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Pre-Game Report

2/12/16

Georgetown's win over St. John's, encouraging as it was, won't be enough to bring the Hoyas back into the NCAA conversation. For Georgetown to walk a tightrope into March, it needs wins against the three nationally ranked teams in the conference, starting Saturday at #20 Providence.

The home court has not been kind to PC, just 2-4 in Big East play at the building formerly known as the Providence Civic Center. Perhaps more concerning: its recent play overall, where the Friars have dropped four of five, including losses to DePaul and Marquette. Its only win since Jan. 24 was at Verizon Center against the Hoyas, and Saturday's crowd will look to see whether the Friars can reverse course and climb back up the standings, and in doing so become the first Providence team ever to sweep Georgetown in consecutive seasons.

A preview of the game follows Friday evening.

Georgetown At Providence: The Prior Meeting

2/12/16

From HoyaSaxa.com, Jan. 10, 2015:

On a day when Providence College honored its 1994 Big East champs, the two teams in Saturday's game seemed to channel the defensive-minded, poor shooting ways of the early 1990's Big East. And much like the March 7, 1994 game between these two teams at the Providence Civic Center, an overtime finish favored the Friars, this time in a 60-57 win that exacerbated the visible offensive deficiencies of the Georgetown Hoyas in zone coverage for 2014-15.

From an early 3-2 deficit, the Friars went on a 7-0 run and led through much of the first half. Taking the nod from a Marquette team that frustrated the Hoyas in the second half of its game on Jan. 6, the Friars moved into a zone defense early and basically dared the Hoyas to score. Outside of a pair of Paul White baskets and a drive from L.J. Peak, the Hoyas were largely unable to respond, missing 14 of 17 shots in the first 12 minutes of the half.

Not that Providence wasn't any better--the Friars missed 12 of 13 attempts until a Mikael Hopkins goal tend extended its lead to 13-9 at the 8:23 mark. Baskets by Josh Smith (inside) and Tre Campbell (outside) helped rally the Hoyas to a brief lead, but PC stayed ahead at the line and took a 23-21 lead into the half. Each team shot 8 for 28 from the field, and early foul trouble limited any consistent effort for the hoyas to get inside. of the first five fouls of the game, each were called against a Georgetown big man--two for Smith, two for Hopkins, and one for Bradley Hayes.

Georgetown opened the second half with a welcome addition--D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. DSR was quiet in the first half, shooting just 1 for 5. He opened the second half with a three to take the lead, 24-23, but georgetown would get only one more three pointer for the remaining 24 minutes of play. Field goals by Smith and Jabril Trawick pushed the Hoyas' to a 30-26 lead in te wake of a defensive run where PC missed its first seven shots of the half. Georgetown led by six midway in the half and pushed the lead to 41-34 on a Paul White to Joshua Smith inside run, but PC went back to the zone and Georgetown did not respond.

That the Friars were even within seven was something of a surprise, given that they were shooting just 24 percent for the game (11 for 45). But when Smith picked up his fourth foul with 7:06 remaining, PC went inside, with a LaDontae Henton dunk closing the Friars to two, 41-39. Layups by Peak and White got the hoyas back up by four with 3:09 to play, but a three by PC's Tyler Harris woke up an ice-cold Dunkin' Donuts Center crowd and tied the score at 46.

On the ensuing play, Hopkins was followed by Henton inside. In a horrid run of poor shooting, Hopkins missed two free throws for the third straight trip to the line and picked up his fourth foul 14 seconds later, as PC took the lead, 47-46. Smith-Rivera, who had not scored in almost eight minutes, picked up a driving layup to regain the lead at eh 1:42 mark, only to foul Henton eight seconds alter and see PC regain a 49-48 lead.

A held ball with 34 seconds left favored Georgetown on the alternate possession, but the Hoyas gave it back three seconds later and were forced to foul. Henton missed the back end of the two shot foul, 50-48, and off a missed three point attempt by White, Smith found himself in a position for a tip-in with 1.3 seconds left, 50-50.

The star of the overtime was Providence guard Kris Dunn. Held scoreless from the field in the second half and with just four points overall, Dunn scored the first six points of overtime for the Friars and Georgetown failed to respond. From a Paul White jumper at the 4:30 mark, Georgetown missed its next five shots, staying close via the foul line. The next made basket closed the gap to 58-57, but with only 16 seconds left. PC made both free throws to pushed the lead to three, and on Georgetown's final possession DSR was not able to get off a shot, instead passing to a closely guarded Paul White in the far corner, who was also unable to get off a good shot and turned the ball over to end the game.

Georgetown 2 for 7 in the overtime, 0 for 3 from three. The game, however, was lost at the line. Georgetown was just 10-19 (52 percent) from the free throw line, where Mikael Hopkins missed all six of his second half attempts.

Smith had a solid game for the Hoyas, with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The output from the remaining starters was insufficient. Smith-Rivers finished with 15 points but missed three of his final four shots. L.J. Peak made his first basket of the game and his last, but was 1 for 8 in-between. Jabril Trawick remained unseen offensively, shooting 1 for 5, while Hopkins took only two shots.

The Hoyas held PC to just 32 percent shooting for the game, but the Friars were 3 for 5 from the field in overtime play.

The Georgetown half of the box score:


            MIN   2FG   3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:                                 
Smith-Rivera 41   2-4   3-8   2-2   4   3  3   15
Trawick      31   1-3   0-2   1-1   2   1  4    3
Peak         38   3-8   0-2   0-0   5   1  2    6
Hopkins      21   1-2   0-0   0-6   6   0  4    2
Smith        21   5-9   0-0   5-7  12   0  4   15
Reserves:
Campbell     12   0-2   1-1   0-1   2   1  1    3
Copeland     10   0-1   0-1   0-0   4   0  1    0
White        33   4-9   0-3   3-3   4   2  1   11
Bowen        11   0-1   0-0   0-0   1   0  1    0
Hayes         7   1-1   0-0   0-0   1   2  2    2
Team Rebounds                       3
DNP: Cameron, Allen, Williams, Mourning
TOTALS      200  17-40  4-17 11-20 44   8 23   57

The Man In The Middle

2/12/16

Senior Bradley Hayes still remembers his first visit to McDonough Gymnasium. "I was imagining my jersey being up there one day. This was something that was a really big deal to me, to be up the with all of the pros who have come through here."

After three seasons, such dreams seemed wholly unlikely, but Hayes' senior year is much more hopeful, reports the Florida Times-Union.

"My mentality changed a lot," he said. "As a freshman, sophomore and a junior, I was worried about making mistakes, playing scared, afraid to mess up. If you play like that, you're going to be prone to making mistakes. It's a never-ending cycle."

"I hope to take basketball as far as it will let me go," he said. "I've always dreamed of the NBA and I think I can make that a reality. I know that you can't coach height and you can't coach heart. I've got those things. I think the sky is the limit."

The Fight For The Brackets

2/12/16

The Big East Coast Bias blog takes note of the logjam in the middle of the conference, where six schools are within two games of each other:

3. Seton Hall (7-5, wins three team tie-breaker)
4. Creighton (7-5)
5. Georgetown (7-5, loses tie breaker)
6. Providence (6-6)
7. Butler (6-6)
8. Marquette (5-7)

The blog says that the conference "can get six teams into the tournament this year. Outside of 'Nova and Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence Friars, Butler, and the Creighton Bluejays could all make The Big Dance." Not listed: Georgetown and Marquette.

Washington Post On Hoyas' Chances

2/12/16

Writes Patrick Stevens:

"The Hoyas (14-11) aren't in as bad a shape as many would assume, but they're also out of games against DePaul and St. John's. The closing six games in Big East play are a brute (at Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier, Butler, at Marquette and at Villanova), but the upshot is Georgetown has plenty of chances to claim quality victories. But it needs a strong finish to play its way into the field of 68."

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