Not a theologian, I apologize for any misuse of this term. However, one can certainly agree that the Hoyas (14-11, 7-5 in the Big East) are at the point in the season when they can use “help or care from God or heaven” or at least from a higher spiritual power as they now face 3 nationally ranked teams in their final 6 games, the first starting today at noon at #20 Providence (18-7, 6-6 in the Big East) in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
In the prior edition of this blog, I argued for the potential of a 7-0 finish to the Big East regular season for the then struggling Hoyas. The team took care of the first hurdle with no problem, a 92-67 blowout of the now 7-18 and winless in the Big East St. John’s Red Storm. Today’s game against the Friars, a team that they could and should have beaten at home on January 31st, will of course be a greater challenge and features two of the premiere players in the conference, phenomenal guard Kris Dunn, one of the best players in the nation and future lottery pick,
and Ghanan-born big man Ben Bentil, who also should make his mark at the next level.
Dunn and Bentil gave the Hoyas fits at the Verizon Center with these impressive figures: each had 26 points, and Bentil on 8-12 shooting and 9-10 at the line. Dunn shot 2 for 3 at the 3 point line and 8-10 at the line. The Friars got to the free throw line 33 times as compared with the Hoyas 13 attempts. That must change today. Peak and DSR led the team in scoring with 19 and 18, respectively, and Copeland had 2 points on 1-5 shooting. Hayes had 13 points and 10 boards and Govan was held scoreless in limited time. Derrickson had 9 points and 4 fouls in 27 minutes. The Hoyas had 22 personal fouls to the Friars 14 and each had 17 turnovers.
Still, the Friars won only by 4, 73-69, and the Hoyas had a perfect opportunity then to take a Top 10 team down and blew it. Down 38-28 at the half, the Hoyas topped the Friars 41-35 in the second 20 minutes but it was too little too late.
It is imperative that JT3 and his staff have a plan to slow them down (to “stop them” would be near impossible) or the 7-0 streak will be broken.
Now for The Good News: No, it’s not the free Donuts. It’s that Providence has sputtered since beating the Hoyas in DC, losing consecutive games at DePaul (77-70), at home vs Villanova, 72-60 and a 96-91 loss at Marquette. Clearly, the Friars are incentivized to get their game back on track at home against the Hoyas.
Not so fast. The Hoyas played with great confidence against St. John’s, and with marked improvement in the play of two key Hoya sophomores, LJ Peak and Issac Copeland. These are two signs that the Hoyas have arrived in Friar Country with much more confidence than they had in the first contest.
(He looks scared.)
Second, the Hoyas played a much more loose, running and natural style befitting of their talent last week against the Johnnies. Of course, the Friars have great talent but if the Hoyas are to succeed today they cannot return to the stilted form of slow down “Princeton” offense which has tripped them up this season ans in my opinion, in past seasons. When you have the talent and depth that the Hoyas have, you press and run and draw fouls and score in the 80s regularly. If the Hoyas can employ that same tactics against the more talented Friars, AND slow down Dunn and Bentil with superior D, the Hoyas will take #2 of the 7-0 run to end the regular season.
IF the Hoyas bring out the entire team and play deep,
Final score: Georgetown 83-78 if decided in regulation time; 91-89 if decided in OT.
Out of the hole.
Take a box of these home and don’t forget your Valentine!
Hot off the Presses: The Hoyas will play today without the services of senior center Bradley Hayes, who broke his hand in practice yesterday. This means more time for both Jessie Govan and Trey Mourning.