The Little Rock Trojans have been in town since Thursday, seeing sights around Washington, DC, to face the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday. Patrick Ewing’s coaching staff should be checking film for better defensive rotations against a team that doesn’t seem to mind playing against pace.
Coached by a 10-year NBA player vet, and 10-plus-year NBA coach (and head coach) in new Trojans coach Darrell Walker, Little Rock features a (surprise) high-scoring guard, who wears number 3, named Rayjon Tucker.
For the Hoyas, Josh LeBlanc’s “energy” has yet to disappoint (or be rewarded with a starting job) and Jessie Govan’s offense is still setting the pace. James Akinjo and Mac McClung are consistently scoring in double figures, keeping Patrick happy, and appear to be taking on the burden to distribute better. Whatever happened with Jamorko Pickett seems to be in the rear view, and Greg Malinowski continues to impress both on the court and in acceptance of his role in the lineup.
Here are the links:
”He’s definitely a guy that if the game’s on the line, you’re going to look to give him the ball,” Walker said.
From Walker’s perspective, it took time before he realized Tucker was worth keeping after the tear-down. Tucker’s athleticism pops to the eye. A muscular 210-pound, 6-5 guard, Tucker’s vertical leap can level the crown of his head with the rim.
”I figured he would be a good player because he has a lot of athletic ability, but he hadn’t proven anything because he hadn’t played in two years,” Walker said. “I didn’t know what I was going to get.”
Tucker’s first eight games as a Trojan show why Walker believes he can thrust this rebuild forward. He has scored 20-plus points in four of his past six games, and he has yet to score fewer than 14 points in a game.
Little Rock went for 89 in a loss to Memphis tonight and were leading with under 4 mins left.— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) December 20, 2018
Guard Rayjon Tucker scored 29.
Hoyas might find themselves in a track meet at Capital One Arena Saturday.
Both Little Rock and Memphis shot an even 50% from the floor with the Trojans hitting 42.3% of its three-point attempts, going 11-of-26 on the night, while limiting the Tigers to 37.5% (9-of-24).
But heading into the game, head coach Darrell Walker made an extra emphasis on two key areas that would decide the game – free throws and rebounding... The loss came despite Rayjon Tucker’s 29-point performance to lead all scorers, finishing 7-of-12 from the floor and 11-of-15 from the free throw line.
Knowing it was facing a Memphis team that likes to push the tempo, Little Rock weathered the storm early, and was able to match the Tigers’ intensity. Memphis built a seven point lead early at 18-11, which was matched by an 11-0 run by Little Rock...
But Memphis began its full court press and run-and-gun, outscoring the Trojans 20-4 over the next six minutes to flip the three-point deficit into a 48-35 Memphis advantage.
We went toe to toe with Memphis on its home court, fighting back from multiple deficits, but came up short in the final minutes.— Little Rock Basketball (@LittleRockMBB) December 20, 2018
Time to learn and then set our sights towards Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Saturday.#LittleRocksTeam pic.twitter.com/aBjgms404j
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR - Through the first 11 games of the season, the Trojans are shooting 49.7% from the floor, ranking second in the Sun Belt and 22nd nationally. Through the first third of the 2018-19 season, Little Rock has shot 50.% or better from the floor in six of its first 11 games, including a season-high 63.8% (30-of-47) against Central Arkansas on December 8. Five different Trojans are making more than half of their field goals on the year, led by Kris Bankston’s 84.7% shooting percentage (50-of-59).
|Rayjon Tucker||3||JR||G||6-5||205||21.3 Pts, 6.3 Reb, 2.5 Ast|
|Kris Bankston||32||SO||F||6-8||194||10.4 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 1.2 Ast|
|Nikola Maric||55||FR||F||6-10||245||10.3 Pts, 3.9 Reb, 1.6 Ast|
|Jaizec Lottie||11||SO||G||6-1||170||8.6 Pts, 4.4 Reb, 4.7 Ast|
|Ryan Pippins||0||JR||G||6-0||200||9.1 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 1.4 Ast|
|Markquis Nowell||1||FR||G||5-8||165||9.8 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 3.9 Ast|
|Deondre Burns||2||JR||G||6-2||175||9.2 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 1.2 Ast|
|Kamani Johnson||20||FR||F||6-8||195||3.7 Pts, 4.3 Reb, 1.1 Ast|
|Horace Wyatt Jr.||25||FR||F||6-7||170||3.2 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 0.7 Ast|
|Dani Koljanin||23||SR||F||6-8||220||3.4 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Terrell Curtis II||12||FR||G||5-11||165||0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
Ewing on Akinjo: "A lot people say that Georgetown is a school of just bigs, but we've had some good guards come out of here. I think both him and Mac can be one of those guys."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) December 19, 2018
CBS Sports Network, with assistance from the Big East, followed the Georgetown team on its trip, which saw the Hoyas go 1-1. In a promo released Tuesday, there was talk of the players who have roots in Jamaica -- not to mention Ewing himself -- and what that means for Ewing when he comes back.
Ewing sounds humbled, with players saying that he draws a lot of attention. He said that people approach him and say that they wore his shoes or they loved how he carried himself, but above all of that he sums it up in the middle of the video by simply stating: “I’m home.”
NB: Apparently the program was delayed...
Plenty of examples of Josh's IQ. But here he knows if he can get his own off the double, great. If not he's got a corner shooter to benefit. Can see him motion to JG to hit Blair. Not many FR as acclimated as he is. And not many as selfless. pic.twitter.com/51M8D5W6nX— Nolan (@NationWideNolan) December 19, 2018
After intercepting an outlet pass thrown by David Greenwood of the San Antonio Spurs, Patrick Ewing is on the left wing of a two-on-one fast break. The New York Knicks center passes to Darrell Walker, who, harassed by Greenwood, misses a layup.
Ewing, moving through what rapidly has become a thicket of players, misses a tip-in but is able to bat the basketball into the hands of another teammate--who has the ball stripped away. Moments later, the Spurs on are their way down court, but not before Greenwood has pushed Ewing to the Madison Square Garden floor.
Revved up for a Holiday Edition of @CBBONFOX Saturday! Former @nyknicks teammates Patrick Ewing & Darrell Walker square off as head coaches as @GeorgetownHoops hosts @LittleRockMBB. @tarik4turner and I will have it from DC at Noon ET Saturday on @FOXSports Regional Networks.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) December 20, 2018
.@HoyaHoopClub Club Men's Basketball Postgame Event— DC Alumni Club (@DCHoyas) December 20, 2018
December 22 | 2:00pm after Little Rock@BarLouieDC is our new host bar for post game events. They will be providing food and drink specials and dedicated space in the bar for all Hoya fans. #hoyasaxa #H4L pic.twitter.com/7fZnu0B08o
Had someone tell me recently don't rule out Georgetown with Anthony.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 18, 2018
That said, the Hoyas already have a young point guard (Akinjo) and the recent track record with big recruits isn't hot. We'll see. https://t.co/cEafbpuU6Z
A game to watch tonight...