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PREVIEW & GAME THREAD: Georgetown at Butler!

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Hoyas look to continue winning ways at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Rafael Suanes / Georgetown Athletics

Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown travel to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to play the Butler Bulldogs!

Game 10: Georgetown Hoyas (3-6, 1-4) at Butler Bulldogs (2-5, 1-3)

When: Wednesday, 7 PM

Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse

Series: GU leads 9-7

Last meeting: Georgetown beat then-No. 19 Butler 73-66 on Feb. 15, 2020 behind a career performance from Terrell Allen who scored 22 points, including a perfect 4 for 4 from deep

TV: FS1 (Joe Davis & Casey Jacobsen)

Radio: TEAM 980, SiriusXM 386, Radio.com (Rich Chvotkin, 47th season)

KenPom Ranking: Butler 83, Georgetown 106

KenPom Projection: Butler 73, Georgetown 68 (66 percent)

Line: Butler -4.5, o/u 141

PREVIEW

Coach Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas will try and end a three-game losing streak at their favorite road venue when the open up a two-game road trip Wednesday at Butler.

The Hoyas suffered another come from ahead defeat in their first game of 2021 in losing to Marquette 64-60 on Jan. 2.

Jahvon Blair started in an unfamiliar spot on the bench but ultimately finished with a team-high 20 points in 37 minutes while Jamorko Pickett (four points, two rebounds) continues to be in a slump.

“He should know everything that I expect out of him,” Ewing said about Pickett. “I talk to him about it on a daily basis. He’s been given all the opportunities to get going. At some point, Jamorko has to get himself going.”

Pickett is shooting 10 for 39 over his last four games which has coincided with the absence of grad transfer point guard Jalen Harris. Harris started the first five games and was among the conference leaders in assists before stepping away to deal with family issues. On Tuesday Ewing said that Harris remains out while giving no indication as to when he might return, if at all.

In what also continues to be a troublesome trend, the Hoyas defense failed to make adjustments to slow down the opposition’s hot hand. While the Hoyas did a good job limiting star players in Sandro Mamukelashvili (Seton Hall) and Koby McEwen (Marquette) the next guy up has torched Georgetown. Last time out Marquette’s Jamal Cain scored a game-high 25 points on 10 for 15 shooting including the dagger 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Cain was 4 for 5 from deep while the rest of the team was just 1 for 17.

Turnovers have also been an issue, particularly at the start and close of games. Against Marquette, Georgetown had 17 compared to just 11 assists. Freshman point guard Dante Harris led the team with five while Donald Carey added three.

“Limit our turnovers,” Ewing said when asked what needs to be corrected. “That’s been our Achilles heel all year. We’ve shown that we can compete with teams, but we’re turning it over too much. I do have to say that yesterday was our best practice this year.”

If things are going to turn around for Georgetown, at Butler seems like the perfect place for that to happen.

Georgetown has won four straight and is 6-1 all-time at Hinkle Fieldhouse including a gritty win over a ranked Bulldogs team last season that ended up being their last of the season. Going back to last season Georgetown has lost 11 of 12 against Big East foes including five straight on the road.

In the Ewing Era this has been the Grad Transfer Show Out Game. Trey Dickerson, Greg Malinowski, and Terrell Allen all set Georgetown scoring highs at Butler. This year’s options for such outbursts in the Hoyas annual trip to Indianapolis are down to Chudi Bile and Carey. Could it happen again?

As for Butler, LaVall Jordan would have led the Bulldogs to the tournament for the second time in three seasons before covid ruined March Madness. It’s been a rough start to this season as Jordan looks to replace Kamar Baldwin and Jordan Tucker. The Bulldogs have also been missing senior guard Aaron Thompson with a knee injury. Thompson averaged 17 points and five assists in two games but hasn’t played in three weeks.

Freshman guards Myles Tate and Chuck Harris have filled in during his absence. Harris was Big East Freshman of the Week last week while Tate earned a spot on this week’s Honor Roll.

Jair Bolden is someone the Hoyas can’t leave open as he leads the league in 3-pointers per game while Bryce Nze is Butler’s top rebounder.

Bottom line is this is a very beatable Butler team as Georgetown starts a stretch with five out of the next six games on the road. While there is one non-conference game mixed in with Syracuse, the Hoyas need to pick up a win to help them avoid finishing in last place as the Big East coaches predicted.

KEEPING LEADS

Carey tried to put his finger on the Hoyas issues after taking big leads like they did against both Villanova and Marquette.

“It’s really just our mentality,” Carey said. “We get up and go into chill mode a little bit, but this is Big East basketball.”

NEARING 1,000

For the first time since early in their freshmen seasons, Blair has taken the lead in the scoring race with classmate Pickett. After 102 career games for each, they have nearly identical numbers - Blair now has scored 909 points, while Pickett is at 905.

With Blair nearly doubling Pickett’s average this season, the Canada native seems odds on favorite to get over the 1,000-point finish line first.

VIDEO GAME TIME

In playing on his third college team in four years, Carey has had to meet new friends on a fairly regular basis. Of course nothing is the same this season due to covid restrictions. With that said, Carey indicated on Tuesday that the team has taken to video games to get to know each other better with so many new faces. Although it seems as though Carey is more of a spectator the Hoyas lean heavily on NBA 2K and Call of Duty when time allows.

“A lot of guys play video games outside of practice. We can’t really go out or anything.”

Bobby’s Prediction: Georgetown 75, Butler 71. Some things just can’t be explained and the Hoyas dominance inside Hinkle Fieldhouse is one of them.

Leave your witty (and non-witty) in-game comments here!

HOYA SAXA!