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View From Press Row: Georgetown Escapes Against Elon

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Georgetown Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

“I think we’ve made progress. I think, I just told the guys this, I think this week is an important week where we have five days, six days, whatever it is, for us to get better.” - Coach John Thompson III after Georgetown won it’s third straight since returning from Maui

WASHINGTON — Georgetown first came back from a double-digit deficit and then held on for dear life in a game that it absolutely had to win at home on Sunday afternoon in the first game of the BB&T Classic against Elon.

Not to be overly dramatic this early in the season but it would be hard to imagine a scenario where the Hoyas finish win a winning record had they lost to Elon. KenPom already had Georgetown finishing 15-16 with an expected victory over the Phoenix included in that tally.

Georgetown made the necessary defensive adjustments in switching out of its press and alternating zones and man-to-man at times to slow down the Phoenix who load the court with shooters and have a strong point guard in Luke Eddy.

Offensively the Hoyas still rely heavily, perhaps too heavily, on both Rodney Pryor (23 points) and LJ Peak (22 points). Going forward the Hoyas aren’t going to win many games when Marcus Derrickson and Isaac Copeland combine for two points on 1 for 7 shooting.

Making a Case: Tre Campbell’s play at the end of the first half resulted in him getting not just the second half start but a lion share’s of the minutes after the break (16 out of 20). Campbell finished with seven points, four assists, and had just one turnover in 26 total minutes. Jagan Mosely got in foul trouble early and Jonathan Mulmore continues to struggle on offense.

“I thought he got things going and so if someone’s doing well I’m going to leave him out there, JT3 said of playing Campbell more after the half. “I thought he was pretty locked in, he was pretty focused.”

Adjustments: After starting the game hot Elon cooled off towards the end of the first half and then shot under 40 percent in the second half as Georgetown got out of its press.

“They put you in a pickle, said JT3. “They put five guys on the court who can really shot. Not just make shots but they have five shooters on the court.”

Said Pryor: “I think we followed our gameplan better in the second half. In the first half we freed up some shooters early, they got some good looks. Second half adjustment we were able to communicate switches better, get out on shooters earlier, make it tough, make them use their dribble.”

Beat on the Boards: It wasn’t a one offensive rebound performance like against Wisconsin but the Hoyas lost the battle on the boards to Elon 36-32. It was even worse offensively as the Phoenix held a 13-4 advantage. Yes, some of that was because Elon took so many threes but it needs to improve. JT3 agrees.

“We have to go get it more,” said JT3 about what his team need do on the glass.

“Particularly you play a team like that, they take a lot of long shots, you get a lot of long rebounds. We have a tendency to just to run under the rim, get shoved under the rim. That’s been appoint of emphasis the last couple of weeks in practice. We just got to find a way to get better or we’ll get different people out there.”

Making a Case Pt 2: Jessie Govan didn’t check in until 7:51 left in the first half but the sophomore big man made a strong case for more minutes, and maybe even a return to the starting lineup going forward. With Bradley Hayes still struggling, Govan finished the game with 13 points and matched a career-high with four blocks in 24 minutes drawing praise from both coaches.

“I thought Govan was really, really important to their offensive attack,” said Elon coach Matt Matheny. “He was really good today.”

Said JT3: “I thought Jessie was good today. Jessie not just with the points he had but I thought he became a presence defensively which we need from that position more.”

MIA: If there’s one thing you can count on this season it’s a Hoya regular missing a game. Isaac Copeland was back after picking up a facial injury in Maui but Kaleb Johnson was out against Elon in the BB&T Classic. Johnson joins Bradley Hayes, Reggie Cameron, Marcus Derrickson, and Copeland has players that have missed at least one game for JT3’s Hoyas this season. All five of those players started at least one game in the 2015-16 season.