Dismal 2016-17 Season Capped by Firing of JTIII
The Georgetown men’s basketball team finished the 2016-17 season 14-18 with a 5-13 record in the Big East, making it the third year out of the last four in which the team did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor, who averaged team-highs 18.0 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game, led the Hoyas. Starting alongside Pryor in every game was junior guard L.J. Peak, who averaged 16.5 points per game. Both Pryor and Peak left Georgetown and declared for the NBA draft last summer, but ultimately went undrafted.
The Hoyas experienced ups and downs early in the 2016-17 season. Georgetown split its first four games, which included an upset loss to Arkansas State (20-12, 11-7 Sun Belt) at McDonough Arena and a victory over the injury-plagued NCAA Final Four qualifier Oregon (33-6, 16-2 Pac-12) at the Maui Invitational Tournament in November.
In Maui, Hawaii, Georgetown followed up the big win against Oregon with back-to-back losses to Wisconsin (27-10, 12-6 Big Ten) and Oklahoma State (20-12, 9-9 Big 12) by a combined 43 points. After the tournament, Georgetown went on a season-high, six-game win streak, with its biggest win during that streak coming against Big East rival Syracuse (18-14, 10-8 ACC) 78-71. Peak led the way with 23 points.
The Hoyas marched into Big East play with a record of 8-4. However, the Blue and Gray had little success early on. The squad lost its first four conference contests before finally finding its first win in January against St. John’s (14-19, 7-11 Big East) 83-55.
The highlight of Georgetown’s season came with three consecutive Big East victories over Creighton (25-9, 10-8 Big East), DePaul (9-23, 2-16 Big East) and Butler (23-8, 12-6 Big East). The team held a 13-10 record after Jan. 31.
However, in February the season took a turn for the worse. The Hoyas lost six of their last seven games, losing any chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Their last hope was crushed after a 86-80 loss to St. John’s in the opening round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
For the season, the Hoyas finished seventh in the Big East in points per game and in three-point field goal percentage. However, the team’s defense proved substandard. Georgetown’s mark of 72.2 points allowed per game ranked 178th in the NCAA.
The late-season collapse led Georgetown to part ways with Head Coach John Thompson III after 13 seasons. The Hoyas went on a head coaching search led by Athletic Director Lee Reed and Georgetown alumnus and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (CAS ’62).
The two decided on NBA Hall of Famer and former Hoya Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) to start the next chapter for Georgetown basketball.
The 2017-18 season starts Sunday as the Hoyas take on the Jacksonville Dolphins at the Capital One Arena.
(File Photo: Claire Soisson/The Hoya)