November 30, 2012;Washington D.C., USA; Georgetown Hoyas forward Mikael Hopkins (3) fights for a loose ball with Tennessee Volunteers guard Skylar McBee (13) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

SEC/Big East Challenge: Georgetown Edges Tennessee in Lowest-Scoring Game of Shot Clock Era

The ending was appalling, yet in so many ways appropriate—a proper finish to the most poorly executed, mishmash of an offensive game this season. My condolences to anyone who witnessed the horror in its entirety.

Georgetown flopped past Tennessee, 37-36, on day two of the SEC/Big East Challenge in a game that set back college basketball to Naismithian times. The 73 total points mark the fewest in a game in the shot clock era (1985-present). A similarly abject offensive showing in 1984—the last time two teams combined for fewer than 73 points in a game—actually precipitated the introduction of the shot clock in the first place. But not even the 35-second timer could help Georgetown or Tennessee put the ball in the hoop more than once every two minutes.

None of the 20 players who checked into Friday’s nationally televised purse fight, unsurprisingly, finished in double figures. Worse yet, neither team scored in the game’s final four minutes, allowing Markel Starks’ mid-range jumper with 4:08 remaining to hold up as the clincher. A game-winner coming before the final media timeout, now that’s a new one. It’s already gotten old.

Good riddance.

Twitter recap: Zone flusters Vols. Hoyas’ shots just not falling. Lots of stagnant possessions, settling from 3. Hoyas hold on in war of attrition.

Matching stat lines: Sophomore studs Otto Porter and Greg Whittington had matching stat lines, each posting 8 points on 4-11 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, one turnover and a foul. Even during an historically bad offensive display, these two pseudo twins manage to perform in lockstep.

Wretched zone offense. Memo to other SEC schools: zone Tennessee. The Volunteers were patient against Georgetown’s 2-3 zone to a fault, content with milking the shot clock and throwing up an ill-advised shot from long-distance, if not turning the ball over first. Tennessee didn’t attack the teeth of the zone, settling instead for aimless swing passing around the perimeter. Whomever UT flashed at the top of the key as the de facto zone breaker missed the purpose of his assignment. On entry passes to the middle, the high-post forward didn’t take the mid-range shot, force the defense to move or look for a backdoor cutter, as you’re supposed to do. He simply passed the ball right back to another guard up top, resetting the offense and defeating the purpose of a low-post player flashing high in the first place. Georgetown typically only uses its zone as a show-me defense in spurts at a time. But because of Tennessee’s zone offense ineptitude, the Hoyas were able to stick with the 2-3 all night without penalty.

Free throw shooting. Maybe that’s why both teams, especially Tennessee, were reluctant to attack. The Hoyas converted just 4 of their 9 free throw attempts while the Vols made only 3 of their 11. You can already figure out one drill that each program will run in overtime during Saturday practice.

Good looks, bad results for Georgetown. Unlike Tennessee, the Hoyas actually got good looks at the basket. They just didn’t make them. Certainly a cold-shooting night is far more forgivable than failing to run a coherent offense for 40 full minutes.

Football officiating. All that was missing were the helmets and shoulder pads. Between the football-esque pace and score, the loose officiating [both ways] sure added to the gridiron feel. It’s not often Georgetown and Tennessee can field a competitive football game, but if there ever was a year where one was possible…

It’s over, mercifully. For Georgetown’s sake, the shots should fall at a significantly better clip on Tuesday against Texas at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully for Tennessee’s sake, Virginia (the team’s next opponent) doesn’t run a zone. The Cavs tote a stingy man-to-man defense, so Cuonzo Martin should be off the hook for at least one game.

Tags: Basketball Georgetown Hoyas Tennessee Volunteers

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