach John Thompson III said after the loss.

Such quick turnarounds -- playing Saturday and Monday -- aren't easy in a conference as physical and deep as the 16-team Big East. But Georgetown (10-2, 1-1) can take solace in the fact that Notre Dame is facing the same predicament, having suffered a tough loss Saturday, as well, falling to St. John's, 71-65, at New York's Madison Square Garden.

And the Irish are doing similar soul-searching, with Coach Mike Brey pointing to rebounding as his team's weak link. Notre Dame surrendered 15 offensive rebounds to St. John's and were hammered on the boards, 41-30.

Georgetown's deficit against Pittsburgh was even more glaring, with the Hoyas allowing 20 offensive rebounds and were overwhelmed on the glass, 48-23.

Thompson rejected a suggestion that Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, who had 17 rebounds, was simply unstoppable. From Thompson's vantage point, there were plenty of opportunities for all of his players, whether guards or big men, to create second-chance scoring opportunities and deny them to Pittsburgh.

A deficit on the boards wasn't the only commonality between the teams. Both had only two players contribute significant points in defeat.

Georgetown was led by DaJuan Summers's 22 points, and center Greg Monroe added 15.

Notre Dame, as is customary, was led by center Luke Harangody (28 points). And on a shaky night for three-point specialist Kyle McAlarney, the Irish got a welcome 14 points from Tory Jackson.

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