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FRIDAY FEELING: Hoyas rise above Saints, 83-65

Rice leads the way with 23 points | Harris, Mohammed, Carey all in double digits

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Happy Friday, people! Your Georgetown Hoyas got the weekend started on a high note today, taking down the Siena Saints by a score of 83-65 tonight at Capital One arena. The Hoyas improve to 2-1 on the season, while their opponent drops to 0-4 after being expected to play their way to somewhere near the upper end of the MAAC. The headline of the night was Kaiden Rice’s 70% clip from beyond the arc — wherever his shot had been hiding, he seems to have relocated it. The transfer was leading the attack for the Hoyas with 23 points and an eye-popping SEVEN triples.

Dante Harris made some key baskets (and committed zero turnovers) at moments where controlling the momentum was key, Captain Donald Carey lit it up from long range, and Aminu Mohammed continued the strong start to his freshman campaign, driving aggressively and hounding the ball off the glass.

The aforementioned group of Hoyas got on the board early to set up a 10-2 lead. Saints leading scorer Colby Rogers and Jared Billups were quick to answer from beyond the arc, but it was freshman center Malcolm Wilson who stopped that run by putting back a miss from Harris. After Siena pulled back to within 2, Georgetown cobbled together an 8-0 run where they were able to exploit multiple consecutive turnovers by the Saints. Rice forced a steal and hit Riley, who finished in transition to put the Hoyas up 23-13 with 8:54 remaining in the first half.

Georgetown was able to keep Siena at a semi-comfortable disadvantage from that point onward. The Saints were beating the Hoyas on the glass, but aside from senior Jackson Stormo the visiting team could not present a consistent offensive threat. Filling the recurring role of “nobody saw that coming but that sucks for Georgetown,” fifth-year guard and UNC transfer Andrew Platek was notified of his eligibility to play within a day of the game. Naturally, he nailed a halfcourt three at the halftime buzzer to take some of the shine off the beautiful Harris —> Carey —> Rice triple that the Hoyas had drilled mere seconds before. Despite the dagger, the Hoyas went into the break up 44-34.

The Hoyas were able to expand their lead as Carey & Rice continued their scoring barrage after halftime. Siena came into tonight’s contest planning to attempt a lot of threes, a plan which became problematic when they started 0-13 from beyond the arc in the second half until finally breaking through in the waning minutes of the contest. Georgetown was ahead 56-40 at the U16 media break when they encountered a period where their play became uneven both ends of the court.

Left unchecked, particularly against a team with greater scoring threats, this could have led to a meltdown. Instead, Harris showed that he can not only read the court but read the room (so to speak). He brought the ball up methodically and allowed his offense to reset. A couple of empty possessions were weathered without incident, and Georgetown got back in gear when Carey blocked a three point attempt by Platek, then the Captain brought it up the court and hit birthday boy Tyler Beard for the layup. Another highlight of the second half came when Jordan Riley hit Jalin Billingsley with the lob in transition, then tried it again a couple of minutes later.

The Hoyas did not face challenges, largely of their own making. Siena outrebounded Georgetown by a significant margin, particularly during the middle portion of the first half, allowing the Saints to keep it within single digits for far longer than was warranted. Ighoefe had foul trouble and the Hoyas’ young frontcourt trio was unable to contend with Stormo inside (and also outside), where everything he took was a high-percentage shot. When BIG EAST play rolls around, Georgetown is going to have to answer to even more formidable threats in the paint, and the learning curve may not be pretty.

In keeping with tradition, the Hoyas also struggled with losing their defensive assignments. While the energy level was there, the lack of experience showed, either getting burned on the pick & roll, overhelping within the arc, or blowing right on by a jump shooter. This is fixable. This has always been fixable. When it will be fixed this season is anybody’s guess.

This was still a decisive win. Georgetown capitalized off turnovers, kept the momentum going when their opponent experienced a long-range shooting drought, and leveraged a well-rounded attack to lead this one wire-to-wire. It’s the type of confidence-building game that the team needed heading into the coming week’s west coast swing, and it is also incredibly fun to see the freshmen contributing real minutes.

Up next, the Hoyas face San Diego State in the middle of the damn night on Thanksgiving. Tipoff is set for 11:30pm ET on 11/25 and it should be airing on ESPN2.