On the night Allen Iverson was passed on Georgetown's all-time scoring list, the Hoyas had no answer for Monmouth's offense.
At home in front of former Georgetown great Dikembe Mutombo and a lifeless crowd, there was far more head shaking than finger wagging.
After another night where the Big East team looked anything but beastly, more questions emerged.
Before diving into some big picture themes, let's start with the 83-68 home loss. Now, losing to Monmouth isn't completely bizarre simply because the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference program already owned notable wins over Notre Dame, Southern Cal and at UCLA this season. However, it wouldn't matter if this game were against Syracuse or a Big East squad. The Hoyas got worked all over the court.
The Hoyas (6-4) never found rhythm with the ball in their hands whether shooting from the field (32.8%), beyond the 3-point arc (7 of 29) or from the free throw line (21 of 33) -- and yet the other end of the court is where the head Hoya felt the game was lost.
"I thought [Monmouth] defended well. I think our issue was our defense," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.
He's not wrong. The Hawks (7-3) made 10 of 20 3-pointers, but their crisp and confident ball movement truly buried the Hoyas. Monmouth continually found open shooters deep or in the paint against a chasing Georgetown defense that often looked lost and a step behind. While the Hoyas missed free throws, the Hawks made 31 of 37.
"That's the best offensive team we played this year," said the coach who earlier this season directed his team against Maryland, Wisconsin, Duke and Syracuse. "We have to get to where we can rely on our defense getting stops. When we needed to do that today, we didn't. It coincided with us having a bad day offensively."
It also coincided with another non-home court advantage. The school announced 5,258 people attended the game at Verizon Center, an arena capable of holding 18,000. Finals are taking place at Georgetown, which typically drops the number of students on hand. The lack of big game hype often does the same. In this case, some showed for a glimpse at Monmouth's hyped bench celebrations.
One minute into the game, it was clear the Hoyas were in trouble. The vibe felt like one of those neutral site NCAA Tournament games where there isn't overwhelming crowd support for either side and it's just a matter of whether the perceived Goliath gives unattached supporters reasons to back David. Those scenarios haven't been kind to the Hoyas over the last decade.
The Georgetown fans weren't rooting for the visitors, though the New Jersey school had a group of vocal backers who were easily heard above the quiet. Monmouth's robust performance made the home crowd detached from the start and the on-court Hoyas matched their enthusiasm.
The thing is this wasn't a one-off situation in terms of the timid atmosphere at Verizon Center or the team's reaction.
Wins and losses aside, Georgetown' most impressive performances this season came at Maryland; at Madison Square Garden against Wisconsin and Duke, and home against former Big East rival Syracuse. The Hoyas went 2-2 in those games, but were a play or two away from winning all. In each case there were vocal crowds and big game mojo.
The other six games, including the season-opening home loss to Radford, took place on their home court before smaller crowds. Rather blah performances from all involved followed.
In three home games since beating Syracuse, Georgetown:
* Defeated Brown 74-57, but outscored 42-28 in the second half before a listed crowd of 4,690
* Knocked off UNC Wilmington 87-82, but outscored 34-14 over the final eight minutes before a listed crowd of 8,132
* Trailed Monmouth for all but 80 seconds and by double figures most of the game
Would any of these scenarios or the double-OT loss to Radford fared differently if the games were played on-campus at McDonough Arena where the fan size matches the intimate setting? Of course, we can't say for sure. Previous Georgetown teams won plenty under similar conditions. This version certainly isn't thriving.
Georgetown lost guard Jabril Trawick to graduation after last season. Trawick's greatest gift was arguably his ferocious, "I dare you to knock the block off my shoulder" aura that translated into energy plays. He didn't brawl, but he never backed down and his teammates responded. These young Hoyas -- seven of their primary 10 players are underclassmen -- apparently need help creating that game-day emotion when rowdy crowds or headliner opponents aren't on the menu.
This also isn't only about the crowd and atmosphere.
Georgetown always schedules tough under Thompson, but doing so with a very young roster and limited number of ball handlers may have been the wrong call.
Senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the player who passed Iverson on the program's scoring list, was essentially the only current Hoya entering this year with more than one season of significant playing time. He's also one of one two true ball-handling guards along with Tre Campbell. Overall, Monmouth had better guard play.
Teams pressuring the Hoyas have enjoyed success. Teams deploying zone defense against the motion offense have as well. When the passing is more side-to-side then toward the basket or zigzag, the chances for bad beats rise. Limited number of players capable of beating defenders off the dribble hurts in all cases.
Starting Campbell is something to consider because it would allow Smith-Rivera to play off the ball, his natural role. Listed at 6-foot-3, Smith-Rivera went 2 of 10 on 3-pointers against Monmouth. One of the top perimeter threats in program history, the senior is shooting a career-low 32.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Then again, Campbell is a member of the five-player sophomore class yet to show significant growth from last season's impressive start. One of those members, forward Paul White, surprisingly did not play in Tuesday's loss.
Maybe these early challenges help the young players thrive in conference play. Georgetown has talent. Some on the roster will reach the NBA assuming continued progress and good fortune. That statement also applies to the Hoyas' chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament. The Big East looks fierce at the top with four teams currently ranked, which makes the road ahead challenging, but also loaded with résumé helping opportunities
The Hoyas just cannot afford any more stunning losses. They've met their quota and then some.