Less than 24 hours after getting back from its most dramatic and perhaps most draining win of the season, the Georgetown men’s basketball team was able to relax for most of its Saturday matinee against the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Junior forward Hollis Thompson made sure of that by sinking his first three three-point attempts for a comfortable lead in the opening minutes, and Georgetown was ahead by double figures for all but 28 seconds the rest of the way in an 84-44 triumph before 8,742 at Verizon Center.
Thompson had a career-high six three-pointers on seven attempts to finish with 20 points over 19 minutes. He went 7 for 10 from the field and added three assists. Freshman forward Mikael Hopkins had 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting, and senior guard Jason Clark rounded out Georgetown’s double-figure scorers with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
“Right now we’re focusing on, ‘Can we get better?,’ and today we were able to get extended minutes for guys we haven’t been able to get extended minutes for, and that is productive,” Coach John Thompson III said. “We’re going to need those guys once we hit conference play.”
Eleven players scored for Georgetown, which got at least six minutes from each member of the active roster. Freshman guard Jabril Trawick played a team-high 25 minutes, and freshman center Tyler Adams had eight points, six rebounds and three blocks in 11 minutes.
In making a season-high 12 three-pointers, the Hoyas won their fifth consecutive game and third in six days. The highlight of that stretch was Thursday night’s 57-55 road victory over 12th-ranked Alabama in which Hollis Thompson’s go-ahead three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left provided the decisive points.
Thompson and his teammates arrived on campus on Friday afternoon when their charter out of Tuscaloosa was iced over late Thursday night, requiring them to stay until the next morning. The unexpected layover along with little rest appeared non-factors, though, as Georgetown (7-1) made four of its first five three-point attempts in forging a 16-2 advantage with 14 minutes 37 seconds left in the first half.
“That’s last game, and I put that in the past,” Thompson said when asked if his torrid shooting was a carry-over from Thursday. “I focused on this game. My teammates just got me open, and I knocked down shots.”
The Highlanders (3-4) used an 11-5 run to get to 30-21 with 4:38 left until intermission, but Hopkins scored consecutive baskets to close the half. Georgetown then began the second half by scoring 18 in a row, and the margin expanded to 60-28. NJIT did not record its first field goal of the second half until 10:55, when the Hoyas led by 35.
Georgetown’s largest lead was 42 points, and at that point, Thompson III inserted fan favorite John Caprio with 5:48 to play. The seldom-used sophomore guard logged a career-high six minutes and received the loudest applause of any player when his layup roughly a minute later made the score 81-40.
“I think this team has the ability to be one of the best teams in the country if we keep playing hard,” Clark said. “We have to keep doing what we’re supposed to do.”
That includes asserting itself on the low block, where Georgetown’s length and versatility created considerable matchup problems for NJIT. The Hoyas finished well ahead in rebounding (47-22), points inside (24-14), and second-chance points (17-5). They also got 35 points from reserves and made 18 of 20 from the foul line.
With victories over two ranked teams and a near miss against Kansas, 67-63, the Hoyas now await the newest top 25 rankings released on Monday. They’re almost certain to be included following a start to the season that has been far from predictable. Georgetown, with 10 underclassmen, was picked to finish 10th in the Big East in a preseason poll of conference coaches.
“For a team that is young like us, they would love to see their name pop up like that, but at the end of the day, you still have to go out and play the games,” John Thompson III said. “The rankings are just a popularity contest. It depends on who votes and who doesn’t vote, so we just have to play the games.”