Samford coach Scott Padgett isn’t exactly the household name of Jim Boeheim but on Saturday he carried on with a trend that the Syracuse coach might have started last week with his post-game remarks after a loss to Georgetown.
“I actually watched [Georgetown] play UNCG live because UNCG is in our conference so I watched that game when it was on and I was excited to play Georgetown because I didn’t think they looked very good at the time,” Padgett said.
No doubt Padgett was eager to try his luck against a Hoyas team that had just scored a season low 61 points and shot a poor 37 percent while making only five 3-pointers in a loss to Greensboro that dropped Georgetown to 4-3.
A lot has changed since then for the Hoyas who are on a five-game winning streak despite losing four players since the Greensboro defeat. The biggest difference that both Padgett and Boeheim can agree on is how well the Hoyas have been moving the ball. In the five games since the first set of transfers, Georgetown has scored 81, 91, 89, 81 and now a season high 99 points.
“You watch the film of the last four games and it just looks like a totally different team. They’re sharing the ball. I think everybody looks like they know their role and understand their role. They’re playing a lot off McClung and Yurtseven and then the other guys when you start putting a lot of attention to them that ball starts moving and then the other guys are starting to get open looks and they’re stepping up with confidence and knocking them down.”
When Patrick Ewing came out with Omer Yurtseven and Mac McClung for the Hoyas portion of the post-game press conferences he gave his thoughts on the Hoyas 2.0 who have drawn praise from everyone for sharing the ball.
“That’s one of the things we’ve talked about all year even from last year,” Ewing said about his guys sharing the ball.
“That if you have your shot take your shot. I’ve never tried to stop anyone from shooting but we’re always trying to tell them to make the right play. I think everyone on the team is happy because everyone is sharing.”
Ewing said the only thing that is different with his team going to down to seven rotation players is the ability to press. Ewing then stated the obvious in that it all comes down to Yurtseven and McClung both in what they do and how they get everyone else involved.
“These guys they’re the ones that’s going to carry the load. Omer and Mac are our best players. They’re going to get their shots. They have to make sure that everyone else is happy. They have to continue to share the ball, continue to dominate and that’s how we’re going to win.”
Omer Yurtseven had his sixth double-double of the season at the half and finished with 32 points and 17 rebounds – both career-bests.
After 12 games, Yurtseven is leading Georgetown 18.3 ppg and 10.3 rpg, which is, as you can see, a double-double.
“Obviously got to pay the bills.” – Padgett on Samford playing Georgetown.
Ewing on a lack of depth: “I’m not even thinking of depth. We have seven guys that are definitely going to play. Timothy [Ighoefe] is getting better and better every day, every week. So, he’s going to have his opportunity. George [Muresan], I trust George. He’s a senior. He played for JT3 and he’s playing now for me. I trust George. I know what he’s going to bring to the table. I’ll throw him in there if needed.”
When I pointed out that McClung had grabbed a career best seven rebounds, Ewing started to applaud before I was finished talking. It’s unlikely I’ll ever have a better moment at a press conference.
McClung went on to answer my question.
“They are in my ear all the time about get on the boards, get on the boards. I tried to do better today and it worked out a little bit. I don’t know. I try my best.”
McClung’s shooting percentages are all up from his freshman season and it looks like it’s thanks to a shot change that took place just after his spring semester ended.
McClung shot 39 percent as a frosh and just 28 percent from deep. So far this season he’s up to 44 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range. Last yeah he knocked down 39 3-pointers and he’s already made 23 through 12 games.
“I changed my whole form,” McClung said about his new shooting form.
“As soon as finals got over I went and changed it and worked on it four times a day to get that rhythm because it’s definitely the rhythm thing that you have to do over and over again.”
McClung said that working on his shot so much has helped give him confidence in games.
Georgetown finishes out the non-conference portion of the schedule by hosting American next Saturday at noon. Former Georgetown assistant Mike Brennan is in his seventh season in charge of the Eagles.