Game 18: No. 15 Marquette Golden Eagles (14-3, 3-1) at Georgetown Hoyas (12-5, 2-2)
When: Tuesday, 830pm
Where: Capital One Arena
Series: Golden Eagles lead 13-12, Marquette won both games last season
TV: FS1 (Jeff Levering & Stephen Bardo)
Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
Rankings: Marquette 35, Georgetown 94
Prediction: Marquette 80, Georgetown 77, (62 percent)
Line: Marquette -2.5, o/u 157.5
Fresh off of a dramatic double-overtime victory over Providence Saturday, Georgetown gets its first chance of the season to knock off a Top 25 opponent as No. 15 Marquette comes to Capital One Arena on Tuesday night in the middle game of a three game homestand for the Hoyas.
Although just four games into their BIG EAST schedule, Georgetown has clearly established themselves as one of the most exciting teams in the league having already played in two overtime contests and scoring at least 84 points three times.
In his second season coach Patrick Ewing starts three freshman in James Akinjo, Mac McClung, and Josh LeBlanc – all of whom have won at least one BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award
McClung made quite a league debut by banking in a 30-foot 3-pointer to force extra time against the Friars while classmate James Akinjo forced a second extra period with a deep 3-pointer of his own to go along with a career-best nine assists earning his second weekly honor.
Senior Jessie Govan continues to live on the league’s Weekly Honor Roll while sophomore Jamorko Pickett has begun to pick up his play that earned him all league honors last season as a freshman.
Govan has been virtually unstoppable in conference play by scoring 25.5 ppg and collecting 9.5 rpg in just under 39 mpg. Although it’s early, the 6-foot-10 center is now averaging 20 ppg in all contests. The last Hoya to average at least 20 points in a season was Mike Sweetney back in 2003.
Speaking of unstoppable, Marquette has a guy – you may have heard of him - named Markus Howard that scored a league record 53 points a few games ago and averages nearly 26 ppg, good for fourth best in the nation. The 5-foot-11 guard takes nearly 10 3-pointers a game, making 44 percent.
Joining Howard as double-figure scorers are two Hausers in Sam and Joey. Sam leads the team in rebounding at 6.8 rpg while Joey is right there, just a rebound behind.
Big man Ed Morrow didn’t finish the Seton Hall game so it might be up to both Theo John and Matt Heldt to try and slow down Govan. A top-100 recruit, Heldt – now a senior – doesn’t play all that much.
Much to the delight of Hoyas fans, last year’s Georgetown killer – Andrew Rowsey is gone. Rowsey totaled 68 points against Georgetown last season.
With their highest ranking since 2013, coach Steve Wojciechowski’s squad has won 11 of 12 since starting the season 3-2.
Marquette swept the Hoyas last season and has won four of the last five in the series.
WHAT TO WATCH
1 – How will Georgetown slow down Howard?
This is obviously the biggest story line of the game.
With the types of points Georgetown has been giving up at home recently – 97 and 90 in their last two – combined with what Howard has been doing, this could be a record breaking night for someone.
Ewing will probably throw a bunch of different Hoyas at Howard but Pickett might get one of the first chances although we might see Jagan Mosely and even Kaleb Johnson get early opportunities off the bench at slowing down the junior guard.
Pickett had a career-best four blocks against the Friars and his length could really bother Howard if he’s able to stick with him.
While Georgetown went just 5-13 in the league last season, they did a good job defending Howard. In the first meeting Howard had 13 points but it took him 14 shots to get there. In the rematch in DC, Howard had 16 points as the Hoyas lost in OT.
For his career at Verizon Center/Capital One Arena, Howard has scored 19 points on a combined 6 for 13 shooting. So the Hoyas have that going for them.
2 – Can the Hoyas win a lower scoring game?
At some point, Georgetown will probably need to figure out a way to win a lower scoring game. Now while this might not be the game, Marquette has held two league opponents – Xavier and Seton Hall – to under 70 points in victories. It’s fair to point out that the Hoyas points allowed is a bit skewed at home so far as they have played an extra 15 minutes thanks to three overtimes. On a night where shots might not be falling, the way for Georgetown to win a lower scoring game will be to limit turnovers. Of course this could just be a season of winning – and dying – with the offense.
It’s taken 18 games but Georgetown faces a ranked foe for the first time this season. The last time a Hoyas team went this deep into a season before meeting ranked opposition was in 1976 when it also took 18 games. Of course last season it took 17 games so this is kind of becoming the norm.
Georgetown went 0-4 against AP Top 25 teams last season. The Hoyas failed to beat a ranked team for the first time since the 2003-04 season when they also went 0-4.
Georgetown last defeated a ranked team back on Jan 28, 2017 in an 85-81 win at then-No. 11 Butler. The Hoyas have lost seven straight games against ranked opponents.
LAST HOYAS WIN IN SERIES
Georgetown’s last win in this series came on February 11, 2017. The Hoyas easily dispatched of the Golden Eagles in an 80-62 rout in what would be the last win by former coach John Thompson III.
The Georgetown starters that day were Jonathan Mulmore, Rodney Pryor, LJ Peak, Marcus Derrickson, and Jessie Govan.
Govan led the way with 23 points as three Hoyas (Pryor, Peak) scored 20-plus points. Pryor had a double-double as Georgetown held freshman Markus Howard to three points after he had scored 23 in the first game in Milwaukee.
Prediction: Georgetown 102, Marquette 101 (3OT) - I wouldn’t mind to see a chart of the blood pressure for someone that - for entertainment purposes only - takes the under on Tuesday night.