Georgetown took care of business Wednesday night, blowing the doors off of lowly Coppin State en route to a comfortable 96-44 win. Rodney Pryor scored 30 points to lead Georgetown, his fourth time eclipsing 25 in eight games as a Hoya. But the story of the game was the sustained energy with which Georgetown played. The Hoyas' full-court press forced the issue early, generating Coppin State turnovers that resulted in easy fast-break baskets. A lively Georgetown half-court offense created looks on the perimeter and at the rim, and the Hoyas used their superior size to pound the glass to the tune of 55 rebounds, including 21 second chances. Everything that was absent as Georgetown let Howard hang around on Sunday was present during tonight's rout. This game hopefully will set the tone for a challenging upcoming slate of games to wrap up Georgetown's non-conference schedule, the Hoyas' best remaining chance to claw their way back into a successful season.
Georgetown never trailed, generally holding the visitors at about a point a minute throughout the game. A comfortable lead soon turned into a blowout as the Hoyas scored on 10 consecutive possessions, amassing an absurd 27 points while the visiting Eagles endured a four-minute scoring drought. By the half, Georgetown's lead had swelled beyond 40 points. The Hoyas kept up the attack in the second half despite an advantage that surpassed 50 points and stayed there.
So what went differently for Georgetown against Coppin State? First and foremost, effort. Georgetown pressed as it did in previous games, to great effect, as in the Hoyas' season opener against South Carolina-Upstate. Coppin State's guards were as overmatched as the Spartans' were. The Eagles turned the ball over 15 times on the game, including 4 possessions in a brief stretch where the Hoyas scored 9 points without allowing an opposing shot.
But it wasn't just press plus sweat equals points. Georgetown was sounder in half-court defense, using a zone that held Coppin State to just 27 percent shooting from the field. Unlike their smothering full-court defense, the Hoyas stayed at home in the half-court. Georgetown defenders didn't leap out on perimeter shooters, over-help on the few Eagle drivers, or bite hard on Coppin State pump fakes. By maintaining defensive integrity against an admittedly awful offense resulted in one awful Coppin State brick after another.
And the Hoyas moved the ball quickly on offense, finding the open man, which was made easier by the Eagles' pitiful defense. The headliner was Pryor, who continues to light it up in what has otherwise been an inefficient offense, hitting 7 of 8 three-pointers and 10 of 13 from the floor generally. While Pryor certainly has his warts as a player, scoring isn't one of them, as the transfer wing is averaging 19 points per game on 60 percent shooting inside the arc and 56 percent from three.
More encouraging than Pryor's eruption was the deep and balanced scoring attack. Ten Hoyas scored five or more points, as Georgetown assisted on 22 of its 34 made baskets. LJ Peak led the ball movement, taking a modest 6 shots but handing out 10 assists that set up one three-pointer after another. Eight different Hoyas connected from deep, including Jagan Mosely, Kaleb Johnson, and the prodigal Reggie Cameron, each of whom hit his first three-pointer of the season while Jonathan Mulmore hit his second. Georgetown will need each of those perimeter players to hit at least the occasional perimeter shot to open the floor for Hoyas slashing and posting inside.
So what does this all mean? That depends on what Georgetown does next. We've seen enough downs already this young season to be too convinced by the ups, particularly against lowly foes. The competition will increase starting Sunday, when the Hoyas face a frisky Elon team, followed a week later by a neutral site game against a very solid LaSalle squad before, the following weekend, a trip to depths of the Carrier Dome to face the hated Syracuse Orange.
All three games will test whether Georgetown can replicate tonight's performance against stiffer competition. Can the Hoyas maintain order on the defensive end against penetrating guards? Can they force turnovers by steady ball-handlers? And can they find spacing and shooting against longer, stiffer defenses? Only time will tell, but tonight was a good start.