clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Georgetown Looks to Bounce Back Against Xavier

New, 22 comments

Hoyas have lost 5 straight to Musketeers

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Georgetown Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Game 16: Georgetown Hoyas (11-4, 1-1) at Xavier Musketeers (9-7, 1-2)

When: Wednesday, 630pm

Where: Cintas Center

Series: Xavier leads 13-4, Musketeers swept Hoyas last season

TV: FS1 (Thom Brennaman & Nick Bahe)

Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)

KenPom Prediction: Xavier78, Georgetown 74 (65 percent)

Line: Xavier -3.5

Coach Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas will look to rebound from their disappointing come-from-ahead loss to St. John’s when they travel to Cincinnati to face Xavier for the first of two games this season.

As is always the case, wins on the road in conference play are tough to come by and tonight will be no exception as Georgetown is just 1-4 at the Cintas Center including an overtime loss last season in Ewing’s first trip.

Georgetown has lost eight of ten against Xavier in BIG EAST regular season games and five straight overall to the Musketeers.

This will be the first time the Hoyas have faced Xavier as a conference foe without Chris Mack in charge as he left in the off-season for Louisville. Mack was 9-2 against Georgetown and led Xavier to eight NCAA Tournaments in nine seasons, reaching the Elite Eight in 2017.

Travis Steele, who has been with Xavier since 2008, is now the 18th head coach in school history.

In what figures to be a rebuilding season, Xavier went 8-5 before BIG EAST play with their best win – just like Georgetown - coming against Illinois.

Xavier is led by three double-figure scorers in Naji Marshall, Paul Scruggs, and Quentin Goodin. Marshall leads the team in scoring and rebounding, Goodin leads the team and is second in the league in assists, while Scruggs is the team’s best three-point threat. This is where it starts and stops for the Musketeers.

Sitting at just 1-2 in the league, Xavier plays four of its next five at home starting tonight against the Hoyas. If they are going to make their sixth straight NCAA Tournament, this would be a good time to go on a run.

As for the Hoyas – who were seconds away from a 2-0 conference start - time is also of the essence. After tonight Georgetown plays four of its next five at home including three straight starting with Providence on Saturday. Starting that stretch above .500 in the league could send the Hoyas into a good spot.

Greg Malinowski became the latest Hoya to earn league honors on Monday thanks in large part to his career-high 26 points in the win at Butler. Malinowski has turned out to be more than an adequate fill in for the injured Mac McClung. Malinowski has made a strong case to stay in the line-up for the long term.

As expected Jessie Govan continues to lead the Hoyas in scoring while recording his fifth double-double against St. John’s. Just behind Govan with four double-doubles is freshman Josh LeBlanc who went for 12 and 13 against St. John’s. Like Malinowski, LeBlanc has done enough to remain in the line-up regardless of when Trey Mourning returns.

WHAT TO WATCH

1 – Can Jamorko Pickett build off his breakout game?

Pickett had his best game of the season against St. John’s last Saturday. The sophomore had a season-high 13 points to go along with six rebounds and three blocks. An all-Freshman selection last season, it was just Pickett’s third double-figures scoring game of the season. Pickett looked to have hit the biggest shot in the game when his three-pointer broke a 77-77 with under two minutes remaining but the Hoyas fell apart in the final seconds. While he’s been mainly a three-pointer shooter this season, Pickett did well cutting to the basket playing off Govan. He was 5 for 12 overall, but was 3 for 5 inside the three-point line. Georgetown needs Pickett on the floor for not only offense but defense.

2 – What’s the line-up?

If McClung and Mourning are healthy, what does Ewing do with the starters and more importantly, the rotations? With no expected timetables given, this seems to be a question before every game. As mentioned above – the replacements for both injured starters – have done enough to keep their spots. Someone is going to get squeezed on minutes and it might be Mourning.

3 – Can the defense improve?

This goes along with the line-ups. As Ewing continues to change his rotations, it seems as though he hasn’t found the right defensive unit. Last time out Georgetown was unable to control Shamorie Ponds. Now most teams will have a problem with Ponds, Georgetown led the talented junior go off for 37 points. As a team St. John’s shot 52 percent and hit 11 3-pointers and only one starter shot under 50 percent from the field. It’s nice that the Hoyas are leading the conference in scoring but they gave up 97 points on Saturday.

Prediction: Georgetown 85, Xavier 80