You Georgetown Hoyas (4-4) will host the Syracuse Orange (5-4) in Washington, DC this Saturday at noon after the Hoyas beat UMBC on Wednesday and Syracuse lost to Villanova on Tuesday. Here’s hoping that Georgetown has some buckets left in the tank after putting up 100 points against the Retrievers.
Here are the links:
Most of all, though, he could shoot. From long range. A lot. Eight games into Georgetown’s season, Rice has delivered on his most obvious skill — and never more than Wednesday night in a 100-71 win over Maryland Baltimore County at Capital One Arena.
Rice made a school-record 10 three-pointers on 12 attempts as part of a 34-point game as the Hoyas improved to 4-4. Ryan Mutombo set career highs in points (15) and rebounds (11), and Aminu Mohammed added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the rout.
The performance came just three days after Rice went 0 for 8 from long range in a loss to South Carolina.
“I knew I had to have a bounce-back game coming off South Carolina,” Rice said. “I knew I’m better than that. I just had to keep shooting. I have the ‘next-shot-go-in’ mentality, so I just had to keep going. My teammates did a good job of finding me, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Wednesday’s win showed that Ewing’s gumbo may be cooking again. While the unreal night from Rice may have been the headline story, it appears that the pieces may finally be coming together for this Georgetown team. Ewing was pleased to note in the press conference that their 22 team assists was the highest of the season, but he may not even have realized that Georgetown has not put up that many assists since the win against SMU back in 2019.
Despite the win, the Hoyas will have an even larger task ahead of them on Saturday that needs no introduction. Rice commented on this win and what it means in advance of the duel with Boeheim and the Orange: “I think this definitely gives us some momentum—we were looking for this kind of big blowout win to carry us into Syracuse… I think we found our identity scoring.”
“I love these guys. Like I said earlier, they do a really good job of finding me. Our two point guards had 13 assists combined together. When that happens, my job is easy - all I have to do is knock it down.” - Kaiden Rice on the night (34 points, 11-14 FG, 10-12 3FG) ...
“I always say it’s easier to shoot the ball when the first couple go in. Getting those first three baskets to fall - that gave me a lot of confidence … my teammates were giving me some great passes today.” - Ryan Mutombo on his offense ...
Kaiden Rice broke the previous record (7), originally set by Mark Tillmon on Feb. 13, 1990 against Providence and fell one shy of tying the BIG EAST record with his 10 triples. His 34-point performance snapped his previous best of 30 against Eastern Tennessee State on Dec. 4, 2019. Rice shot 11-for-14 from the field and put forth a 10-for-12 performance from behind the arc. The graduate student added three rebounds and a trio of assists in his 30 minutes of action.
Ryan Mutombo registered his first career double-double with 15 points on seven made field goals and 11 rebounds.
Aminu Mohammed registered his third double-double of the season, posting 13 points (5-10 FG) while pulling down 10 boards.
I asked Coach Ewing about Aminu Mohammed.— Patrick Waring (@WaringPatrick) December 9, 2021
After being named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, he came right back with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and a huge block.
“He’s special.” #Hoyas pic.twitter.com/7X6UdRgTnl
Syracuse’s offense may not need to play the perfect game it needed to play to compete with No. 6 Villanova. Georgetown’s adjusted defensive efficiency is ranked 133rd in the nation, according to KenPom. The Hoyas are not good at defending the 2 or the 3, ranking outside the top 180 in both categories.
The Orange shouldn’t have any problems scoring on Georgetown defense as Syracuse ranks in the top 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency. However, SU needs to be wary of giving up too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points that could allow Georgetown to stay in the game.
Aminu Mohammed currently leads the Hoyas with 14.3 points per game. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound freshman was the 2021 Missouri Gatorade Player of the year and selected to the McDonald’s All-American game. The former five-star recruit was ranked as the fourth-best shooting guard in his class. So far, Mohammed has started every game this season and is capable of putting up a double-double on any night, with two already this season.
Syracuse has been hot and cold to start the season, which seems to be a trend lately. They have some respectable wins and some questionable losses. Per KenPom, their adjusted offense ranks 23rd in the country, but you’d never know it if you just watched the Villanova game. The Orange scored just 53 points in the loss.
The team is heavily reliant upon their starters, and in particular, Buddy Boeheim (17.7 ppg, 25.8% from three) to create some magic on the offensive end. In fact, in their five wins, Buddy Boeheim has an average offense rating (per KenPom) of 113, to just 90.5 in their four losses. He has had some help along the way as all 5 starters are currently averaging double-digit scoring, but the bench help has been limiting.
On the defensive end, the zone does not appear to be what it once was. Yes, it forces teams into a lot of threes (I’m looking at you Villanova), but if teams can work the ball inside against the zone they can break down the defense. The zone also presents the opportunity for offensive rebounds and second chance points, can the Hoyas take advantage?
Similar to Syracuse, Georgetown has some puzzling losses early this season.
FINAL: #6 Villanova pulls away in the final 10 minutes to knock off Syracuse 67-53. The Orange drops to 5-4 on the season. Next up is a game at Georgetown on Saturday. https://t.co/61nZIcEo5S pic.twitter.com/vEdGBI7dsZ— Mike McAllister (@McAllisterMike1) December 8, 2021
While any preview of Syracuse usually starts with its defense, this year it starts with its offense. The Orange are presently ranked 18th in AdjO and space the floor with a trio of strong shooters: Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard and yes, Cole Swider. Cole Swider is already seeing nearly 33 minutes a game and averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds. However, although he is a gifted shooter, Swider is thus far struggling from behind the arc - shooting at just a 28% clip.
The Boeheim(s) (x2), Girard, and Swider trio combine for nearly 20 three-point attempts a game and the starters are all averaging double digits. ‘Cuse’s offense is a balanced attack - anyone on the floor can and will make the outside shot if it’s there. Additionally, the Orange take care of the ball and are a very strong free throw shooting team.
On defense, the zone is still there but it’s not even close to as there as it has been in the past. The defense ranks #168 and sub-200 in nearly every defensive metric. The losses of Kadary Richmond and Alan Griffin - two rangy guards - have been felt heavily on the perimeter. There is a lack of quickness on the perimeter that should allow Villanova to generate some open shots. The only thing the Orange do well on defense - at this point - is pick-up turnovers as teams try to navigate the zone. ‘Cuse has shuffled between two zones this year (a 2-3 and a 1-1-3) and Villanova should (and likely will) be prepared to see both.
The Hoyas have suffered four losses this season at the hands of Dartmouth, San Diego State, Saint Joseph’s and South Carolina — three of those weren’t close games. Neither Georgetown’s overall offense nor its defense has statistically stood out. The Hoyas do rank 75th in the nation in 3-point percentage, but Syracuse has shown it’s capable and has all the pieces to beat teams better than its former Big East rival. Playing this game on the road certainly doesn’t help the Orange, but they’ve proven they can take care of business away from the Carrier Dome with their Atlantic Coast Conference-opening win over Florida State.
This win at Georgetown should get Syracuse into a rhythm, and with favorable matchups for the rest of December and even into early January, it could be a while before the Orange lose again — assuming they play the way they’ve shown they can in D.C. on Saturday.