Game 13: Howard Bison (6-7) at Georgetown Hoyas (9-3)
When: Saturday, noon
Where: Capital One Arena
Series: Hoyas lead 9-0
TV: FS1 (Dave Sims & Tarik Turner)
Radio: Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 92, Howard 75 (94 percent)
In their final dress rehearsal before BIG EAST play, Georgetown hosts Howard in what has been - to put it rather nicely - a lopsided local affair. The Hoyas defeated Howard 81-67 last season to improve to 9-0 against the Bison, with the first meeting coming during the 1999-00 season.
In returning to where it all started back in November, the Hoyas are looking to improve to 61-0 all-time against MEAC schools. The Hoyas, as you may remember, defeated Maryland Eastern Shore in the season opener, their only other game against the conference this season.
The last time Georgetown took the court Mac McClung scored a Georgetown freshman record 38 points, earning him BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Honors, while classmate and fellow backcourt starter James Akinjo dropped a career-high 25 as the Hoyas outlasted Little Rock in overtime.
Although Jessie Govan continues to lead Georgetown in scoring with 17.9 ppg, the Hoyas are the only team in the BIG EAST with two freshman averaging double-figures in Akinjo and McClung.
Govan led the Hoyas against Howard last season in scoring 24 points and grabbing a career-best 16 rebounds.
In what continues to be the biggest mystery of the season, Jamorko Pickett - a unanimous selection to the league’s All Freshman Team last year - was held scoreless against Little Rock and is now Georgetown’s seventh leading scorer.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1 – Does a healthy Trey Mourning return to the starting line-up or does coach Patrick Ewing stick with Josh LeBlanc?
In a move that had looked likely for some time, LeBlanc earned the first start of his career with Mourning out because of a concussion he suffered against Appalachian State. LeBlanc only had four points in his first start but pulled down nine rebounds with four coming on the offensive end. The big question will be what does Ewing do assuming Mourning is healthy as the grad student had started the Hoyas first 11 games. I’ll predict that LeBlanc stays in the starting line-up as Ewing gets a chance to see what Mourning can contribute as a leader off the bench.
2 – Did Kaleb Johnson’s performance against Little Rock earn him more minutes?
It’s been difficult to figure out Ewing’s substitution patterns but it’s a luxury the second year coach has with a deeper roster this season. With Jamorko Pickett still struggling and Ewing not afraid to sit his talented sophomore, Johnson should probably get another look at extended minutes against Howard. Johnson scored a season high 12-points and tied LeBlanc with a team high nine rebounds. Johnson’s biggest contribution was coming up with five offensive rebounds, which earned Ewing’s praise in the post-game press conference. Odds are good that Johnson will get a chance in the first half to build off of last game’s season-high 26 minutes.
3 – Can Georgetown slow down Howard’s backcourt?
Although Howard has just three wins against Division 1 schools this season, they have one of the better backcourts Georgetown has seen this season in RJ Cole and Charles Williams who combine to score just under 40 points per game. Cole is an average jump shooter but does well at getting to the line – 7 free throw attempts per game – and dishes out seven assists per game. In last year’s loss to the Hoyas, Williams went for 28 points – going 6 for 9 from deep. Look for Jagan Mosely to once again get solid minutes off the bench if McClung and Akinjo struggle to slow down Howard’s explosive guards.
Prediction: Georgetown 85, Howard 77