Four days after being embarrassed on its home floor by Arkansas State, Georgetown nearly blew a 17-point first-half lead, but held on to spoil Dillon Brooks’ season-debut as the Hoyas upset No. 13 Oregon, 65-61, in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Maui Invitational on Monday night.
Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak combined for 28 points (off 11-of-19 shooting) at the half, outscoring the entire Oregon team, which entered the break with 21 points.
The Ducks came storming out of the gates to start the second half, taking a 43-42 lead momentarily. During that stretch we began to see glimpses of Dillon Brooks. He registered his first point of the year and came up with some big plays to keep momentum on Oregon’s side. Georgetown, which had suffered two devastating losses the previous week, regrouped and countered with an 11-2 run. While Brooks’ deep three with seven seconds left cut the lead to 63-61, the Hoyas would ice the game from the line.
Pryor scored a game-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds. Peak chipped in 17 points. Freshman point guard Payton Pritchard had 18 points off the bench, while Brooks, who also played in a reserve role, had eight.
After the week Georgetown has had — a late-game collapse at home against Maryland followed by a wire-to-wire loss by Arkansas — this may be a season-changing victory. I understand that’s a pretty dramatic pre-Thanksgiving statement to make, especially when you factor in Brooks was a shell of his All-American self. But this should serve as a huge confidence booster for the Hoyas. Not only does this help their resume come Selection Sunday, it also puts them in the winners bracket, meaning they get at least one additional game against a ranked opponent: No. 16 Wisconsin on Tuesday.
For the Ducks, it was the first half that did them in. The offense was stagnant at times and couldn’t hit shots from the outside against the 2-3 zone (1-for-9 from deep) Through the first 20 minutes, the Ducks shot 21 percent from the field. That prohibited them from setting up the press, which had success against the Hoyas when they were able to apply the pressure in the second half.
While 2-2 isn’t where we pegged, we haven’t seen this title contender with a healthy Brooks yet. Oregon will get better as Brooks continues to get adjusted to game action and not restricted to minutes like the 13 he saw in his season debut.
The Ducks move the other side of the bracket to face Tennessee on Tuesday.