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Georgetown tops Indiana, 91-87, in an overtime thriller at Madison Square Garden

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Georgetown overcame a 10-point halftime deficit. Indiana (more like Yogi Ferrell) scored seven points in the last 90 seconds of regulation to force overtime.

But in the extra frame, the Georgetown duo of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Joshua Smith were too much for the Hoosiers, as the Hoyas picked up an important 91-87 win on Saturday afternoon inside Madison Square Garden in one of the best games of the season.

For the Hoyas, this was a great way to end the non-conference portion of their schedule, as they hope to see similar results when they return to The Garden in March. Georgetown has the makings of a top-25 team, though, didn’t have the resume to match. In the Battle 4 Atlantis, Georgetown topped an injury-plagued Florida team, and took Wisconsin to the wire, only to lose by three. The Hoyas also hosted Kansas earlier this month, but suffered a five-point loss.

At different points of the game, both teams showed why they’ll both be tough outs in their respective conferences.

After being plagued by three fouls in the first half, Smith scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and overtime, grabbing six boards (five offensive) and recorded two steals. He gave Georgetown the inside presence Indiana couldn’t handle.

In the first half, the Hoosiers opened up a double-digit lead thanks to 3-point shooting from Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. The two guards combined for six of Indiana’s seven 3-pointers. The Hoosiers would score 26 of their 40 first half points off 3-point attempts, as Georgetown fouled two 3-point shooters, resulting in five points from the free throw line. Georgetown held dig itself into a whole, missing way too many point-blank shots.

Troy Williams had a great showing, especially in the second half, making plays for teammates, crashing the glass and hustling for 50/50 balls.

Smith-Rivera scored 24 of his game-high 29 after halftime and Aaron Bowen had a career-high 20 off the bench. Ferrell was one of three IU players to go over 20 with a team-high 27. Williams had 23 and Blackmon added 22.

Georgetown’s senior center looking to rebound from ’embarrassing’ 2013-14 season

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Georgetown entered the 2013-14 season feeling optimistic about center Joshua Smith, whose career to that point was more about a talented big man failing to put it all together than anything else. And through the first 13 games of the season Smith played well for John Thompson III’s Hoyas, averaging 11.5 points in just under 20 minutes of action per night. But that’s where his season ended, as Smith was declared academically ineligible prior to the start of Big East play.

And while Smith’s ineligibility wasn’t the only reason why Georgetown missed the NCAA tournament, it certainly didn’t help matters for a team that lacked a consistent interior scoring option (Mikael Hopkins averaged 6.0 ppg). Now the former McDonald’s All-American is down to his last shot to make good on the talent that led many to label him one of the best players in the country coming out of high school.

In a story written by Ben Standig of CSN Washington, Smith discussed the way in which the 2013-14 season played out for him.

“I felt embarrassed just how that went,” Smith continued. “I’m a man, I manned up. It was a mistake that happened. I owned up to it. I had to sit out last year. It was a terrible feeling watching your teammates play at home, watching them play in the Big East and [knowing] all you can do is offer them moral support. I’m not going to let these guys down again.”

Also of note in the story is the fact that Thompson III praised Smith for the way in which he’s worked in the days leading up to the start of the 2014-15 season. However he also noted that Georgetown was in the same spot last season, with the NCAA’s decision to grant Smith immediate eligibility looking to be a major boost to the Hoyas’ hopes of making another NCAA tournament appearance.

Georgetown has some talented pieces on the perimeter led by Preseason Big East Player of the Year D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen, and front court options such as junior Bradley Hayes and freshman Isaac Copeland are in position to help as well. But there’s room for Smith to step forward as well. And while the early word on his progress may sound good, Smith’s reached a point where many will want to see it consistently before they believe.

Report: Joshua Smith returns to Georgetown

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After spending the summer at home and away from Georgetown’s campus, senior center Joshua Smith is back on campus and back with the team, according to a report from CSN Washington‘s Ben Standig.

“He’s academically eligible and will be here Saturday,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said to Standig.

Smith last appeared in a Georgetown game on January 4th and he missed the rest of his junior season because he was academically ineligible. When he was active, the 6-foot-10, 350-pound center was still not in any kind of shape to play big minutes and Smith was a huge liability on the defensive end.

Since the Georgetown coaching staff hasn’t seen Smith since he went home for the summer, the big question for the senior is what kind of shape will he be in? Thompson isn’t focused on Smith’s weight being a specific number but he’s more concerned about his mobility.

“I think with Josh (and his weight), people want a number,” Thompson said to Standig. “It’s not a question of the number. It’s a question of can he get up and down the court. Can he defensively move his feet. What the number is, for me that number might be different than what it is for you. Josh has to get to a point where his mobility is not an issue.”

The Hoyas are happy to have Smith and his post scoring ability back, but it sounds like they’re planning for a season with or without a productive Smith.

“We had to change how we played several times last year just because of injuries or Josh going down because of academics,” Thompson said to Standig. “Going into this year, I think we’re going to have to be prepared for Josh on the court and for Josh not on the court.”

It sounds like the Georgetown coaching staff is letting Smith get his life and his health together on his own because there isn’t much else they can do for him at this point in his college career.

Smith is a senior now and if he wants to earn a paycheck playing basketball, he has to make significant strides in his conditioning in his final season of college basketball. But Georgetown preparing for life without Smith says a lot. If they don’t know what to think of their center then the rest of us will just have to wait and see how he fares on the court.

Georgetown’s Moses Ayegba to transfer

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Georgetown’s frontcourt was simply a mess this season. Joshua Smith, the celebrated transfer from UCLA, only played thirteen games before he was ruled academically ineligible, and Mikael Hopkins was inconsistent. However, one big that did manage to shine slightly was Moses Ayegba, the once highly-touted recruit who proved a defensive force, both on the glass and on the interior, in 2014. Ayegba, though, is now transferring, per a report from Adam Zagoria, and has one year of eligibility remaining.

Ayegba’s extra minutes were largely due to concerns of coach John Thompson III, who essentially had no frontcourt depth or rhythm for much of the year — the coach didn’t know who would show up each game. Hopkins would play well one game, and then disappear the next two. Jabril Trawick is aggressive and physical, two traits inherent for a successful big, but he was plagued with injuries, and while Nate Lubick did play well, he was an offensive liability as he attempted only 11 percent of the team’s shots in his final year.

The move is a smart one for Ayegba — Hopkins, Trawick, and Smith all return, there should be more minutes for an improving Reggie Cameron, and the Hoyas’ 2014 is laden with bigs. Ayegba has proven he can contribute defensively in short spurts, so a move down a level, to a non-BCS school, might benefit the 6-foot-9 Ayegba.

Georgetown’s Joshua Smith to miss remainder of season for academic reasons

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After playing in six games at UCLA last season, center Joshua Smith made the decision to transfer and ultimately landed at Georgetown. And in a surprising twist the NCAA granted the 6-foot-10 Smith immediate eligibility, and despite his weight issues the big man was expected to potentially help the Hoyas make a return to the NCAA tournament and contend for a Big East title.

However after playing in Georgetown’s first two conference games Smith was sidelined for academic reasons, and on Friday head coach John Thompson III announced that Smith will miss the remainder of the season as a result. While Smith did struggle in each of his final four games this season he did string together a stretch of six consecutive games in double figures, and he averaged 11.5 points per game.

Georgetown, which visits Creighton on Saturday, is also without Jabril Trawick who continues to recover from a broken jaw so the news on Smith doesn’t help matters at all.

“So much was geared toward [Josh’s] presence,” Thompson III said according to Ben Standig of CSN Washington. “Now here in the middle of the season, between him and Jabril, you lose two starters. You have to reshuffle everything.

“But this is Georgetown. We have a set of standards here. Everyone has a responsibility above and beyond what goes on those doors right there. He let his teammates down, but the rest of the group will try to regroup here and figure it out.

And that’s the most disappointing thing about this, with Smith being given a second chance to realize the talent that made him a McDonald’s All-American as a high school senior. Georgetown welcomed him into the program, and the NCAA making the confusing decision to allow him to play immediately.

But he failed to take full advantage of this opportunity, resulting in the Hoyas being shorthanded for the remainder of the season. Thompson III also said that he’s hopeful Smith will do what it takes academically to return to the program next season.  For Smith’s sake, hopefully that is the case.

College Basketball Talk’s Ten Most Disappointing Players

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Preseason prognostication is, more or less, a guessing game.

The picks that the so-called experts — myself included — make are educated and generally well-researched, but they’re still guess. And oftentimes, those guesses end up wrong. 

Through a month of the season, who did we swing-and-miss on the most?:


Luke Hancock, Louisville: Maybe our expectations for Hancock were too high heading into the season given that he was basically a role player prior to the Final Four. But even as a role player, Hancock isn’t doing his job. He’s shooting 31.4% from the floor and 22.9% from three.

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, Virginia: The ‘Hoos have been one of the most disappointing teams this season and it’s mainly due to the play of Harris and Mitchell. Harris is averaging 11.3 points this season, five point less than a year ago, while Mitchell’s numbers are down to 6.3 points and 4.8 boards.

Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan: No one is feeling the loss of Trey Burke like these two. McGary’s struggles we can explain away as a back injury. GR3? Well, he’s been exposed as a spot-up shooting athlete that is either unable or unwilling to attack the basket off the bounce. He may end up regretting not leaving for the NBA after last season.

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: McAdoo is a freak athlete, but maybe it’s time to accept that he’s just never going to morph into the star that we all expect him to be. But if he does? Think about it like this: North Carolina beat Louisville and Michigan State when he combined to go 6-for-22 from the floor.

Alex Poythress, Kentucky: Poythress has become the Invisible Man for the Wildcats. He’s buried in Kentucky’s front court rotation, which means he’s been forced to play on the perimeter. He’s not a perimeter player. He’s averaging 4.8 points and 6.2 boards and coming off of a scoreless six minutes against Baylor.

Joshua Smith, Georgetown: Smith has been good for Georgetown this season. He’s been averaging 13.6 points, drawing fouls and taking up space in the middle of the floor. But he’s playing less than 20 minutes a night, not a presence on the glass and an atrocious defender. He has the ability to dominate, but he’s not.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke: Sulaimon has fallen way out of favor with the Duke coaching staff. He took the dreaded DNP-CD in Duke’s win over Michigan, and the likes of Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones have passed him in the rotation. He’s averaging 3.4 points over his last seven games.

Gabe York, Arizona: York came out on fire this season, which is part of the reason that his recent struggles have been a disappointment. In the five games since putting 20 on Fairleigh Dickinson, he’s averaging 5.0 points and shooting 5-for-17 from three.