Memphis has long team meeting after loss to Hoyas

After yet another disappointing loss, Memphis coach Josh Pastner

decided it was time for a long, long talk with his team.

Pastner addressed his players in the locker room behind closed

doors for more than 90 minutes after a 70-59 defeat against

Georgetown on Thursday night, the Tigers’ third loss in four

games.

”We just needed to air some things out, and I thought it was a

good, open discussion,” Pastner said. ”No one in there is happy

to be 6-5. Have we played a tough schedule? Darn right. But we’re

too good to be sitting at 6-5. We’re going to find a way to take

this into a positive. We have no other option.”

The lone bright spot for Memphis was a late surge that cut the

lead to seven points after it fell behind by 20 in the second half.

Otherwise, the Tigers had plenty of trouble spots to discuss, such

as the team’s 18 turnovers, and watching as Georgetown blew open

the game right after halftime.

”They jumped out on us, man,” said Will Barton, who had 12

points and 11 rebounds. ”I keep saying, every time we play good

teams like that, you cannot come out that flat and expect to win

the game. You either have to jump out on them or make it even. You

can’t get down 20 and then realize you’ve got to play. Against a

good team like that, it ain’t going to happen too many times when

you come back from 20.”

Memphis was plagued by turnovers throughout the game. Memphis

had four turnovers on its first seven possessions and turned the

ball over 10 times in the first half, finishing with 18. Guard Joe

Jackson and Barton had four apiece.

”We had 18 turnovers, and you just can’t play like that,”

Pastner said. ”That’s 18 wasted possessions.”

Chris Crawford scored 17 points to lead the Tigers’ offense.

Georgetown (10-1) never trailed as the Hoyas extended their win

streak to eight games.

The teams were playing a rare regular-season, non-conference

rematch. Georgetown, unranked at the time, defeated then-No. 8

Memphis 91-88 in overtime in the fifth-place game of the Maui

Invitational on Nov. 23. The roles were reversed for this contest,

with the Hoyas holding the national ranking.

Georgetown didn’t need overtime to sweep the season series,

taking control with runs to close out the first half and open the

second. The Hoyas closed the opening period with a 6-0 spurt in the

final 1 1/2 minutes, capped by Henry Sims’ massive fast-break dunk

with 7 seconds left.

Georgetown came out after halftime and simply overwhelmed

Memphis. Thompson’s 3-pointer about 45 seconds in pushed the lead

to double-digits for the first time – 40-28 – and the margin kept

growing.

The Hoyas scored the first seven points of the half before

Crawford converted a three-point play with 17:58 left. Georgetown

answered with another 7-0 run.

The Hoyas built the lead to 54-34, outscoring Memphis 19-6 over

the first 8 minutes of the second half.

”That’s how we’ve played all season,” Jackson said. ”When

we’ve played good teams with talent, we’re always playing from

behind, and that’s the problem.”

Instead of accepting the blowout once they were down 20, the

Tigers came back, using a 13-2 run to cut the lead to 58-49 with 8

1/2 minutes to play, helped by three straight turnovers by

Georgetown.

Jackson said the meeting after the game had a generally positive

tone.

”We just talked about playing for each other more. Instead of

when somebody makes a mistake or something like that, instead of

holding your head down, just play hard,” he said. ”We can

overcome everything that we’re doing. We can get better, and we’re

going to get better.”

However, Pastner knows the Tigers can’t keep waiting for

improvement.

”We can’t keep having meetings,” he said. ”Eventually we have

to get the job done. It’s pretty black and white.”