Instant analysis: Hoyas-Ducks

Instant analysis: Hoyas-Ducks
November 9, 2013, 1:00 am
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* In one game, Georgetown both wowed with its potential thanks to Josh Smith's power, but showed that certain existing concerns are sincere. Smith's dominant debut -- career-high 25 points -- kept it close, but brutal 3-point shooting (1 for 15), foul trouble, free throw discrepancy and defensive lapses undid the Hoyas.

*Starting in his first game as a Hoya, Smith made 10 of 13 field goal attempts before fouling out in the final seconds. As expected, the Ducks couldn't push the 350-pounder of the low block once he established position. Rim-rattling dunks and power plays followed. Uncertainty existed about how many minutes the Hoyas would get out of the big man, but Smith rarely appeared winded during his 27 minutes. Foul trouble limited his time on the court more than conditioning. The offense often ran through the new center, who is no mere scorer. John Thompson III hinted during the offseason that Smith had the passing gene, but I'd say he undersold it. The ex-UCLA transfer's previous high came when he scored 24 against Washington as a sophomore.

*That's the good Smith. The iffier version showed up on defense and on the glass where his lack of quickness stood out. Though he wasn't the only one having issues on pick-and-rolls, Smith struggled to close out on shooters. One of the stingiest defensive teams nationally last season, Georgetown allowed 80 points for the first time in regulation since Marquette posted 83 in the 2011-12 regular season finale. Last season, the Hoyas only allowed three teams to score at least 70 points. Despite his size, Smith finished with just four rebounds and the Hoyas lost the battle of the boards 40-32. Less important than his number of boards, Smith struggled when the caroms didn't come his way. Still, nobody will complain about what we saw on opening night overall from the big fella.

*Joseph Young made all 12 of his free throw attempts and the led the Ducks with 24 points. Mike Moser, who found room for jumpers around the free throw line when guarded by Smith, had 16. Oregon made 36 of 44 free throws while the Hoyas sank 20 of 30. The tighter officiating on hand checks led to a never-ending run on whistles and put Markel Starks and Smith into early foul trouble. Let's hope the parade to the free throw line isn't the norm in college hoops this season, but that's the fear.

*I assumed that Smith would contribute as an interior scorer this season, though he's already topping expectations in that realm. Therefore, the top question I posed for the Hoyas this season focused on the overall offense beyond the top three options. In that sense, nothing changed based on the opener. Starks had 16 points, but D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera missed all five of his attempts and finished 2 of 10 overall for five points.

Collectively the offense had similar scoring woes as previous seasons. Unless the ball found Smith inside or a guard penetrated deep, lots of side-to-side passing. Though the Hoyas had just 11 turnovers overall, the guards struggled early against the Ducks pressure. Jabril Tawick scored 11 and Mikael Hopkins had  10 before fouling out, but let's not consider either a go-to options, at least not yet. Inside the 3-point arc, Georgetown shot 26 for 44 (59.1 percent). Outside, not so good, obviously.

* Aaron Bowen and Hopkins were the top two contributors off the bench. Bowen continued his trend of highlight plays with a stellar putback, but otherwise remained the offensively limited (1 of 5 FG). Hopkins, who started every game last season, matched Nate Lubick (three points) with a team-high six rebounds. Freshman Reggie Cameron and sophomore Stephen Domingo received early minutes. The look of this team offensively and perhaps defensively (more perimeter size, frontcourt quickness) would look significantly better if one of the two young swingmen - two points in 14 minutes - could score with any regularity.

*Next chance for the Hoyas to impress and improve comes Wednesday against Wright State at the Verizon Center.