No. 18 Hoyas beat Howard 62-48 after 17-0 start
Even while Georgetown coach John Thompson III’s team was
allowing a 17-point lead over Howard to dwindle to two, he opted
not to bring his players to the sideline.
With a team as young as his Hoyas – a total of 10 freshmen and
sophomores – Thompson wanted to see them get out of the jam by
themselves. And they did.
Playing its first game this season as a ranked team, No. 18
Georgetown held Howard scoreless for nearly 10 minutes at the start
Saturday, then staved off a strong comeback bid before dominating
down the stretch to win 62-48 behind freshman Otto Porter’s 13
”They’ve got to figure some things out on their own. We can
call a timeout, but I wanted to see who was going to step up, who
was going to talk, who was going to try to make adjustments on
their own,” Thompson said.
”I mean, yes, we can go debate the nuances of whether that’s a
good coaching move or not. But this group needs to figure out at
certain points of the game, `OK, we need to handle this. We need to
talk about this. We need to grow up.’ Because they know … what we
should do,” Thompson said.
He mainly relied on the leadership of senior Jason Clark and
junior Hollis Thompson, who each chipped in with 12 points for the
Hoyas (8-1) despite shooting poorly. On a six-game winning streak,
the Hoyas hadn’t played in a week and now will get another week off
before their next game – at home next Saturday against another D.C.
school, American University.
Georgetown entered The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, thanks
in part to victories over ranked teams Memphis and Alabama, and
knew what to expect from Howard (3-6), which got 14 points from
”Coach told us before: It was their biggest game of the season.
So we knew that they were going to come out and compete with us,”
Clark said. ”They did. They definitely played harder than us
He and Hollis Thompson – who isn’t related to the coach – went a
combined 3 for 18 on field-goal tries, part of a rough shooting day
for both teams. Neither quite made 33 percent from the field.
”I feel like we missed 10 layups. Now, they weren’t your
breakaway, wide-open layups. They were contested layups,” John
Thompson III said. ”But we missed during the course of that game,
I’m going to guess, 10 to 15 layups. And now you couple that with
missing foul shots?”
Hmmmm. Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry might have snickered at
that comment, because while Georgetown did miss 13 foul shots, it
got a chance to attempt 42. Howard only took 22 free throws, making
”They shot 42 free throws. We must be the foulingest team in
America,” Nickelberry said, shaking his head.
Still, after Georgetown began the game by taking a 17-0 lead –
Howard missed its first 11 shots – the visitors began chipping
away. When Simuel Frazier made a pull-up jumper with about 12 1/2
minutes to play, he cut Georgetown’s lead to 34-32.
It was still a two-point margin at 38-36 when Howard had the
ball and a chance to tie or go ahead, but Prince Okoroh was called
for traveling along the baseline. The Bison’s next possession ended
with Frazier fumbling the ball out of bounds on a wild drive
through the lane.
The Hoyas stifled Howard’s offense in part by turning to a
”We hadn’t seen that on tape yet,” Nickelberry said, noting
that Georgetown generally has relied on a 1-2-2 zone.
”We hadn’t really worked on that. … As a young team, we had
to adjust. By the time we adjusted,” he added, ”it was too
When Georgetown’s Markel Starks dropped a no-look pass back to
Porter for a fastbreak-closing dunk, the hosts’ lead was back up to
55-44 with about 2 1/2 minutes to go.
In the early going, Howard simply could not put the ball through
the hoop. When Okoroh’s jumper from near the free-throw line rolled
around the rim a few times before trickling out nearly eight
minutes after tipoff, some spectators responded with a joint groan
But Howard finally struck on its next possession, when Dadrian
Collins made a 3-pointer from the left wing with slightly more than
10 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
That began a stretch in which Howard outscored Georgetown 17-13,
making the Hoyas’ halftime lead 30-17. And the Bison scored the
first five points of the second half, making things interesting for
”We were worried about skill vs. will, to be honest with you.
They’re a good skill team,” Nickelberry said. ”We had to will
them to play ugly, play our style, and we tried to do that in the
Before the game, Georgetown announced that 6-foot-9 freshman
Tyler Adams of Brandon, Miss., will be sidelined indefinitely
because of concerns about his heart. He complained of chest pains
before a practice during the week, John Thompson III said, and has
been having tests done at Georgetown University Hospital.
”Him getting on the basketball court is irrelevant right now,”
the coach said. ”When and if it happens, great. And if it doesn’t
happen, we just want to make sure he’s OK. That’s first and