by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
With the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in full swing Tuesday night, the showdown between No. 16 Georgetown and No. 9 Missouri got lost in the shuffle. It was very symbolic of the Hoyas season so far, which despite a 5-0 start a year after a first round exit in the NCAA tournament, had gone relatively unnoticed.
However, Georgetown made a serious statement in what was perhaps the best game of the young season. The Hoyas and Tigers raced up-and-down the floor all evening and scored with ease (both teams shot over 56 percent from the field). A furious rally at the end of the game coupled with some missed Missouri free throws had Georgetown down three on its last possession. A missed 3-point attempt0 led to a scrum for the offensive rebound that eventually wound up back in Georgetown’s hands. Chris Wright then connected on a wide-open 3-pointer for the Hoyas to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, it was all Jason Clark, who scored nine of the team’s 17 points in the extra period to lead the Hoyas to a 111-102 win. Clark, who ended up the hero, almost was instead the goat, as it appeared at the end of regulation after Wright tied the game that he attempted to foul Missouri after apparently being unsure of the score. Luckily for him and the Hoyas, he was never able to make contact with the Missouri player.
Georgetown is looking much improved from a year ago, when it suffered from a lack of depth and not many scoring options. Preseason Big East Player of the Year Austin Freeman got his Kemba Walker on last night, going for 31 points and leads a Hoyas team in scoring that is averaging 81 ppg.
The Hoyas were a bit of an unknown before Tuesday, but now it seems that they will be one of the major contenders in the Big East.
From The Washington Post:
Georgetown Coach John Thompson III brought his team halfway across the country looking to test his players mentally, physically and emotionally against a top opponent in a hostile environment. Well, he certainly found it.
“We accomplished all of that,” he said. “This was a very good win against a very good team that you had to be prepared for, and attentive to, for 45 minutes.”
The Big East appears wide open right now. Pittsburgh looks like the best team right now, but UConn, Georgetown, Syracuse and Villanova will all have a say in the matter before it’s over. At the very least, the Hoyas proved last night to forget about last year and start taking this year’s squad seriously.