Game 17: Providence Friars (10-5, 0-2) at Georgetown Hoyas (11-5, 1-2)
When: Saturday, noon
Where: Capital One Arena
Series: Hoyas led 44-28, Providence won both games last season
Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 76, Providence 74 (56 percent)
Line: n/a at posting
While the old saying goes that ‘All records were made to be broken’, currently Georgetown finds itself in a stretch where “All leads were made to be surrendered.”
There’s just no other way to put it as the Hoyas have fallen in similar come-from-ahead fashion against St. John’s and Xavier after holding sizeable double-digits leads in both contests to completely fumble away the good start earned in their BIG EAST opener at Butler.
And it’s not just a new phenomenon as the Hoyas followed this disastrous script numerous times last season and earlier this campaign in losses to both Syracuse and Loyola Marymount despite leading at the half.
Well, for Georgetown there’s no better time to attempt to fix this problem with four of its next five games at home starting on Saturday against a Providence squad that is having its own issues.
The Friars, picked third in the BIG EAST preseason poll, have had a week off after falling to 0-2 in the league with losses to Creighton and Villanova coming at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Providence has dug itself in a bit of a hole and will need to get back on track sooner rather than later to keep hope alive for a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid under coach Ed Cooley.
While Georgetown has earned three Freshman of the Week honors spread out evenly between James AKinjo, Mac McClung, and Josh LeBlanc, the Friars A.J. Reeves earned the honor three times in the first month of play.
Reeves, who has scored over 20 points three times including a 29-point outbursts in his Friar debut against Siena, has missed the last five games with a foot injury and remains out for Cooley after starting each of the first 10 games.
With Reeves out, Cooley continues to depend on Alpha Diallo and Nate Watson while freshman David Duke has been asked to play more but hasn’t totally responded yet. A heralded recruited, Duke is shooting just 37 percent from the field, less than 60 percent from the line, and second on the team in turnovers.
It’s only been two games but Providence is basically last in most of the BIG EAST categories including scoring, shooting, 3-pointers made, free throw shooting, assists, rebounding, and fouls.
Completely frustrated by what he was seeing against Villanova last Saturday, Cooley switched things up for the second half after saying he only “wanted to play his toughest dudes”. Cooley went with an unconventional lineup that included Diallo, Isiah Jackson, Drew Edwards, Makai Ashton-Langford and Kalif Young. Things improved but the Friars ultimately still lost.
Coming off a 27 point performance in the loss to Xavier, Jessie Govan will get his final chance to earn a home victory over Providence. This is the Friars best ever stretch over the Hoyas, having won the last eight meetings. It’s been a real reversal of fortune as before this current Providence winning streak, Georgetown had won 9 of 10 in the series.
LAST HOYAS WIN
Georgetown’s last win in this series came on February 10, 2014 at what was then called the Verizon Center. The Hoyas starters that day were: Markel Starks, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Reggie Cameron, Nate Lubick, and Mikael Hopkins. DSR led the way with 22 points while Starks added 14 and Jabril Trawick chipped in 12 off the bench in an 83-71 comeback victory. Providence had led late in the second half but the Hoyas finished the game on a 36-17 run.
WHAT TO WATCH
1 – Will McClung and Trey Mourning make their returns?
Coach Patrick Ewing has kept this information close so we have no way of knowing what the timetable is like for these two players who had started every game before going out with injuries. Whether or not each reclaim their spots is less the issue as both player can provide something that the team is missing. Without McClung the Hoyas are missing another scorer while Mourning leaves the team without much frontcourt depth.
2 – Govan For Three
Just 16 games into the season and Govan has already made a career-best 23 3-pointers and he’s doing it while shooting 43 percent. Right now the senior big man is third on the team in makes – just behind Akinjo and Greg Malinowski – and ninth in the league in percentage for all games played. Aside from some late desperation heaves against St. John’s, Govan has been taking his shots within the offense.
Prediction: Georgetown 82, Providence 69 – If the Hoyas can get the amount of possessions that they want they will eventually wear down the Friars.