Georgetown Beats DePaul, 48-40, in Men's Basketball
Sunday, March 8, 2009
With nothing appreciable at stake, the fans who spurned Washington's first beautiful Saturday of the year to attend Georgetown's regular season finale did so, primarily, to bid farewell to senior guard Jessie Sapp.
They stood to honor him during pregame ceremonies. They rose again when Sapp entered the game against DePaul after roughly three minutes had elapsed. And throughout the ragged display of basketball, they hoisted hand-lettered signs that read: "Goodbye Jessie!" "Thank You For Everything" and "We Will Always Remember."
And with a 48-40 victory, Georgetown brought an end to a regular season that nearly everyone who bleeds blue and gray would just as soon forget.
Despite a heralded recruiting class, this Georgetown squad paid more dearly for the loss of last year's senior class than anticipated, plagued by turnovers, halfhearted rebounding and erratic shooting.
As a result, the Hoyas fell far short of even modest expectations, finishing with more regular season losses (13) than any Hoya team in John Thompson III's tenure, which began in 2004-05.
After climbing to ninth in the national rankings after upsetting second-ranked Connecticut, Georgetown tumbled from the polls. Now, barring an improbable run to the championship in this week's Big East tournament, which would entail five victories in five games, Georgetown will likely miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since Thompson's inaugural season.
"Obviously, when you look at the numbers -- where we are -- we wish we had a few more wins in there," Thompson said. "But it is what it is."
After DePaul scored the opening basket, Georgetown never trailed yesterday. But the victory was hardly cause for showboating.
Georgetown (16-13, 7-11) was the 18th consecutive team to beat DePaul (8-23, 0-18). And after leading by 14 in the first half, the Hoyas twice allowed the Blue Demons to tie the score.
The afternoon began with good feelings, as Sapp, the team's sole scholarship senior, and walk-on Bryon Jansen were brought to midcourt to receive a silver bowl and the crowd's applause on senior day.
While Jansen appeared in just 15 games during his two seasons with the team, Sapp has been a key figure from the moment he arrived, playing in all 33 games as a freshman and starting all but one of 71 games his next two seasons.
As the Hoyas' fortunes slumped in January, Thompson relegated Sapp to the role of a sixth man. And with Sapp's family in attendance for senior day, that's how Thompson left it -- starting Nikita Mescheriakov instead of Sapp.