Game 2: Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (1-0) at Georgetown Hoyas (1-0)
When: Saturday, 6pm
Where: Capital One Arena
Series: First Meeting
Announcers: (Wayne Randazzo & Tarik Turner)
KenPom: Georgetown 82, UMES 64 (95 percent)
Line: n/a as of this posting
In what will be the second biggest game of the day featuring Georgetown and Central Connecticut State, the Hoyas look to improve to 2-0 and defeat an old foe in Blue Devils coach Donyell Marshall.
(The Georgetown women’s soccer team hosts the Blue Devils earlier in the day in the first round of the NCAA Tournament The Hoyas are the ONE SEED!)
But back to hoops, the Hoyas and Blue Devils first ever meeting comes about as part of the Jamaica Classic. Georgetown will later host Campbell to account for the two games outside of Montego Bay.
Georgetown looked impressive at times in Tuesday’s season opening win over UMES as coach Patrick Ewing used three different starters from last season – none of which played a minute of action as James Akingo and Mac McClung were both in high school while Trey Mourning spent the year on the sidelines redshirting.
Josh LeBlanc, the third freshman to see significant minutes, wasted no time in opening up his college career by posting a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, evening earning the nickname of Menace from Ewing afterwards.
So while many of the faces changed from last season one trouble spot remained in the form of turnovers. Ewing’s three new starters combined for 10 of the Hoyas 19 turnovers on the night. With a freshmen backcourt, turnovers are likely to be an issue, particularly early on with the goal of getting this to a lower number by the time of conference play.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS
Coach Marshall’s third season is off to a great start as the Blue Devils pulled off a decent upset over Hartford on Tuesday. The Blue Devils were 11 point underdogs while KenPom gave them just a 17 percent chance at getting the win.
Marshall, who Hoyas fans will remember from his playing days with former conference rival UConn, improved the Blue Devils by eight games last season. In his six games against Georgetown while at UConn, Marshall’s Huskies went 2-4. Marshall’s son – Donyell Marshall Jr is a junior – who saw action in seven games last season.
Central Connecticut, picked sixth in the NEC, went down by 12 early on and trailed for most of the game before earning the win down the stretch. The Blue Devils dominated in points in the paint – 48 to 26 – and forced 17 turnovers.
Guard Tyler Kohl, a preseason all-conference pick, finished with a career-high 30 points while pulling down 10 boards. Kohl did a great job of getting to the foul line and excelled once he got there – making 8 of 9.
6-foot-9 senior center Deion Bute earned his second career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Blue Devils only attempted seven 3-pointers, making just two.
AREAS TO WATCH
Points in the pain – Georgetown lost this battle against UMES. CCSU’s best two players were able to thrive around the basket.
Turnovers – expect to see this in this section all season long. Georgetown averaged just over 15 turnovers last season and had 19 in the opener. This number will have to come down as the opponents get better.
Fouls – One of the main reasons Josh LeBlanc got off to such a good start is that Jessie Govan had some foul trouble on Tuesday. Govan had four fouls in his 26 minutes which mean that LeBlanc was the first sub in each half. Govan averaged 33 minutes a game last season and will need to stay on the court longer against better teams.
Ewing was a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year during his days in a Hoyas uniform while Marshall once the award once with UConn in 1994. This is the second time Ewing has faced a former league player of the year as coach. Ewing went 2-1 against Coach Mullin’s St. John’s Red Strom last season.
Ewing said that Kaleb Johnson – who missed the UMES game with a leg injury – would be available on Saturday. Will that do anything to the starting lineup? Kaleb started all 30 games in Ewing’s first season averaging 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. Mourning was the biggest surprise starter but a straight swap with Johnson isn’t exactly a like for like sub at all.
“We really just found out last minute like y’all, honestly,” Mourning said about the starting lineups.
“[Coach Ewing] switches it up a lot on practice. He has a group he goes with but every now and then players come in and out.”
Obviously it was just one game so we don’t have much data but one of the first things that jumped out to me was the relatively low number of shots for Govan and Jamorko Pickett, who combined to go a very efficient 9 for 12. McClung took a team high 10 while Mourning took 9 and Akingo getting up 8 attempts.
Mourning admitted afterwards that he didn’t have his best shooting night – he was 2 for 9 – but he’s more concerned about another area.
“I didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but I’m not worried about that,” Mourning said.
“Just rebounding is the most important thing. We lost seven games last in the last minutes because we failed to get rebounds and that’s something we need to change in order to be successful this year.”
Mourning finished with seven rebounds, including three on the offense end.
Prediction: Georgetown 70, Central Connecticut State 60