Georgetown has letdown at Rutgers

Greg Monroe's 19 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks weren't enough against Rutgers.
Greg Monroe's 19 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks weren't enough against Rutgers. (Mel Evans/associated Press)

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By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 15, 2010

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Georgetown absorbed one of its most confounding losses of the season on Sunday, falling to Rutgers, 71-68, in a game in which its opponent entered second to last in the Big East Conference and had lost by 25 in the teams' earlier meeting.

The seventh-ranked Hoyas (18-6, 8-5) trailed for most of the second half at the Rutgers Athletic Center, and although they rallied to lead briefly in the final minute, Dane Miller's rebound follow with 19 seconds to play put the Scarlet Knights ahead to stay, 67-66. Miller then made two free throws, and after the teams each traded a pair of foul shots, Georgetown guard Austin Freeman's desperation three-pointer missed at the buzzer.

"As a group we have to get to a point where every game is tough," Hoyas Coach John Thompson III said, "every single, solitary game is tough, particularly on the road, and we have to come with a certain level of attentiveness in [the Big East]. Every team is talented. Every team is well-coached. Every game, every day, you have to be at the top of your game to win."

Georgetown certainly wasn't that against the Scarlet Knights, who got a career-high 24 points from Jonathan Mitchell on a day when team-leading scorer Mike Rosario missed 13 of 16 shots and finished with just 10 points, nearly seven below his average. In all, Rutgers had four players score in double figures as the Hoyas became the second-highest ranked opponent the Scarlet Knights have beaten in program history.

Georgetown, which had won the previous seven straight against Rutgers (13-12, 3-9), got a team-high 19 points from sophomore center Greg Monroe, who added 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. Monroe's all-around performance, however, wasn't enough to counteract a pedestrian outing by Chris Wright, the Hoyas' third-leading scorer who had six points and missed 6 of 8 shots.

Freeman finished with 17 points but missed 5 of 6 three-pointers, and reserve Hollis Thompson, with 10 points, was the only other Georgetown player to score in double digits.

Ball security was an issue throughout for Georgetown. The Hoyas committed 14 turnovers to eight for Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights capitalized by outscoring Georgetown, 18-8, off turnovers.

The Hoyas shot better from the field than Rutgers (51 percent to 45 percent), but the Scarlet Knights made three more three-point field goals and got to the foul line six more times. All 12 of Rutgers's made foul shots came in the second half, when it went to the line 16 times.

"I thought they did a better job of executing," said Thompson, who witnessed a completely different performance from his players than the one they produced in an 88-63 triumph over Rutgers on Jan. 23 at Verizon Center.

Such unpredictability is nothing new this season for the Hoyas, as recent events indicate. On Jan. 30, Georgetown scored an 89-77 victory over then-No. 7 Duke and followed that a week later with a 103-90 win against then-No. 2 Villanova.

In between, the Hoyas lost to South Florida, 72-64, at Verizon Center. The Bulls are 15-9, 5-7 and have just two conference wins on the road.

The Hoyas have faltered on the road in-conference as well, though not to that degree. Georgetown fell to 3-4 in the Big East away from Verizon Center after seemingly correcting that deficiency with a 79-70 victory over Providence on Tuesday at Dunkin' Donuts Center.

"There was definitely more intensity," Monroe said of the difference between Sunday's game and the last time the Hoyas played Rutgers. "Basically they just wanted it more than us. It wasn't anything Xs and Os. They didn't do anything different. They didn't make any new plays or anything like that. They just wanted it more than us today."

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