Hoyas Can't Answer Call

Technical on Monroe Hastens Georgetown's Downfall at Duke: Duke 76, Georgetown 67

Despite a handful of rallies, Georgetown can never catch up to a dramatic Duke push at the end of the first half, and the Blue Devils hold on for a 76-67 win in a highly anticipated face off.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 18, 2009; Page D01

DURHAM, N.C., Jan. 17 -- The call was as quick as a reflex and made amid the roar of Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Seconds earlier, Georgetown's big men had pared a 15-point deficit to four, giving the Hoyas new life in a wearying slugfest against the third-ranked Blue Devils.

But after an official heard something he didn't like from the Georgetown bench, he spun on his heels and called a technical foul on freshman center Greg Monroe.

Monroe's claim that he didn't say anything was ignored, and it offered little solace in the aftermath of the 76-67 loss that brought Georgetown's daunting nonconference schedule to a disheartening close on Saturday.

The technical, coming with 15 minutes 7 seconds remaining, counted as Monroe's fourth personal foul. And it changed the game's complexion, muzzling Monroe from that point on and opening new avenues of attack for Duke, which had been doing quite well against the Hoyas' defense anyway.

Still, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III took pains to say afterward that the call wasn't why the Hoyas lost. Nor was Duke's famously hostile home court, he added.

"They outplayed us," Thompson said with grim-faced clarity. "It's a very disappointing loss for a lot of reasons. But we have to move on."

Georgetown (12-4) had made great strides in its previous games, Big East victories over Providence and Syracuse that revealed a toughness and depth the Hoyas hadn't shown. But Saturday's loss contained few highlights and raised more questions than answers.

The Hoyas were led by junior forward DaJuan Summers, who was nearly unstoppable when Duke swingman Gerald Henderson wasn't on the floor to guard him. And Summers played with fury on the defensive end, as well. While he missed five of his 10 free throw attempts, Summers kept the Hoyas in the fight after a humbling first half and finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.

"He's one of the best players we've played against this year or will play against," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team improved to 16-1.

Sophomore guard Austin Freeman added 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting for the Hoyas, and Monroe finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 28 minutes.

But apart from Freeman, Georgetown got scant help from its starting guards. Jessie Sapp and Chris Wright were held scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting in the first half. So for the first time this season, Thompson relegated them to the bench and tapped freshman Jason Clark and sophomore Omar Wattad to start the second half, with Duke up 40-29.

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