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.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.

Kurt Benkert rescues Virginia against Central Michigan, 49-35

Kurt Benkert rescues Virginia against Central Michigan, 49-35

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kurt Benkert threw five touchdown passes, the last three after Virginia had squandered all of a 28-0 lead, and the Cavaliers gave coach Bronco Mendenhall his 100th career victory, 49-35 over Central Michigan on Saturday.

Benkert hit Olamide Zaccheaus with a go-ahead 82-yard pass after the Cavaliers defense forced its first punt since the opening quarter. Virginia (1-3) forced another punt, and Benkert hit Albert Reid for a 5-yard touchdown, capping a 73-yard drive. Taquan Mizzell also scored twice for Virginia on runs of 4 and 53 yards.

"That's a happy group of young men in that locker room," Mendenhall said. "I'm certainly not saying we've arrived, but it's a nice start."

The Chippewas (3-1), seeking their first 4-0 start since 1985, scored on four of five possessions after going behind 28-0 less than 20 minutes into the game.

Cooper Rush for 402 yards and two touchdown passes to Corey Willis, including an 85-yarder, and Amari Coleman read a screen pass perfectly and scored on a 47-yard interception return.

Mendenhall, in his first year at Virginia, was 99-43 in 11 seasons at BYU before coming east.

THE TAKEAWAY

Central Michigan: The Chippewas are a confident team, and showed it even when trailing by three touchdowns in a loud stadium. They used timeouts when Virginia had the ball late in the second quarter to stop the clock, and cashed in with two touchdowns in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the half to get within 28-14.

Virginia: Rush picked apart the Virginia secondary, which lost cornerback Juan Thornhill on the first play of the game. The unit also lacks speed and played off the Central Michigan receivers for much of the day, allowing several long completions that produced third-down conversions. Kareem Gibson was a frequent target, but acquitted himself with a fourth-quarter interception to set up an insurance TD.

UP NEXT

Central Michigan: The Chippewas head into Mid-American Conference play at home against Western Michigan.

Virginia: The Cavaliers, losers of 17 in a row on the road, will try to end that skid as they open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at Duke.