Game 21: Georgetown Hoyas (10-10, 1-6) vs No. 16 Creighton Bluejays (18-2, 5-2)
Series: Hoyas lead 5-3
Where/When: Verizon Center, Wednesday 7pm
TV: FSN (MASN2 in the DC area)
KenPom: Creighton 83-77, 69 percent
Line: Creighton -1.5
Georgetown returns home to face Creighton on Wednesday night in the middle game of its toughest three game stretch of BIG EAST play with all three foes residing in the Top 25. That’s not great news for any team but particularly for Georgetown. The Hoyas have lost four straight and nine of their last ten against ranked opposition.
There is good news for Georgetown as the Bluejays come to the Verizon Center 365 days after their last visit. Miracle last second finish or not, that game marks the last time the Hoyas defeated a league opponent not named St. John’s. During that stretch Georgetown is just 2-15 in BIG EAST regular season play. When the conference tournament is included the Hoyas have lost 16 of their last 19 in the league with the wins being St. John’s –2x at home - and DePaul at Madison Square Garden.
For the Hoyas maybe there’s something going on with the Creighton matchup. Since realignment four years ago, Georgetown holds winning records against four BIG EAST schools with the Bluejays being one of them. Georgetown is 4-2 in regular season games against Creighton in that period. The Hoyas have only beaten two teams more often since the start of the 2013-14 season. Yep, you guessed it – St. John’s (5 times) and DePaul (6).
Last Time Out: Xavier swept the season series against the Hoyas for the second time in the last three seasons despite the fact that Georgetown shot at least 50 percent in both meetings. So what went wrong for the Hoyas? Well it’s pretty obvious and as a result JT3 didn’t have to say all that much in his postgame press conference last Saturday.
When asked about the difference in a game with numerous lead changes and ties, Georgetown’s coach simply said: “Foul line and also rebounding – those two areas.”
Yeah. That about sums it up.
Georgetown committed a season high 34 fouls as Xavier attempted 49 free throws to just 14 tries for the Hoyas. The Hoyas only had one offensive rebound – something they also did earlier this season in a blowout loss to Wisconsin – as Xavier held a 35 to 21 edge on the glass.
Scouting Creighton: The Bluejays lost their first full game without Mo Watson over the weekend to Marquette but after Tuesday night’s results it doesn’t as bad as it did on first glance. The Golden Eagles used another brilliant second half offensive performance to knock of top ranked Villanova. Even without Watson pulling the strings with his 8.5 assists per game, Creighton can still fill it up as exhibited by scoring 94 points in the Marquette loss. Marcus Foster leads the team with nearly 19 points per game while freshman Justin Patton and sophomore Khyri Thomas chip in 14 and 12 points per game respectively. Isaiah Zierden, Cole Huff, and Toby Hegner can all fill it up from deep. Both of Creighton’s losses this season have come at home while the Bluejays remain a perfect 5-0 on the road lthough they have never won at the Verizon Center (0-3).
Mosely Quiet: Jagan Mosely has started all 20 games this season scoring 100 points but the freshman seemed to burst on the scene after strong back to back performances against Butler and St. John’s. In those two games he scored a combined 33 points, or a one-third of his season output, while getting into the lane and subsequently getting to the line. In the next three games Mosely has combined for just 10 points including a scoreless effort against Xavier. The Hoyas need more out of their talented freshman in order to register conference wins.
History Making (Good): With 18 points on Wednesday night LJ Peak will become the 46th player in program history to score at least 1,000 career points. Peak will be the 12th player to do so under JT3’s watch. Peak will have to improve on his last two games as the junior has struggled from the field going 6 for 23 overall and just 1 for 9 from 3-point range.
History Making (Bad): Another Georgetown loss and the Hoyas will equal their worst ever league start through eight games at 1-7 matching the mark from 1998-99. In order to avoid the worst league start after nine games (1-8) the Hoyas will have to beat a ranked team this week in either Creighton or Butler. As noted above, that’s been very difficult as of late.
Reason to be cynical: Creighton scores at will and the Hoyas struggle to play consistent defense for 40 minutes. This has been a problem for four years now and it’s going to be a problem on against the Bluejays.
Reason to be delusional: Hey, last minute miracles do happen and the Bluejays were in town for the most recent one on Jan 26, 2016. Can there be a repeat?
Prediction: The losing streak continues. Bluejays 88, Hoyas 79. Peak goes over 1,000 for his career in the losing effort as those pesky rebounding and fouling problems once again rear their ugly heads.