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Pittsburgh hands Georgetown its worst loss Big East loss ever

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Sports,College,Craig Stouffer,Georgetown University

Hoyas fall to 0-2 in the Big East

The outright anger and frustration from John Thompson III was a rare sight. It's even more unusual for No. 19 Georgetown to find itself at the bottom of the Big East standings at this point in the season.

The Hoyas dropped consecutive games to start conference play for the first time in nine seasons under coach John Thompson III, who suffered the worst defeat of his tenure, an ugly 73-45 loss to Pittsburgh before 13,011 at Verizon Center.

"It's embarrassing," Thompson said. "I know this isn't who we are, but tonight it was very disappointing,"

It was Georgetown's worst Big East loss ever and worst home defeat since a 107-67 loss to St. John's on Dec. 7, 1971.

It was also the second in a row this season and third in a row at Verizon to the Panthers (13-3, 1-2 Big East), who avoided a 0-3 conference start in consecutive seasons with the second-largest Big East road win in school history.

The last time Georgetown (10-3, 0-2) started its Big East conference slate with back-to-back losses was in 2001-02 under Craig Esherick.

Talib Zanna (Bishop McNamara High) paced the Panthers with 15 points, while Otto Porter Jr. (nine points) led Georgetown, which failed to reach 50 points for the fourth time this season.

"It's not just bad luck with the rims," Thompson said. "We continue to try to make changes as the season has gone on."

But the ominous tone was set on the Hoyas' first offensive possession, when the ball ended up in the hands of center Mikael Hopkins in the corner as the shot clock reached zero.

Markel Starks did his best to jump start the team with penetration off the dribble but finished with four turnovers.

Georgetown struggled to get inside against 7-footer Steven Adams (three blocks) and had no answer defensively for Zanna, who accounted for eight of Pitt's 18-8 advantage in points in the paint in the first half.

The Hoyas finished with more turnovers (17) than field goals (13), while the Panthers shot 55.1 percent from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range.

"I think that's on all of us, the older guys, the younger guys," said junior forward Nate Lubick. "As coach said, we have some things we need to address, and they will be addressed. We have make positive that we're going to fix these things and move on from there."

With Pitt ahead 37-22 heading into halftime, the players left to louder serenades of "Let's go Pitt!" from the upper deck than cheering by the home team supporters.

The frustration boiled over for Thompson when Nate Lubick and Adams got tangled with 14:25 remaining in the second half. When a foul was called on Lubick, a livid Thompson vented at the officials, earning his first technical foul since March 2007.

"I don't think I did anything that was out of character for me or anything different than I was doing for most of the game," Thompson said. "Was I out of the [coach's] box? Yes. Now, if you watch as many games as I do, many people get out of the box."

Former UCLA center Josh Smith's transfer to Georgetown was announced by his appearance on the Hoyas' bench. Right now, it's the last of Thompson's concerns.

"We'll worry about the big fella later," Thompson said. "Right now, we're the same guys. We're the same group. We just played poorly today. It's not like we're sitting here and are going to put our heads in the sand and say, oh, let's throw that out the window and forget about it. No. There's a lot of things that showed up today that need to be addressed, and will be. But we're still the same guys we were a couple weeks ago."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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