Last season, the non-conference portion of Georgetown’s schedule was plagued with losses to inferior opponents on its home floor.
The Hoyas opened the 2015-16 campaign with a double overtime loss to Radford before being upset by Monmouth and UNC Asheville, in consecutive games, the next month.
Less than 48 hours after coughing up what would have been a marquee win over regional rival Maryland at the Verizon Center, Arkansas State, a team picked to finish 10th in the Sun Belt, landed a 78-72 wire-to-wire win over Georgetown at the historic McDonough Gymnasium. The Red Wolves led by as many as 20 in the first half.
L.J. Peak, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, attempted to mount a late comeback. Arkansas State helped the Hoyas out too. The Red Wolves missed three of four free throws in the final minutes to keep Georgetown in a one-possession game, at 75-72, with 17 seconds remaining. But like in Tuesday night’s loss to the Terrapins, critical errors down the stretch were the deciding factor. Peak’s inbound pass, from just in front of the team’s bench, was easily intercepted by Devin Simms. He would then ice the win after a pair of free throws.
As fans exited, “Fire Thompson!” chants could be heard through the broadcast.
Arkansas State deserves credit. This is a team, down three starters from a season ago, playing under a first-year head coach, Grant McCasland, who spent the previous five years as an assistant at Baylor. Devon Carter and Donte Thomas, two returning starters, set the tone early. Carter had a game-high 25 points, while Thomas, the D.C. native, posted 12.
The Red Wolves spaced the floor and read the high-ball screens well, knowing when to use it or slip it. It also helped that when they kicked out shooters, like Carter and Rashad Lindsey, were capable of knocking down threes.
Once again the Hoyas struggled shooting, especially from Isaac Copeland who is 6-of-22 from the field over the last two games. Rodney Pryor, who dropped 32 points in his Georgetown debut, was limited to seven points while he missed time due to foul trouble. Marcus Derrickson was not in uniform and no reason was given for his absence.
You can argue that this was a hangover from the shocking Maryland finish. If that’s the excuse you want to go with, then I don’t think you want to see the end result four days from now when Georgetown travels to participate in the Maui Invitational. The Hoyas’ first game will be against Oregon, a team that will either: a. Have Dillon Brooks in the lineup, or b. be playing with a sense or urgency, knowing they can’t lose many more games if they want to secure a No. 1 seed after the Ducks lost at Baylor on Tuesday.
On paper, Georgetown has the look of a top-5 team in the Big East. But it has not looked the part this week.