Georgetown's start makes Hoyas-Terps about more than history


Georgetown's start makes Hoyas-Terps about more than history

The plan all along had reporters meeting with members of the Georgetown men's basketball team Monday to preview Tuesday's highly anticipated game at Maryland. The session took place, but the tone changed. Suffering a season-opening loss and arguably the biggest home upset in decades will do that.

There were indeed questions about the importance of this coming meeting in College Park with history lessons in mind,  but also on how the Hoyas must contend with the No. 3 Terps. However, the primary focus centered on Saturday's stunning result at Verizon Center.

While the Big East power started slow and never showed true hustle, the Big South stunners finished strong. Radford's 3-pointer with 0.7 on the clock in double overtime sank Georgetown 82-80.

"They came out with a chip on their shoulder expecting to win that game," senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera said of Radford. "We came out there as if we weren't ready to play, like we would just walk over them and you see the results."

The issues were numerous. Despite significant height advantages across the court, the Hoyas were outrebounded on both ends. Their 3-point shooting touch disappeared early and late. Energy wavered when loose balls presented possession opportunities, opportunities Radford gobbled up.

"Throughout the game, Radford made the plays necessary to win, offensively and defensively," Georgetown coach said Monday from McDonough Arena. "We had our opportunities coming down the stretch, but we didn't make winning plays."

RELATED: Georgetown: Five things to know after upsetting loss

It's not hyperbole to suggest that this setback, to a program from a one-bid NCAA Tournament league without any notable basketball history, is the worst one suffered by Georgetown dating back to 1983.

All of that can be forgotten -- though not with those calculating RPI -- with a win over Maryland in the first regular season matchup between the local programs in the D.C. area since 1993.

Contentious at times throughout the decades, the rivalry ran hottest when John Thompson Jr. battled and eventually surpassed the Lefty Driesell coached Terps for local supremacy during the 1980's. Scheduling debates of the "who, what, where and why" sort kept the programs apart even after Maryland's 84-83 upset win in overtime at the Capital Centre in 1993.

The only subsequent games came not by design, but by the tournament bracket gods. Eighteen years after the Hoyas won the national title, Maryland defeated Georgetown in the 2001 NCAA Tournament en route to cutting down the nets. The last meeting took place in Orlando with the Hoyas rolling for a 27-point win in the 2008 Old Space Classic.

John Thompson III grew up during the truly intense part of this rivalry. He recalled Monday the physical and exhausting interior battles between Georgetown forward Craig Shelton and Maryland's Buck Williams in 1979 when the teams met at the D.C. Armory. This Thompson has been game for a rematch for some time. Under the cover of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between Big East and Big Ten teams, that time has come with another meeting set for 2016 at Verizon Center.

"I think it's good for both programs," Thompson said. "We're excited."

Thompson believes his young players grasp why this game isn't just the next game.

"They understand the history. They have read and heard from various people --myself included -- that this game is special."

Beyond the history lesson, this game is special in the moment. For Georgetown to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1998-99, they must defeat a team that Thompson calls "elite."

That's not how anyone described the Terps just one year ago when there were questions about the future under coach Mark Turgeon. That all changed with a 28-win season, the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years and robust recruiting.

Sporting an impressive roster led by All-American guard candidate Melo Trimble, senior forward Jake Layman and imposing freshman center Diamond Stone, the Terps are preseason favorites for the Big Ten crown.

With its size, depth and shooting prowess on display, Maryland kept its record pristine with Friday's 80-56 win over Mount St. Mary's.

"We're playing a team [Tuesday] that's elite. At every position they have an elite player."

That might be the case for Georgetown as well. Smith-Rivera is one of the top guards in the country. Sophomore's Isaac Copeland and L.J. Peak,  and freshman center Jessie Govan are among those oozing upside.

None of that matters if the Hoyas don't make those winning plays.

"We want to be one of the elite teams in the country. It starts with competing," said Smith-Rivera, who went scoreless in the first half Saturday before finishing with 15 points. "We think we can compete with anybody. As long as we rebound and as long as we defend, we should be fine, but we have to do with that."

They must do that not just for a needed win, but because this game is also for history.

Notes: Forward Paul White (hip), who did not face Radford, is questionable to face Maryland, Thompson said.

MORE COLLEGE HOOPS: Stunner: Radford upsets Georgetown

Week 7: Virginia, Maryland suffer reality checks

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Week 7: Virginia, Maryland suffer reality checks

Virginia has looked like the front-runner in the Coast Division all season. That may have changed on Friday after a tough loss at Miami. Also, if you thought Josh Jackson did not add all that much to Maryland's offense, you thought wrong. That was made clear in Saturday's blowout loss to a bad Purdue team. Virginia Tech continues to try to turn things around with a new quarterback, Navy earned a key conference win and Penn State and Iowa continue to ruin football for everyone.

Here’s a recap of the week’s local action.

Miami 17, Virginia 9

The good

While the Cavaliers’ offense struggled in this one, the defense was tremendous and kept Virginia in it. After giving up 78 yards to Miami in their first possession, UVA held the Hurricanes to just 33 yards, no point and six punts on their next six drives. The defense began to bend late as Miami earned 147 of its 265 total yards and 10 of its 17 points on the final two drives. Still, Virginia’s defense clearly did enough to win this game.

The bad

It’s time to be concerned about the Cavalier’s rushing offense. Virginia was held to just 74 yards on the ground with its best rusher, Wayne Taulapapa, getting just 27 yards on eight carries. Once again, too much was asked of Bryce Perkins who attempted 42 passes and finished with 17 carries including five sacks.

In the past two games, Perkins has attempted 85 combined passes as UVA has failed to establish any semblance of a run game.

The ugly

Just how bad was the offense on Saturday? The Cavaliers got inside Miami’s 30 six times in the game and managed only three field goals. Perhaps the most indicative drive of the game came in the fourth quarter when Joe Reed set up Virginia in Miami territory off a 72-yard kickoff return. UVA would ultimately settle for a field goal off a drive that lasted seven plays and gained a grand total of zero yards (not a typo).

Star cornerback Bryce Hall also suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and had to be carted off. Hall elected to forego the NFL draft for a year in order to return for his senior season. It would be devastating if he suffered a major injury as a result. It would also be a huge blow to the secondary if he was lost for any significant time.

Purdue 40, Maryland 14

The good

Dontay Demus has established himself as the go-to receiver regardless of who is under center. With Tyrrell Pigrome in at quarterback, Demus caught 10 passes for 105 yards.

The bad

Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer threw for a whopping 420 yards and three touchdowns, both career-highs according to the AP. In the battle of the backup quarterbacks, Pummer certainly outplayed Pigrome who looked overmatched.

The ugly

A Purdue offense that ranked 129th in the nation with 50.8 rush-yards per game managed to double that for 127 rushing yards. That came off of 37 attempts so it is not as if the Boilermakers were great on the ground, but they were able to move the ball more efficiently than they should have been able to do.

Virginia Tech 34, Rhode Island 17

The good

The Hokies offense is definitely playing with some momentum after the quarterback switch to Hendon Hooker. Hooker passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns. DeShawn McClease also continued to establish himself as the team’s premiere back with 124 yards on just 12 carries.

The bad

Once again Virginia Tech struggled to put away an opponent. Despite all the good stats and the final score, Rhode Island stayed with Virginia Tech for much of the game, pulling to within three points in the third quarter before the Hokies pulled away.

The ugly

Virginia Tech will be without Reggie Floyd for the first half of next week’s game against North Carolina after he was ejected for targeting for a hit on Isaiah Coulter in the fourth quarter. That could be a key ACC matchup if the Hokies want to climb back into contention for the division.

Penn State 17, Iowa 12

The good

In a game with little offense to speak of, Noah Cain managed to find some room to work with, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. His touchdown proved to be the game-winner.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley threw an interception in the fourth quarter and Cain put the finishing touches on the 35-yard touchdown drive. That made a 10-6 game 17-6 and really put things out of reach.

The bad

The offense is always ugly when these two teams meet. Never forget the 2004 matchup that resulted in a 6-4 win for the Hawkeyes. This game felt like a tribute to that monstrosity.

One of the few offensive highlights of the night came off an unreal catch by Iowa’s Brandon Smith late in the game in which he victimized Penn State cornerback John Reid.

Sorry, Reid. You are going to be seeing yourself in that highlight for a long, long time.

The ugly

During pregame warmups, Penn State players wore shirts saying, “Chains, Tattoos, Dreads, & WE ARE.” The shirts were worn in support of teammate Jonathan Sutherland who was sent a letter last week by a Penn State alum critical of his “awful” hair.

“Surely there must be mirrors in the locker room!” the letter said. “Don’t you have parents or girlfriend who’ve told you those shoulder length dreadlocks look disgusting and are certainly not attractive. (sic)”

The shirts were confiscated after warmups reportedly because the players had not discussed their intention to wear the shirts with head coach James Franklin.

Navy 45, Tulsa 17

The good

Navy completely hand-cuffed Tulsa’s offense by allowing them absolutely nothing on the ground. The Golden Hurricane came into Saturday’s game averaging a modest 115.6 rushing yards per game. The Midshipmen limited them to just 69 yards.

The bad

Quarterback Malcolm Perry was critical of his performance after the game as he told reporters, "As far as executing the offense, seeing things clearly, making the right reads, just a little too much indecision. I wasn't too happy with my performance, but of course we got the win. I thought the offense as a whole played really well, so I'm happy about that, but overall, my personal play, I wasn't too pleased."

Perry is probably the only person who thought he had a bad game, however, as he rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns.

The ugly

Tulsa was up 3-0 in the first quarter and looked like they had just scored on a 98-yard touchdown pass from Zach Smith to Sam Crawford. The touchdown was called back, however, after replay showed Crawford had stepped out of bounds before the catch. This could have been a very different game had Crawford stayed in bounds.


5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Texas

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5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Texas

If you want defensive prospects, the SEC is the conference to check out. But what if you wanted a boost for the offense? Then you go to the Big 12 where offense reigns supreme.

Oklahoma and Texas is one of the great rivalries of college football and there will be plenty of offensive weapons on display in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday for NFL fans to check out.

Hare the players Ravens fans should be watching.

C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

Humphrey's wrestling background is evident when you watch him play. Despite being 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he always seems to gain good leverage when blocking and maintains his center of gravity. Run-blocking is his specialty as he loves to take it to the defense and you can often find him at the second and third levels of the field wreaking havoc with his blocks. His pass blocking is not as strong, but still very good and he never gives up on a play. He runs through the whistle each and every time he snaps the ball.

See where Humphrey is projected to go in the latest NFL Mock Draft.

ILB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

When you send Murray after the quarterback, he is shot out of a cannon. He has very good vision and is able to find holes in the blocking to chase down ball carriers. He is also great and keeping contain and forcing the ball on the outside or bringing down the ball-carrier whenever they try to cut back in.  You almost never see him get caught over-pursuing.

When it comes to pass defense, Murray is average at best. His strengths are definitely on the blitz and pursuing. What I really like about him is that he is a very good tackler. In this day and age when everyone tries to lower the shoulder and no one wraps up, Murray stands out. If you are anywhere within arm's reach, he is going to bring you down.

OT Sam Cosmi, Texas

As a redshirt sophomore, Cosmi would be a project for an NFL team, but it would likely be a good investment.

Cosmi was the starting right tackle for Texas last season as a redshirt freshman and after only one year he is already projected to go in the top half of the NFL draft. If he stayed in school for three more years, chances are he would be a really high pick. If he chooses to go early and leave Texas this year, however, this would be a value pickup. It would take a year or two, but he has NFL starting potential and being able to grab that in the middle of the draft would be a steal.

DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Last year, Gallimore looked like he could be an average NFL nose tackle. He could stuff up the middle and take blocks, but he was not going to contribute much else.

That is not the case this season.

Gallimore shed some fat and gained some muscle in the offseason and it is evident in his play. He suddenly is much quicker off the snap and does not just stuff up the middle anymore, he can penetrate. This is a much more versatile player than originally projected and would certainly be an asset in the middle of the defense.

OT Parker Braun, Texas

Braun's collegiate career began at Georgia Tech which made evaluating him difficult. The Yellow Jackets' option offense obviously does not translate to the NFL. Going to Texas as a graduate transfer was a smart move for Braun's career and he is getting some reps at pass protecting. The results so far have been good.

After time at Georgia Tech, we know Braun is an excellent run blocker. His pass blocking remains a work in progress and he should be seen as a project at the NFL level.

Other potential NFL prospects to watch:

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
WR Collin Johnson
S Brandon Jones, Texas
QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
CB Josh Thompson, Texas
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
DE Malcolm Roach, Texas
C Zach Shackelford, Texas
ILB Jeffrey McCulloch, Texas
RB Trey Sermon, Oklahoma
WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
OLB Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma