Game 5: Georgetown Hoyas (1-3) vs Bryant Bulldogs (2-3)
Series: First meeting
Where/When: Verizon Center, Saturday noon
Just when you thought the 2K Classic was in the rearview mirror, along comes some unexpected post-Thanksgiving fun. Georgetown will attempt to even its record in the 2K Classic when they welcome the Bryant Bulldogs into the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.
As noted above this is the first ever meeting between the two schools but the Hoyas do have a long history against Northeast Conference foes, most recently in an 80-66 win over Robert Morris last season at home.
After a rocky start to the season this is the first of seven straight home games where the Hoyas will hope to get back on track before the start of the BIG EAST season. It all starts against a Bryant program that began its transition to Division 1 after performing at extremely well at both the NAIA and Division II level.
Here's some basic Bryant info:
DYK: Bryant is a private university located in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Probably their most famous alum is Nicholas Colasanto who played Coach Ernie Pantusso on Cheers. The school's motto is The Character of Success. So yeah, that's about it.
Last time out: It's been a rough start for the Bulldogs. Yes, Bryant is officially 2-3 but one of those wins is against a non-D1 type in Emerson. Bryant fell to Harvard 80-45 on Thanksgiving Eve in a game where next to nothing went right for Coach Tim O'Shea's guys.
Sophomore swingman Bosko, yes Bosko, Kostur was one of three Bulldogs in double figures with 10 points and also hit two 3-pointers. All in all Bryant was terrible offensively in going just 16 of 60 from the field and an even worse 3 of 20 from deep. Bryant also had just eight assists to go against 17 turnovers. There's literally nothing worth talking about from their part of the box score.
RPI: We usually see the top four or five teams in the NEC with a ranking on the right side of 200 but not much better than 150. With Bryant picked to finish third, we're looking at something around 180ish. Not terrible but not great. Would have liked to have seen a game against Mount St. Mary's and their Mayhem instead.
Who to watch for: After just five games sophomore guard Hunter Ware has made a big jump in averaging a team high 16.8 points per game. Freshman guard Nisre Zouzoua is the only other Bulldog averaging double figures with 11.6 points per game. The Hoyas will have to account for both players from behind deep as they combine for 10 attempts a game and each hit at better than 40 percent.
Junior forward Dan Garvin, a preseason all-conference selection, is averaging 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game a season after registering six double-doubles.
Ok let's talk about the Hoyas.
Copeland Emerging: Isaac Copeland became the first Hoya this season to make the BIG EAST Weekly Honor roll after his big week against Maryland, Wisconsin, and Duke. Copeland leads the team in scoring (15.0) is second in rebounding (5.0), assists (2.3), and made 3-pointers (8). This is the kind of sophomore improvement we were all expecting from the talented small forward.
Still Missing: We didn't have a media availability this week so it's unclear as to the status of sophomores Paul White and Tre Campbell. If you had to pick one player to be more likely to play it would probably be White just based on some of the language used by JT3 last week before the team left for New York.
Moving on Up: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera needs just two more 3-pointers to move past Austin Freeman ('11) and into third place on the school's all-time list. DSR has made nine 3-pointers this through four games this season to push his total to 186.
Making the Most: The two players that are probably benefiting the most from the absences of White and Campbell are Reggie Cameron and Kaleb Johnson. Both players had big games last weekend at MSG.
Cameron has become a presence from behind the line in going 6-for-11 on the season and was instrumental as the Hoyas picked up a much needed win against Wisconsin. Known as a shooter, Cameron also helped spark the team defensively by taking three charges in last weekend.
Johnson, who came in maybe known more for his defense, has shown the ability to handle the ball as well as put it in the hoop. Johnson joined fellow freshmen Marcus Derrickson and Jessie Govan in already hitting for double-figures at least once through four games. Johnson's 14 points against Duke included a half court heave as time expired in the first half.
Reason to be delusional: This has to be one of the best 1-3 teams that anyone can remember. Yes that's not exactly a compliment that you want but the Hoyas look talented enough to compete with top ranked teams even without two players that are expected to be a big part of the rotation. Now with a chance to come home and gain some momentum, there's no stopping this bunch with a month to go before the BIG EAST schedule begins.
Reason to be cynical: The team is 1-3 and we have no idea when we'll see two of the top 3 ball handlers on the team.
Final Thoughts: This will be an easy win. I swear.