Seton Hall's defensive woes from the perimeter have been a constant issue for the team this season, and they proved detrimental in Saturday night's loss to Georgetown. The Hoyas shot 10-for-16 from three-point range and outshot the Pirates from the field 50% to 43.3% to put a dent in Seton Hall's NCAA Tournament hopes.
Despite coming into the game on a four-game winning streak, the Pirates rarely looked completely in control of all four of those games. Saturday's loss asked questions of Seton Hall's ability to do so against a scrappy Georgetown side, but they failed to answer in an 81-75 loss.
Both sides went beat-for-beat to start the game until a 12-1 scoring run by the Hoyas made the score 28-16 just over halfway through the first half. Georgetown did well to keep the Pirates at bay in the dying minutes of the first half, but a pair of Mamukelashvili three-point baskets cut Seton Hall's deficit to just two points.
A singe free throw at the end of the half by the Hoyas made the score 38-35, and the Pirates could not capitalize on the final possession of the half to bring it any closer before halftime.
The Georgetown offense was electric in the opening 20 minutes, as they shot an even 50% from the field and 56% from three-point land. Rhoden led all Pirates in scoring at the half with nine but Mamukelashvili was right behind him with eight.
The Pirates responded to Georgetown’s hot first half shooting with some great shooting of their own to start the half as a Mamukelashvili three-pointer gave the Pirates their first lead since the early minutes of the game. Despite this, the Hoyas stayed hot and kept giving a typically solid Seton Hall defense a very hard time.
Continuous scoring streaks by Georgetown and untimely fouls by the Pirates made sure that Seton Hall was unable to get within arm’s reach, as the game ended with an 81-75 Georgetown win. A 50% field goal percentage and 63% three-point shooting from the Hoyas was the nail in the coffin for the Pirates, as Mamukelashvili’s 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists was not enough for him to will his team to a victory.
Willard admonished his team’s offensive efforts in their last two wins, and despite a satisfactory performance offensively, the defense that only allowed 54 points per game during their 4-game winning streak faltered. He, however, was not upset about their effort, but rather attributed an off day to their recent schedule.
“Sometimes how you play depends on how your schedule has been,” Willard said. “3 games in 6 days is a lot in this conference, especially since we haven’t had a COVID break this year, we haven’t been on pause this year. We’ve been doing what we’re supposed to be doing and when you come in and play a team that’s been off for 7 days, and it’s your third game in 6 days, maybe you’re not going to play the best.”
Whatever the reason for Saturday’s loss, going down to the Hoyas is catastrophic towards the Pirates’ NCAA Tournament resume. The team has until Thursday to recoup when they travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Butler Bulldogs.
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brenbal.