Other than the location and month, the vibe felt familiar from the start.
Georgetown's upsetting NCAA Tournament losses to Florida Gulf Coast and other low-major conference schools oozing shock-the-world confidence took place at neutral sites and in March. Tuesday's 83-68 loss against Monmouth occurred on the Hoyas home court and 10 day before Christmas. Lump of coal indeed.
Actually, there was another difference. This wasn't an upset.
Not only did the Hawks (7-3) soar past the Hoyas (6-4) with relative ease, leading by double figures much of the game and by as many as 18 points, they've done this before. Monmouth gained notoriety for its player antics on the bench, but earned national attention with early season wins at UCLA and over Notre Dame and Southern Cal.
One thing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference program had never done before? Beat a current member of the Big East. Before Tuesday, 0-30.
Losing to a non-traditional power at home, that's something Georgetown has done this year. That season-opening, double-overtime loss to Radford last month could be explained away if one desired. The team loaded with underclassmen looked past the upstart with heavyweights Maryland and Wisconsin on deck and got caught.
Only the truly blue and gray faithful could find some excuse with a loss that snapped a five-game winning streak and struck fear into those watching with their eyes open. Despite Monmouth's giant killer reputation, Georgetown was lifeless early and misfired throughout. The Hoyas went 21 of 33 from the free throw line, 7 of 29 on 3-point attempts (24.1%) and shot 32.8 percent from the field.
Showing no fear from the start, Monmouth took command with crisp passing, 3-point bombs and stingy defense. The Hawks made 10 of 20 3-pointers often with momentum-crushing results. Their aggressive offense also led to a constant stream of free throws. They made 31 of 37 including 24 of 30 in the second half. Guard Je'lon Hornbeak scored 18 points with only one basket as he made 15 of 16 free throws.
Georgetown led in the first minute and only for all of 80 seconds. Whenever the Big East power showed hints of rally time, the MAAC School pushed Goliath back. Leading by 11 midway through the first half and 39-27 at halftime, Monmouth extended the margin to 17 at 62-45.
Georgetown scored the next six points, but right as the crowd was ready to think comeback, Monmouth guard Micah Seaborn sank a 3-pointer before the shot clock expired for a 65-51 lead with 5:52 left. The Hawks soon took their largest lead at 69-51. The remaining fans were soon focused on winning free chicken sandwiches.
When playing major conference opponents, the Hoyas have looked like they belong. Projecting a run in the NCAA Tournament seems fair. When playing schools without big reputations, the Hoyas have looked underwhelming.
The Hoyas close their seven-game homestand Saturday against UNC Asheville. With a win, they finish the stretch 6-1. That's good, but that one number in the right column won't soon be forgotten.
• Senior center Bradley Hayes grabbed 11 rebounds, but went 0 for 4 from the field and was lost throughout defensively. Monmouth frequently found wide open players in the lane. Hayes was the talk of the early season with his impressive improvement, but he's taken a step back of late.
* Georgetown held opponents to 31.1 percent shooting on 3-pointers entering Tuesday.
* Freshman center Jessie Govan scored a season-high 14 points.
• The Hoyas' assists to turnover ratio remains unimpressive. They finished with 13 assists and 11 turnovers and are now 146-141) on the season.
• By scoring 10 points, Smith-Rivera passed Allen Iverson for 14th place on Georgetown's All-Time scoring list. Of course, Iverson generated all of his points in only two seasons.