Game 15: Georgetown Hoyas (9-5) vs Creighton Bluejays (10-5)
Series: Hoyas lead 4-2, won all three matchups last season
Where/When: Century Link Center, Tuesday 9 PM
Line: Bluejays -3.5
After that unexpected thud of an ending to the home non-conference portion of the schedule, the Georgetown Hoyas are off to a 2-0 start in the BIG EAST with back-to-back double-digit victories. The Hoyas will be looking for their first 3-0 start since the 2011-12 season and just the second time in JT3's 12-years in charge.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has been a different player in his last go around in the BIG EAST round robin.
After going extremely cold from 3-point range (3-for-22) in the final three non-conference games in which the Hoyas went 1-2, DSR has been far more selective in going 3-for-4 with 13 assists and just four turnovers. Against Marquette, DSR had a career high eight assists.
Standing in the way for the Hoyas will be a trip to the league's most raucous setting with Creighton once again leading the way in home attendance with just under 17,000 fans per game.
The Bluejays are a high scoring bunch and they both take and make a lot of 3-pointers, something Georgetown isn't particularly great at defending. The Hoyas have struggled, as one might expect, when opponents get hot from deep.
Now there is good news as on the other side of the ball, Creighton is allowing teams to shoot 45 percent from the field. They gave up nearly 70 percent from the field in their last game out against Villanova. Through 14 games the Hoyas have only hit 50 percent or better from the field in the loss to Duke at Madison Square Garden way back in November.
Here's some basic info on Creighton:
Last time out: Creighton lost to Villanova. That's going to happen to most teams this season so it's nothing to be ashamed of, even at home. The Bluejays dropped an 85-71 decision to the Wildcats to drop to 1-1 in the league after opening up with a ten point win over St. John's.
Mo Watson Jr led the way with 15 points for the Bluejays but the team went just 5-for-23 from 3-point range.
Creighton really struggled defending the post as they let Daniel Ochefu go 9-of-10 from the field in just 23 minutes.
Who to watch for: Everybody. Ok, not really but its close. Coach Greg McDermott has four guys - Mo Watson Jr, Geoffrey Groselle, Cole Huff, and Isaiah Zierden - averaging between 13 and 11 points per game. If you want to carry it out even further there are four more players that average between 7 and 9 points. This is a balanced team.
Watson is the guy that makes this high scoring offense - about 86 points per game - go with his team leading 6.3 assists per game.
Zierden leads the way with 37 3-pointers while Huff comes in with 26. Reserve Toby Hegner has made 23 3-pointers - nearly 2 per game - in just 16 minutes per game. When he's in the game, you know he's firing from deep. 53 of his 73 shots this season have been from behind the arc.
RPI: With nine of their ten wins coming against team with an RPI of 201 or higher, Creighton checks in with a current mark of 131. Right now Creighton's best win comes against an 8-5 UMass team (155).
Ok let's talk about the Hoyas.
Getting Tre on Track: It's been two games now and even though the Hoyas are 2-0, Tre Campbell hasn't provided a lot in terms of the stat sheet. The Hoyas only true point guard is 1-for-7 from the field including 0-3 from 3-point range. Campbell does have four steals and three assists to go along with two turnovers in a combined 30 minutes the past two games.
Although it's working right now, the Hoyas will surely need more production out of Campbell - who last year showed that he is capable.
More Kaleb: Will we see more of the frosh against Creighton? It would seem so as his defense will be needed and his coach just comparted him to a Georgetown legend in Otto Porter. Johnson and L.J. Peak seem to be Georgetown's best defenders and that's something the Hoyas will need for an improved 3-point defense.
Playing Big: Bradley Hayes will have someone his own size to deal withtonight in the form of Groselle. Hayes has done well against other bigs, it's the smaller defenders that have caused him trouble. Hayes got off to a good start against Marquette's talented low post duo before Jessie Govan came in and finished the job with his fourth double-figure game of the season. Govan also had a career high four blocks.
White Ailing: After a promising freshman season, White missed his second straight game and seventh this season with a lingering hip injury after featuring in all 33 games last season. White has played just 67 minutes this season, scoring 11 points.
Reason to be delusional: 18-0 is still the dream. Dare to believe!
Reason to be cynical: This looks like the toughest test for the Hoyas in what many are hoping will be a 5-0 league start before Villanova comes to town on Jan 16.
Final Thoughts: Georgetown will need to survive that first knockout punch by a Creighton squad that will be feeding off of the energy of the building and its fans. The Bluejays hung with Villanova for a half before succumbing to the better team. The same thing should happen tonight if the Hoyas can limit the perimeter turnovers.