Grief counseling: scoring disparity hurting Hoyas

Grief counseling: scoring disparity hurting Hoyas
January 21, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Georgetown Hoyas head coach John Thompson III reacts during the second half of a game against the Providence Friars at Dunkin Donuts Center.

(Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

The five stages of grief are well known to anyone who has taken a psych class in college or are regular watchers of serialized television dramas. If Georgetown coach John Thompson III has indeed dipped into a depressed mode of late with his team losing three straight games and four of five, he hit the fifth and final stage Monday night: acceptance. 

The Hoyas have but two consistent and potent scorers, guards Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. The backcourt duo combined for 52 points against Marquette, scored 19 straight for the Hoyas during a second half stretch and helped give Georgetown a seven-point lead with 3:30 remaining. 

It still wasn't enough firepower. The starting frontcourt of Mikael Hopkins, Nate Lubick and Reggie Cameron shot 3 of 17 from the field. Georgetown's bench was outscored 34-8. 

This point-producing disparity is nothing new, not since the team lost center Joshua Smith to academics two games into the Big East season and guard Jabril Trawick to a broken jaw.  It's just that the reality can no longer be ignored, not after blowing a sizable second-half led in a third straight game.

Before responding to a question about the scoring inequality, Thompson paused while gathering his thoughts. Apparently four words came to mind.

"That's who we are."

With an array of long jumpers and crafty drives, Starks finished 10 of 21 from the field and made half of his eight 3-point attempts. The shot-making Smith-Rivera went 7 of 14 overall, 4 of 5 from beyond the arc and made all six of his free throws. Those two along with reserve center Moses Ayegba, who made all three of his field goal attempts including two late in regulation, finished 20 of 38.

The other five players who had an attempt went 3 of 23 overall and missed all seven of their 3-point tries. This wasn't simply an off night, though Cameron's had better 3-point shooting performances and Hopkins tallied 11 points in Saturday' loss to Seton Hall. Whatever points these players produce comes off energy plays or when set up by others, not from individual ability. Opposing defenses simply do not fear the options not named Starks and Smith-Rivera.

"The way teams are playing us, when we throw it inside because they aren't guarding the other guys as hard on the perimeter, whoever gets the ball in the paint has three guys standing in his lap," Thompson said. "We have to figure out how to play out of that."