Georgetown’s soft non-conference tour rolled on Sunday evening as the Hoyas beat visiting Coppin State, one of the worst teams in Division 1, 76-60 in the evening half of the BB&T Classic. Jessie Govan went off for 26 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to pace Georgetown, while freshman wing Jamorko Pickett and junior forward Marcus Derrickson each had a solid 13 points.
Otherwise, the evening was a a sigh in an early season full of them. Georgetown has now played six games, five against opponents rated in the vicinity of 300 or lower nationally, per KenPom (shoutout to Mt. St. Mary’s for creeping up to 298), and the sixth a road contest at a team that has fallen below 200. The Hoyas have had a couple of good performances but several that are pretty mediocre, and not just because of the talent shortcomings on the floor.
Sunday evening was another middling showing. Govan played with energy and skill throughout the night, banging in the post, cleaning the boards, finishing in transition, and stepping out to take the occasional jumper. The junior big man has risen to the occasion under his new coach, putting up nearly a 20-12 through six games. He still doesn’t always assert his will, letting two many ball-handlers roam free in the lane, and occasionally making himself small around the rim. But Govan has been a positive revelation compared to last year’s sophomore slump. Speaking of slumps, Pickett shook off a rough outing last game by bringing some early offense, hitting perimeter jumpers, leading the break, and showing the diverse skillset that could, with polish and consistency, make him a secondary playmaker this year and a star in seasons to come. And Derrickson hit a couple of perimeter jumpers and banged inside against an undersized Coppin State front line.
But the Hoyas couldn’t pull away from an Eagle offense that exited Sunday’s game the second-worst in the entire country, per KenPom. Coppin State shot just 30 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep, and weren’t exactly a menace on the offensive glass (7 second chances) or protecting the ball (13 rebounds). The Eagles shouldn’t have been able to keep up with the Hoyas, and yet there they were, down just two possessions late in the first half and by seven midway through the second.
So what’s ailing Georgetown? On offense, Georgetown hasn’t protected the ball, turning it over 16 times on 74 possessions Sunday night, which is par for the course this season, when the Hoyas have turned the ball over on 22 percent of possessions, putting them in the bottom 20 percent nationally. Derrickson and Jonathan Mulmore (4 turnovers apiece) were the principal culprits, although Mulmore at least offset those giveaways with 5 assists.
On Sunday, Georgetown got particularly bogged down in the half court. The Hoyas occasionally were able to get out and run, as Ewing has promised since his hire. Mulmore in particular served as the engine of Georgetown’s transition attack, getting to the rim on the break and setting up others, like Govan, who dunked home a Mulmore feed early in the second half. Pickett also had a solid attack off the break, weaving through three Coppin State defenders to finish a coast-to-coast opportunity. Trey Dickerson (6 points, 2 assists, but 3 turnovers) also converted in the open court, completing an and-one off of a steal.
Georgetown could have blown out Coppin State anyway if it had excelled elsewhere, but that didn’t happen. The Hoyas hoisted a lot of threes (18) but converted just one-third of those chances, and post-game Ewing criticized his charges for settling for too many jumpers. Georgetown likewise didn’t generate many second chances on the offensive glass (6 out of 27 misses), and was just ok from the line despite a lot of trips (24 of 36 free throws).
This Coppin State team that should have been a pushover. The Eagles came into this game 0-7, with five of those defeats coming by 20-plus. For its part, Georgetown might have shown up a tad more motivated, having slogged its way through a win over a similarly hapless Maine squad mid-week.
The Hoyas’ schedule being what it is, they’ll get another crack at a blowout Thursday night, when Howard visits. Til then, Pat Ewing stays undefeated.