A Win is a Win.
As students returned to campus after the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Longwood Lancers and your Georgetown Hoyas met in relatively tame Capital One Arena. Both teams entered tonight’s game on a two game losing skid. After a sloppy start Georgetown turned in a scrappy performance with a 91-83 victory to collect their 3rd win to get back to .500 on the 2021-2022 campaign.
The Lancers opened up the scoring, much like several other Hoya opponents: knocking down 3s, as every Hoyas fan thought “here we go again.” But Kaiden Rice finally broke the Longwood scoring run with his signature catch and shoot triple to make it 9-3 in the early goings. Things started to even up as the Hoyas found their way into the painted areas with a put back layup from Timothy Ighoefe, a Dante Harris And-1, and an Amimu Mohammed steal in the full court pressure.
The middle section of the 1st broke out into a track meet, as both teams went cold from beyond the arc and the transition offenses tried to take advantage. The players did more running than scoring, and the scoring line remained relatively unchanged. After a tear drop from the foul line from Lancer guard, Justin Hill, Coach Ewing quickly called his second timeout of the 1st half with the Hoyas down 7. Out of the break, the Hoyas went small, with 6’7” Kaiden Rice anchoring the middle of the 2-3 zone defense. Collin Holloway, the much-anticipated Hoya Freshman guard, splashed a triple and kissed a tough layup off the glass to cut the lead to 3 as the Hoyas finally started to gain some offensive traction forcing Griff Aldrich, the Lancer head coach, to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Ewing dipped into his bench, as Jalen Billingsly and Jordan Riley saw their first minutes. The commitment to the small lineup continued to payoff as the Hoyas took their first lead of the game with just under 4 minutes left in the 1st. The under-4 minute timeout brought some statistically cleaner basketball, but the Hoyas struggled to convert on contested layups. The closing minutes held some Georgetown resilience as they were able to create a couple of Longwood turnovers and salvage the first half on a 18-7 run to lead by 5 at the break.
With Ighoefe (hand - did not return) and Mohammed (bloody nose - patched up and did return) on the pine, Ewing stuck with small ball and the Hoyas extended the lead to 13, punctuated by a couple of technical foul free throws converted by Collin Holloway. The guard merry-go-round ended with Ryan Mutomobo subbing into the game for the 2nd time. With the offense stalling, Ewing called his 3rd timeout of the game, with the Lancers sparking up a 7-0 run, which extended to an 13-0 run after the timeout, as the Hoyas struggled from the field, missing mid-range jumpers, contested layups, and turning the ballover. The lead dropped to 3.
The teams traded runs throughout the middle portion of the 2nd half, but the Hoyas never relinquished the lead, despite Lancer guard, DeShaun Wade, knocking down several 3s. Coach Ewing cashed in his last timeout with a 3 point lead at the 4 minute mark. Out of the timeout, the scoring continued. Kaiden Rice subbed in for the first time in the 2nd half and immediately knocked down a three, but Longwood refused to go quietly into the night. With a minute left, a couple of tough lay-ins from Holloway and Harris stretched the led to 6 before a Kaiden Rice 3 sealed the deal for the Hoyas: 91-83.
1) The Hoyas are raw. We see flashes of each player’s talent: Rice drilling 3s, Amimu working for everything around the rim, and Harris sharing the rock. It is a matter of making it consistent and geling everyone together. Of all the Hoyas, Collin Holloway stood out. This was his game. With 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists, he dominated almost every facet. He did everything: circus layups, 3s, hard nose defensive basketball in the paint, offensive rebounds, and small things like strong ball fakes to break down the Lancer’s pesky zone defense and free up his teammates. He was not perfect. We aren’t expecting him to be, but it is hard not to be incredibly encouraged by his performance. The young man from Baton Rouge should see more minutes in the near future and will be a big part of this team moving forward.
2) The small-ball lineup seemed to work (for the most part). This needs to be taken with a grain of salt as the Lancers are a small team all the way around, in fact they don’t even have a true Center listed on their roster. Throughout the game, the guards harassed Longwood on the defensive end, and were able to find ways to score. Although slightly improved, the defense from 3 continues to haunt Georgetown, as the Lancers shot 37.5% from downtown, something Hoyas fans have to be used to at this point. One thing that I would love to see more of is the full court pressure. We have depth at the guard position, and so far this season our full court pressure has wreacked havok on the St. Joe’s and Longwood offenses when it needs to. We will see how much Ewing turns to this strategy.
Next up, the Hoyas get a taste of the SEC with the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, SC this coming Sunday at 2:00PM EST. Go Hoyas!