Where have you gone, Jerrelle Benimon?
The former Hoya recruit turned Towson Tigers star Benimon graduated, and Towson, 7-1 before this game, was no match for now 5-2 Georgetown today. The Hoyas took control from the outset, with upperclassmen and freshmen playing significant roles in this blowout. Never in doubt, the Hoyas led by 23 points, 40-17, at the half on an Aaron Bowen 3 pointer at the buzzer and took their biggest lead of the game, 68-33, on a 3 pointer from sophomore Reggie Cameron with 7:11 left in the game. With the Jayhawks of Kansas up next at Verizon for the Hoyas on Wednesday evening, this is a tuneup that the faithful fans wanted to see. And as it seemed, only the faithful, press corps and obsessive bloggers were present to bear witness.
Fewer Turnovers, Making Free Throws (“Because they’re free”, Otto Porter). First, the Towson Tigers are no Florida, Wisconsin and/or Butler, all teams the Hoyas faced last week in the Battle4Atlantis. Still, it seems the Hoyas as a team have been working on all of the problems that plagued them in the Bahamas, from turnovers to missed free throws and overall mediocre shooting percentage. While there is room for improvement in the turnovers column, today the Hoyas had 12 and for long stretches played very clean and smart ball. In fact, it was the upperclassmen who committed the majority of Hoya turnovers today (7 total among Smith, Hopkins and Trawick). The Hoyas are heading in the right direction.
Getting to the Line and Converting. Clearly this team has been working on their shooting, especially free throws. 78.6% at the line, 11 for 14, with Josh Smith and DSR contributing a perfect 10 of 10 combined. Has someone been reading my blog? 🙂 Against Kansas, Indiana and the Big East schedule to follow, it will help the Hoyas to get to the line at least this much and more and to stay at this percentage. Those free throws are going to count in the tough Big East, arguably the best or one of the best conferences in the nation. Who sounded the death knell for the Big East? Think again.
Hot Shooting. Currently ranked 18th in the nation in field goal percentage, today the Hoyas hit 55% of their field goals and were just short of that, 50% (11 of 22) from 3-point range. Threes were raining as Tre(y)’s were playing. Well, neither Tre/Trey hit a 3 today, but that will come. super frosh Paul White made up for their misses, going a hot 3 for 4 from 3-point land with a total of 11 points. He plays with the confidence and maturity of a sophomore or junior. DSR and Aaron Bowen (yes, Bowen!) were a perfect 2 for 2 and freshman Isaac Copeland 2 for 5 (10 points total). The Hoyas held Towson to 40% shooting, and the Tigers’ leading scorers, Four McGlynn (#4 as well) and John Davis, had 10 points each.
Leadership. DSR and Trawick steered the ship, both having stellar outings on limited minutes as the team both shared the ball and the minutes very well. They demonstrated nearly flawless guard play and had 16 and 11 points, respectively. Josh Smith showed his improvement and importance to the team with 12 points, 7 boards and 2 steals. Hopkins was less of a factor in this game but had a nice tip in off a missed shot, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 18 minutes. The team had 18 assists to Towson’s 4.
Upperclass leadership and freshmen talent started to mesh more seamlessly as Coach JT3 tried different combinations and there were little to no glitches. Even freshman guard Tre Campbell saw 17 minutes today, and while scoreless, Tre is showing improvement in ball handling and grabbed 3 boards. Freshman LJ Peak drove to the hoop in a play worthy of the highlights reel.
Legacy. Both Trey Mourning and Riyan Williams got minutes today. Looking forward to more from the freshman F and junior G.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk? The Hoyas will face their first true test at home Wednesday night against #11 Kansas at 7 p.m. I believe we will see, and this team deserves to have, a packed house and supportive Sixth Man in the Phone Booth. Students were largely a “no show” today and if there is ever a good time and reason for a study break during Finals, this game will be. Storied program, perennial power in the Big 12, the Rock Chalk Jayhawk are indeed beatable and yet have lost only once to Kentucky, a 72-40 beating at home on November 18th.
About Jerrelle Benimon, while I always liked him, he wouldn’t have made a difference today.