Georgetown shook off a very slow start Saturday thanks to its freshmen, who stepped on the gas offensively and ran away from Creighton, 76-61. Five Hoyas scored in double figures, including freshmen L.J. Peak, Paul White, and Tre Campbell, who keyed a 43-point second half that blew open a tight game. Those rookies gave the Georgetown attack critical doses of dribble penetration and long-distance shooting that stretched out a Creighton defense past its breaking point.
Campbell was the star of the day, scoring a career-high 13 points by juicing the stagnant Georgetown offense with a pair of baskets before the half and two long-range bombs after intermission. White (10 points including 2 three-pointers, 5 rebounds) also fired away from long range, while Peak (14 points, 4 rebounds) attacked the smaller Creighton defenders off the dribble. Veteran contributions came from Joshua Smith (16 points), who shook off first-half foul trouble to dominate the interior, and Jabril Trawick (12 points, 5 assists), who fueled the Hoya attack in transition.
The feel-good second-half was sorely needed after a miserable first half that featured the common Hoya bugaboos of foul trouble, sluggish offense, and poor defensive rotations. Creighton came out firing away from long range, as the Bluejays hit 4 of their first 8 attempts from deep, and crammed the lane defensively to deny Smith post-ups and Hoya drives, eventually building a six-point lead twelve minutes into the game.
But Georgetown found its groove just before the break, scoring three straight transition baskets and claiming the lead for good. That run set up the Hoyas' big surge after the half, when smaller lineups featuring White or Isaac Copeland at power forward overpowered Creighton offensively. Georgetown made 12 of its first 15 field goals after the break, turning a one-possession game into a blowout with quick ball movement, sharp outside shooting, and getting out in transition.
It's unclear how much today's adjustments will affect Hoya lineups and strategy going forward. After all, it was just last week that Aaron Bowen looked like a savior on the wing; today, he was largely unable to find seams in the Creighton defense. Still, Campbell's handle and long-range shooting are assets that otherwise are in short supply. Georgetown's opponents appear likely to crowd the Hoya ball-handlers in the half court (like Xavier) or pack things in to force the Hoyas to shoot from the perimeter (like Creighton). At the very least, today's performance should earn Campbell a few extra minutes.
We'll have plenty more of this down-and-up win later. For now, Hoya Saxa.