Hoyas survive with ugly 37-36 win over Vols

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Hoyas survive with ugly 37-36 win over Vols

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but nobody that witnessed Georgetown's 37-36 win over Tennessee on Friday night could romanticize the game itself as a many-splendored thing. Not when the game-winning basket and the final points came with 4:10 remaining or when not a single player scored in double figures or when both teams shot less than 30 percent from the field before halftime. You agree, right John Thompson III?

"That wasn't nice to watch? Some people would look at that as a thing of beauty," the Georgetown coach cracked after the offensively challenged, but defensively imposing contest. "I don't know that I've been a part of a game like that."

Nobody else participating in a Georgetown game over the last 30 years has either. The scoring total represented the team's lowest since the Patrick Ewing led Hoyas defeated SMU by the same 37-36 score in the second round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament before going on to win the National Championship.

Of course, that game had the excuse of not being played in the shot clock era. There were no four corners or other antiquated tactics in the Big East-SEC matchup between the No. 20 Hoyas (5-1) and Volunteers (4-2). Just plenty of misfiring and miscues, especially after a Markel Starks jumper before the final media timeout capped the scoring and gave Georgetown that insurmountable one-point lead.

With the final six baskets came six lead changes. With the final four minutes came seven field goal attempts - all without success including three by Georgetown - plus six turnovers before the Verizon Center crowd of 13,656.

"The shots just didn’t fall, it’s not like we weren’t taking good shots for the most part," said Otto Porter, whose eight points matched Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins for team-high honors. "We just had to continue to play."

Georgetown did not even attempt a shot over the final 2:20. Porter's mishandling of a Whittington pass sent the ball out of bounds with 22.6 seconds remaining, setting Tennessee up with a final possession.

Yet as was the case throughout, the Hoyas defense rose up. The Volunteers struggled against Georgetown's schemes, especially with its lengthy zone defenders. The final five seconds was no different as Skylar McBee missed from beyond the arc and after Tennessee maintained possession, Jordan McRae the same at the buzzer.

McBee and Trae Golden each scored eight points for the Volunteers, who finished with more rebounds (37) than points, but never trailed by more than eight. Tennessee missed 8 of 11 free throws and shot 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range, all leading to its fewest point total since scoring 35 against Auburn in 1997.

"If we win 10-9, I wouldn’t call it a frustrating game, if we get a chance to win it at the end," McBee said. "We didn’t shoot as well as we thought we could. Credit is due to Georgetown, they did a good job on that zone and they are a lengthy team and they make it tough out there."

Georgetown held power forward Jarnell Stokes to four points and only three field goal attempts. Porter was asked how the Hoyas were able to take Tennessee's leading scorer out of the game when Thompson jumped in and whispered, "Everybody was out of the game offensively."

Certainly, that was the case during the first half. Both teams were inaccurate whether from deep (combined 2 of 13) close - Hopkins alone missed at least three open layups - or at the free throw line (6 of 14).

Despite Nate Lubick going in and out of the lineup with a left elbow injury and Starks saddled with two early fouls, the Hoyas cobbled together enough points for a 12-4 midway through the first half. After a Hopkins free throw put Georgetown up 16-11 with 2:08 remaining, Tennessee closed the half with a 7-0 run for 18-16 halftime lead.

"We were getting easy shots that we were missing," Thompson said. "We were getting the ball right at the rim and the ball just wasn't going in."

Georgetown jumped ahead 31-23 with 12:10 remaining, but Tennessee countered with a 9-0 run, setting up the back and forth - and unsightly - finish.

Thompson: "I don't think we need to make that many adjustments offensively in the second half and then we came out and did the exact same thing."

The Hoyas coach acknowledged it "difficult to find too many positives" even after the win before coming up with an upside takeaway for his young squad.

"A lot of times it's easy, particularly for a young team that when you're not scoring to not play defense," Thompson remarked. "When you're not scoring to focus and not get stops. As frustrating as an offensive day that I can remember being a part of, we still got stops."

As for not recalling being part of a game so offensively suspect, Thompson's memory improved by the end of the press conference.

"Actually, I have been part of a game like this. I think I was eight...Game ended 13-11. I had 10 - and we won that game too."

At least that game had a double figure scorer.

Notes...Injured early in the game, Lubick played only eight minutes, none in the second half and will undergo X-rays, Thompson said. According to the coach, his junior forward "hit his elbow" and described a "tingling sensation in his fingers."...Georgetown has won 39 non-conference games at the Verizon Center dating back to the 2006-07 season...The Hoyas play Texas at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic.

Career-best night from Marial Shayok leads No. 16 Virginia past Georgia Tech

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Career-best night from Marial Shayok leads No. 16 Virginia past Georgia Tech

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Marial Shayok is emerging as the scorer Virginia so badly needs, and making his elevation to the starting lineup look brilliant.

Shayok had a career-best 19 points, the third time in four games he has set or tied his career high, and No. 16 Virginia used a 22-7 run spanning halftime to beat Georgia Tech 62-49 on Saturday.

"Today the guys were finding me and I was just catching and shooting and the ball was going in," Shayok said.

In his first start four games ago, he scored 17 points. He matched it the next game, and then set a new high on 6-for-9 shooting against the Yellow Jackets.

"He's wired to score," coach Tony Bennett said. "He can play off the bounce."

London Perrantes added 11 points, all in the first 7 minutes, for the Cavaliers (15-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), Devon Hall had 10 and Jack Salt had five points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and played harassing defense on Georgia Tech scoring leader Ben Lammers.

"There were a few story lines but I don't think there were any bigger than how Jack impacted the game," Bennett said after Lammers was 3 for 12 and scored seven points, less than half his 14.9 average. "Jack was just there. He was a presence."

The victory was the fourth straight for Virginia.

Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 3-4) with 14 points, all but one in the first half, and fellow freshman Justin Moore had 10.

The Yellow Jackets pulled within 29-28 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half, but Virginia scored the last six points of the half and started the second half with a 16-7 run to lead 51-35 with under 10 minutes to play.

"We've been pretty good at answering runs, but we didn't answer that one," first-year coach Josh Pastner said

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

BY TYLER BYRUM

Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland are no brainers that if they keep up the pace that each team is on, they will be dancing in the NCAA tournament come March. In Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology (released on Jan. 19), he has also included three other DMV teams, two hailing from the Atlantic 10, Richmond and VCU, and Morgan State

All six are contenders for their respective conference championship, but according to Lunardi, only Richmond and Morgan State from the list of six would need to win the automatic berth to make the big dance. Every team has a different reason to be in the tournament and it is looking more likely than not that at least five of these teams will be able to maintain their standing. 

If all six can make it another month an a half, it will surpass last season's four teams (Maryland, VCU, Virginia, and Hampton) to make the tournament.

Virginia (#4 seed, ACC):

The Cavaliers (14-3, 4-2) not only have the benefit of being in the best conference in college basketball, but also have made quite a name for themselves the past handful of seasons. With no losses to sub-50 RPI teams, No. 16 Virginia is a near lock to be in the NCAA tournament, barring a huge end of season collapse. In the ACC, they sit at fourth in the conference standings, where it is anticipated that a total of 11 teams in that conference will be in the tournament.

Maryland (#7 seed, Big Ten): 

Quietly the No. 25 Terrapins are becoming one of the best team's in the country after there was some skepticism to start the season. Maryland (16-2, 4-1) has taken advantage of their moderate schedule and has seven top-100 RPI wins, but so far lack the signature win that solidly puts the team in the tournament. Next week the team will get into the heat of conference play where for the remainder of the season will have home and aways against Minnesota, Ohio State, and road games in Wisconsin and Northwestern. A key for the Terps going forward will to continue to win the games they are supposed to win and hopefully squeak one out against the aforementioned teams. 

Virginia Tech (#10 seed, ACC):

Another benefactor of the dominant ACC, Virginia Tech appears to be on track for their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007 when they lost in the second round. Winning all the games the Hokies (14-4, 3-3) were supposed to win in the first half of the season, and then pulling out a shocker at home against then No. 5 Duke, Virginia Tech is looking solid at this point in the season. The team still has a loaded ACC schedule to get through, including two games against Virginia and a road trip to Chapel Hill, but if the team can finish at or above .500 in conference play they should remain in. Enough has been done early on to prove the team's worth. 

Richmond (#14 seed, Atlantic 10):

The Spiders (11-6, 5-0) do not have a strong at-large resume. Earlier in the year the team had a terrible loss to Oral Roberts, currently at 228 in the national RPI, and did not get a big win to combat the loss. In fact the program's best out-of-conference win this season was over Boston College, which stands at a 165 RPI. Since though, the team has gotten hot in Atlantic 10 play winning five straight and four of those wins being their best on the season. The team does not necessarily have to win the conference championship to make the tournament, but need to continue their stretch in conference and get a couple wins against the top teams, Dayton, Rhode Island, and VCU. 

VCU (#11 seed, Atlantic 10):

Listed as on of the 'last four in,' VCU (14-5, 4-2) took a big hit in their NCAA aspirations after a devastating buzzer-beater loss to Fordham on Wednesday. Their best win is at home against Middle Tennessee, but fell short against Baylor, Illinois, and Georgia Tech to gather another strong victory. Last week the team was looking like a near lock to the big dance, but back-to-back sub-100 RPI losses has the team's outlook for the rest of the season uncertain. If the Rams can avoid anymore upsets, they should remain on the good side of the bubble at the end of the year.

Morgan State (#16 seed, MEAC):

There is no possible way for the Bears (7-10, 4-0) to make it without winning the MEAC championship and even that will be a tall task for this team. From their undefeated conference record, none of the wins came against one of the conference's top five programs. It does not appear likely they will still be on this list a week from now, but a team to keep an eye one once the conference tournament comes around for an automatic berth.

Other possible tournament teams:

From an at-large bid perspective, no other team's in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington D.C. are within striking range. With the strength of their respective conferences, George Washington, Georgetown, and George Mason have outside shots if they were to run the table, or come close to it, and get in the bubble conversation. For all teams though, that seems highly unlikely.

Two other schools have the best chance of making the list seven or eight teams with UMBC and Old Dominion possibly winning their conference championship, the America East, and Conference USA respectively.

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