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Hoyas squeak past Volunteers, 37-36 in game for the ages

No one makes double figures as the Hoyas improve to 5-1 on the season Friday night.


Of all the numbers and statistics that can be used to illustrate the ugliness of Georgetown's 37-36 win over Tennessee, here's the one that sums it up better than anything we can think of: 14 players scored at least a point in Friday night's game (8 for Tennessee, 6 for Georgetown). Not a single one hit double figures.

Greg Whittington, Mikael Hopkins, and Otto Porter led Georgetown with eight points apiece. Similarly, Trae Golden and Skylar McBee led Tennessee with eight points each.

The last time a Georgetown team scored such a small number of points was in 1984, when the Hoyas of Big John Thompson and Patrick Ewing defeated SMU in the second round of that year's NCAA Tournament.

The last basket of Friday night's game was scored with 4:10 left by Markel Starks (four points) to put the Hoyas up 37-36. Between then and the final buzzer came eleven possessions, ending in five missed shots and six turnovers. In addition, Georgetown did not attempt a single free throw in the second half (They finished the night 4-for-9 from the stripe. Tennessee fared even worse: 3-for-11.)

This recitation of instances and selections is in every conceivable way preferable to prolonged discussion of the game itself, of which the winning coach later said, "It's difficult to find too many positives."

"I think I was part of a game like this once before," John Thompson III said near the end of his postgame press conference. "I think I was 8, and playing for St. Anthony's [CYO]. We won, 13-11, and I scored 10." This got the biggest laugh of the evening from a press corps that was in need of one.

In truth, Georgetown was the better team, and should have put great distance between themselves and the Volunteers in the first half. But the team struggled making shots at the rim, and Tennessee closed the first half on a 7-0 run to lead 18-16 at the break. The pattern repeated itself in the second half: the Hoyas led by as many as 8 (31-23 with 12:10 to go) before a cavalcade of missed shots, turnovers, and fouls helped the visitors nose back in front.

If Georgetown struggled to make shots, Tennessee struggled to get decent looks at all. Appearing completely flummoxed by the Hoyas' 2-3 zone, the Volunteers would spend whole possessions passing the ball around the perimeter in the hope of finding an opening. On the rare occasions when the ball went into the post, the hapless recipient was trapped amid a swarm of swatting and reaching Georgetown hands. Eventually, even the ability to make a clean catch escaped the Volunteer big men. Despite this opportunism, and though Tennessee committed 13 turnovers to Georgetown's nine, the Hoyas only scored six points off turnovers to Tennessee's nine.

Player of the Game: Jabril Trawick. Scored seven points on 3-for-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds, playing with the toughness that the game required.

Injury Report: According to John Thompson III, Nate Lubick will go for X-rays after banging his elbow in the first half. Lubick played just eight scoreless minutes.

Next Up: Tuesday vs. Texas (Jimmy V Classic, Madison Square Garden, New York City). Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN.