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.”