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Georgetown’s Struggling Defense Contributing to Opposing Honors

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Marquette’s Jamal Cain and Dawson Garcia the latest to earn weekly awards after facing the Hoyas

Rafael Suanes / Georgetown Athletics

It’s the beginning of the week so that can only mean one thing: The BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll was released!

While there weren’t any Hoyas who earned recognition this week there is something happening on the other end that is a bit concerning.

Opposing players are putting up career performances against Georgetown with more regularity as conference play heats up. The result is the steady accumulation of awards for players the week after facing the Hoyas.

So, for those Georgetown fans that were excited to see how coach Patrick Ewing’s defense would fare in a post Markus Howard (Marquette) and Myles Powell (Seton Hall) world, well you’ll have to wait until at least the second meeting against those teams for something that doesn’t involve allowing individual offensive explosions from far less heralded players than the aforementioned All-Americans.

This past Saturday Georgetown blew an 18-point point lead in losing to Marquette 64-60 at home to drop to 3-6, 1-4 in the Big East. Two Golden Eagles saw their – mainly second half - efforts rewarded around Monday lunchtime with the email from league headquarters.

Jamal Cain made the Weekly Honor Roll after scoring a career-high 25 points on an efficient 10 for 15 shooting in the comeback. The senior forward made the dagger 3-pointer in front of the Marquette bench. Cain finished 4 for 5 from deep including the final wide-open trey in the final seconds that killed the game for the Hoyas. The rest of the Golden Eagles were 1 for 17 from deep but a breakdown, miscommunication, or lack of attention to detail let Cain find himself covered more closely by his coach Steve Wojciechowski than any of the Hoyas who had collapsed into the lane.

Not be left out, Marquette forward Dawson Garcia got in on the action and was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the week after scoring nine points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds against the Hoyas.

If this sounds kind of familiar it’s because it is.

The previous week – on Dec. 28, two Seton Hall Pirates made the conference Honor Roll after their performances against Georgetown on Dec. 23 went down as nights to remember.

Seton Hall senior Myles Cale, just like Cain, established a new career-high in points in the Pirates comfortable 78-67 win over Georgetown. Cale finished with 30 points on 10 for 16 shooting – including 5 for 9 from deep - and was named BIG EAST Player of the week.

Pirates junior Jared Rhoden matched his career-highs in both points (26) and rebounds (12) in the wire-to-wire win over Georgetown. Rhoden and Cale combined for 20 of Seton Hall’s 28 field goals as Seton Hall beat Georgetown for a sixth straight time in Newark. Again, Georgetown couldn’t find a way to get the ball out of the hot hand(s) as the rest of the Pirates were just 8 for 27 and made only one 3-pointer in nine attempts.

In the first two weeks of BIG EAST games the Hoyas didn’t yield any career performances from the opposition but Posh Alexander (St. John’s) did earn Freshman of the Week honors on Dec. 21 after helping the Red Storm to their first conference win of the season against Georgetown. Collin Gillespie was named to the Weekly Honor Roll on Dec. 14 after his all-around performance of 18 points, six assists, and four boards played a big part in Villanova’s double-digit comeback win at Georgetown in the conference opener.

This has become a weekly trend that needs to stop or at the very least slow down if the Hoyas are going to begin making long needed progress on defense. Yes, many fans are focused on next year’s incoming class but there needs to be some base to build upon and that needs to start this season both for the players that will return and for Ewing. In his first three seasons Ewing has yet to have a Top 100 defense using KenPom’s numbers. Going back to the start of KenPom in 1996-97, Georgetown’s worst defensive seasons were ranked in the 90’s in 2005 and 2014 but the Hoyas were regularly among the best in the country over that nearly 25 year period.

OK, so back to the small step of denying some of the career scoring performances that have been turning into weekly honors.

This week Georgetown only plays one league game when they visit always Hoya friendly Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on Butler.

Since Big East games started, only two Bulldogs - both freshman - have earned weekly honors.

Chuck Harris was named Freshman of the Week on Dec. 28 after averaging 16 points in two wins while Myles Tate made this week’s Honor Roll by putting up a combined 30 points and nine assists against just two turnovers in 65 minutes of play against Providence and Seton Hall.

Senior guards Jair Bolden and Aaron Thompson – if healthy – also have the offensive potential for an outburst on any given day and need not be overlooked.

So that’s the challenge this week: Can Georgetown do its part to keep the Bulldogs off the weekly honors list?

Well, if you had to pick a place to start some positive momentum, Hinkle Fieldhouse would be as great a choice as any given Georgetown’s 6-1 record in the historic venue. There’s clearly Hoyas positive mojo in the building whether it’s from Roy Hibbert or DSR, we’ll never know.

So, tune in Wednesday night at 7pm on FS1 to see how the Hoyas try and bounce back.