Wrighting the Ship: Georgetown Rolls to 88-70 over Wright State in Home Opener

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hoya guards torch the nets en route to one-sided win.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks combined for 48 points Wednesday, leading Georgetown to an easier-than-expected 88-70 win over Wright State. Smith-Rivera in particular lit things up in the first half, when a Hoya offensive explosion provided plenty of cushion for a somewhat casual second half. One game after Josh Smith was the driving force behind Georgetown's offense, the Hoyas showed a different path to success.

Georgetown put the game out of reach early. After the teams traded two pairs of baskets, the Hoyas blew the game open, rattling off 25 points over the next 8 minutes while yielding just 6, building a margin that would last for the rest of the game. Six different Hoyas scored during the prolonged run, with DSR scoring 8 of 10 Hoya points and Reggie Cameron hitting a pair of three-pointers which, along with one more triple later in the half, were the freshman sharpshooter's first points at Georgetown. The points came fast and loose, both in transition and in the half court.

The offensive eruption continued until the half, by which point Georgetown had poured in 50 points while maintaining a 19-point advantage. Before intermission, the Hoya offense was clicking on all cylinders. In addition to the scoring from Starks, Smith-Rivera, and Cameron, there were such unusual sights as Mikael Hopkins hitting a three-pointer and Aaron Bowen converting a non-.gif-worthy basket.

The Hoyas' offensive proficiency was unmatched by Wright State, which largely settled for long, errant jumpers. Saddled with foul and injury trouble throughout the night, the Raiders got little production inside and struggled on the perimeter with Georgetown's changing defensive fronts, which included a full-court press in dead-ball situations. For much of the first half, they were the Raiders of the Lost Bark. By the time Wright State found its offensive rhythm, the game was largely decided, as the Raiders never crept within 15 points again.

There was plenty of good to glean from a convincing win over a projected NCAA Tournament team. After a lethargic opener against Oregon, Smith-Rivera broke out in the home opener, showing why so many projected him for a sophomore leap. DSR was a threat from outside and around the basket, showing a nose for points that the Hoyas will need. Starks continued his excellent play, very much looking the part of the veteran senior leader. While his jumper has been just okay through two games, he has taken advantage of a strong handle and favorable rule adjustments to attack the rim with abandon.

The Hoyas' long-distance shooting also largely found its mark. Just one game after Georgetown made a single three-pointer, the Hoyas canned 10 triples on 23 attempts. Some of this probably was the home cooking of familiar rims, but just as much credit goes to shot distribution, as Georgetown's three best outside shooters took 19 of those long-distance shots, making 9.

The supporting players made some nice plays as well. Nate Lubick and Jabril Trawick made valuable, if not overwhelming contributions, between them netting ten points, grabbing twelve rebounds, dishing out six assists, and chipping in a pair of steals and blocks. And Mikael Hopkins played energetic defense and was opportunistic, if a bit to optimistic, on offense.

There were reasons for concern. Joshua Smith was less of a force than in the opener against Oregon, scoring just six points and grabbing just four rebounds in reduced minutes. It's clear that stamina will remain an issue for Smith, as will related issues like free-throw shooting, defense, and rebounding. There are still a number of Hoya lineups that include too many players that are offensively inert or defensive liabilities. Hopkins and Bowen both try to do more than they can offensively, the small forward position generally is a huge question mark, the defense looks a bit slow and loose, and many of those earning free throws are not particularly good at making them.

Still, this was a good win, almost a very good one. Wright State is a veteran, well-coached bunch that could have posed a real danger to Georgetown, had the game remained in doubt. The Hoyas' continued integration of new pieces, their replacement of old ones, and the danger of weary legs and minds from a trans-Pacific flight all could have contributed to an upset. But the Hoyas brought a focused effort from the tip, ensuring their first win well before intermission. Now, they can enjoy a few days of rest before a trip to Puerto Rico for a pre-holiday tournament.

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