The Hoyas face the DePaul Blue Demons (13-12, 5-9) on Wednesday night, and while many of the attending fans are thrilled about the later 7pm start time, some out-of-towners may be disappointed by the availability of the broadcasting channel: CBS Sports Network.
DePaul has had a week off after their home loss to Creighton to prepare for the Hoyas. Led by senior Max Strus, the Blue Demons beat St. John’s and Seton Hall (twice) in Jamuary and Providence and Xavier in back-to-back games in early February. Dave Leitao’s squad is not at the top of the conference in much statistically, but DePaul does have a solid field goal percentage (.455, 2nd in conference) and does not tend to foul much (2nd).
With only 4 games left, Patrick Ewing must still have big questions about his team’s identity, especially on defense. That Villanova win, while still their best, may have lost a bit of luster with Jay Wright’s team dropping a road game to Xavier and falling out of the top-25.
That said, the New York Post just opined that “So far, Ewing has proven he can coach and recruit. Winning big won’t be too far behind.”
ZACH TO SCHOOL: The skeptics have gone quiet. Patrick Ewing is proving he was the right choice at @GeorgetownHoops. This season, and the Hoyas' bright future, is proof: https://t.co/0GVCstU9i7 #hoyasaxa #georgetown— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) February 25, 2019
Certainly Ewing’s offense is praiseworthy, but the college hoops pundits and commentary are joining this blog in worrying about defensive strategy, especially in two of the last three games. Team-wide over-helping and “matador” defense has no place in the final four games of Govan’s regular season if his stated goal is to be believed.
Regardless of defensive woes, scoring big to sweep DePaul with two wins is vital in seeding for a run in the Big East Tournament if more meaningful games are coming this season.
Here are the links:
Typical of a young team, there have been ups and downs. Georgetown followed up the win over Villanova by losing by 13 at Creighton. It blew a chance for a big non-conference victory back in December by falling to Syracuse after leading by 15.
But this program is clearly on the way up. The freshmen have showed immense potential, with Akinjo leading the conference in assists (5.3), McClung second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and the long-armed and versatile LeBlanc (9.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) looking like a potential future pro prospect. Sophomores Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair look like quality pieces.
Updated BIG EAST Standings 2/24 edition— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) February 24, 2019
1 Marquette 12-2
2 Villanova 11-4
3 St. John's 8-7
4 Seton Hall 7-8
4 Xavier 7-8
6 Georgetown 6-8
6 Butler 6-8
8 Creighton 6-9
9 DePaul 5-9
10 Providence 5-10
”I try not to think about things like that, not trying to win individual awards,” Govan said. “I’m trying to just really make the tournament, that’s our main goal right now. But honestly, I feel like I’m one of the best bigs in the country. I feel like there’s not a lot of guys in the country that can do what I do. I just try to go out there every night and be dominant.”
It was evident right then, if not before, that the Jays’ pace, ball movement and spacing would be creating havoc for Georgetown all Saturday afternoon. Ewing said afterward that he didn’t think the Hoyas brought enough effort — but CU looked as dialed into its offensive game plan as it’s been in some time...
“They’re a unique team,” Ewing said. “They spread you out and they space the floor. They get backdoor cuts, they hit 3s. You have to help and then they skip the ball to the weakside for 3s.
“But still, we’re a good enough team that we should be able to have handled it.”
This had all the makings of a slugfest since the officials were wary of blowing their whistles knowing that a slowed-down ballgame might make for multiple accidents outside as a blizzard built just south of Omaha. It’s hard to tell what the exact intent was for the officials, but small contact that’s typically called was let go. Double dribbles were non existent, and save for a few travel calls, this crew only called eight fouls in the first half. It made for fast, electric basketball, especially with two teams who tend to push the tempo moreso than your average ballclub.
Georgetown: Still can't get consistent traction. Followed up a stellar showing against Villanova with a loss at Creighton. Hoyas (16-11, 6-8 Big East) have won back-to-back games just once since Jan. 2.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) February 24, 2019
Any fans hoping to see a Georgetown defense that consistently defends the three-point line were immensely disappointed. The Bluejays knocked down 8-15 (53.3%) from behind the arc and 16-27 from the field (59.3%). Numerous players were guilty of overhelping on drives and simply losing track of their man. That is simply inexcusable against a team that makes a living from beyond the arc.
Had an absolute blast talking with Hoya legend @NLS_TD on the newest episode of D.C.’s Take 5! Trey offered up some great insight on his journey to georgetown, Ewing as a recruiter and coach, and the team this year. Definitely worth a listen! https://t.co/YY78P0PTWz— Dan Baldwin (@theBaldwinEra) February 25, 2019
BOTTOM LINE: DePaul pays visit to Georgetown in a Big East matchup. Each program is coming off of a tough loss in their last game. Georgetown lost 82-69 at Creighton on Saturday, while DePaul fell 79-67 at home to Creighton on Wednesday.
VARYING EXPERIENCE: DePaul has relied on senior leadership while Georgetown has been fueled heavily by freshmen this year. For the Blue Demons, seniors Max Strus, Eli Cain and Femi Olujobi have collectively scored 56 percent of the team’s points this season, including 68 percent of all Blue Demons points over their last five.
'You've got this, Aameer.'— Shannon Ryan (@sryantribune) February 22, 2019
Aameer Sahi, a #DePaul basketball student-manager, has received an outpouring of support from the team and university as he battles cancer. #SahiStrong https://t.co/StlZloTzXH
Paul Reed and Femi Olujobi combined for six shots and 12 points as the Creighton Bluejays earned a 36-16 advantage in points in the paint, nearly outrebounded (33 to 32) the second-leading rebounding team in the Big East Conference, and held Reed to just two points which was his lowest scoring output since the beginning of December when he scored just one point against Northwestern.
With the paint clogged with double teams, the shots funneled to the Blue Demon guards. Devin Gage finished with a season-high 16 field goal attempts (he connected on four of them), Lyrik Schreiner missed all four of his shot attempts, and Max Strus needed 17 shots to record his 18 points.
@CoachDLeitao is only playing 7 guys. This has and will continue to take a toll on his current players. The coach REALLY hurt himself by not bringing back Cyrus and Roberts. No fresh legs to defend. Something has to change including bring in better talent.— Logan W. Simios (@LoganSimios) February 21, 2019
Max Strus led DePaul with 18 points and eight rebounds, but his 18 points came on 17 shots. Creighton’s big win on defense was limiting DePaul’s big men Femi Olubjobi and Paul Reed to just 12 points. Reed had just two on two field goal attempts, both conference season-lows for the sophomore big man. Forcing Strus into inefficient performances is the key to beating DePaul, and Creighton executed the plan to perfection...
The Blue Demons fall to 13-12 and 5-9 in Big East play. They’ll have a week off before heading to Washington DC to face Georgetown next Wednesday evening.
NB: John Fanta already looking ahead to Seton Hall... let’s hope the Hoyas aren’t...
Saturday is going to be massive in DC. It’s a 1-game season for a @SetonHallMBB team that has to win, yet @GeorgetownHoops is making a late push for a Big Dance spot. A bubble game in every sense. #shbb #hoyasaxa— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) February 25, 2019
MONDAYS WITH KATZ! @John_Fanta welcomes @TheAndyKatz to talk Wednesday's huge @NovaMBB - @MarquetteMBB, the home stretch for @StJohnsBBall + a massive @SetonHallMBB - @GeorgetownHoops bubble game. pic.twitter.com/vN5EFIXvxt— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) February 25, 2019
Did you know that @CoachEwing33 spent a summer as a Senate intern? New episodes of “Center Court with Patrick Ewing” air every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. on @siriusXM @SXMCollege ESPNU Channel 84 #HoyaSaxahttps://t.co/UGDR7mvzd4— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) February 25, 2019