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Syracuse v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

GAME GRADES: Fruit Juiced!

Hoyas put the squeeze on Cuse

Cuse has officially been juiced! The Orange looked like a stale, withered piece of fruit against your Hoyas, led by OUR 5-Star Freshman. Aminu was fantastic, but so were a lot of the Hoyas, really. This was a fun one, and I think a game we all — including the team — deserved.

Not a lot of comments from the UMBC post so I will forgo the re-grade comment for this one. Hopefully we’ll have some good ones to share for the next one after the Howard-Georgetown DC battle on Wednesday.

Dante Harris: A- | 7 PTS, 2-6 (33%), 1-2 3PT (50%), 2-4 FT, 7 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO

Sloppy ball handling early, started to find his way against the zone a bit at the end of the first - he had a nice dump off to Ryan followed by a nice layup. Had a really nice move into the lane early in the second that led to a wide open three from the top of the key for Aminu. Great read, good timing and really good pass that came right before he injured his right leg. Looked like an ankle rolled, but it was a weird play that really didn’t look good. When he came back in later in the second I thought he brought better poise and was really good. He played off of Tyler really well and had a couple of really nice passes to set up Collin. Those should not be overlooked - they were really tough passes from the perimeter down to the baseline, cutting through the zone, that were really good reads.

Don Carey: A- | 18 PTS, 4-7 (57%), 4-7 3PT (57%), 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 TO

Thought Don looked a bit more in control to start this game. I think seeing the zone actually allowed him to slow down a bit on the offensive end. After getting fouled on a three attempt in the first half he hit all three free throws. And the momentum of this one really seemed to change on the and-one three he hit midway through the second. That was a tough shot that they needed and he delivered. He had a really bad turnover trying to bring the ball up court late in the first half that felt like a killer, but it was his only one of this game which is huge. He’s struggled taking care of the ball as of late and I thought aside from that play he was really solid. He also stepped up and hit two clutch free throws that all-but iced this one.

Aminu Mohammed: A+

23 PTS, 7-14 (50%), 1-1 3PT (100%), 8-9 FT, 13 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO

I mean, what can you say about this? He’s an absolute monster on the boards, he’s a goliath on defense, and he absolutely took over this game in the second half. He had 5 points and 7 boards in the first. And well, you see where he finished. Interesting that to start the second they were rotating Kaiden and Don at the free throw line in the middle of the zone with Aminu working the baseline. At about 15 minutes to go in the second, the adjustment was made to shift Aminu to the middle and he just absolutely shredded he zone.. He scored on two possessions in a row and got fouled on the third and knocked down both free throws. Frankly, I think he could have had a few more assists in this one as well. Not sure he would have gotten to a triple double but I counted at least 3 would-be assists where he got the ball to wide open shooters who just missed - it happens. He did have the biggest assist of the game on Kaiden’s go-ahead three at 1:08 left in the game. All created by his dominance earlier, he drew a soft double and just waited for Kaiden to shift to an open area and calmly shoveled it off to him. He was the best player on the floor and it wasn’t close. He changed the game on both ends and didn’t just win it individually. He made his teammates better in the process. Without his rebounding, particularly late in this game, I don’t think the Hoyas win. He may be the best rebounding “guard” Gtown has had. And lets not overlook the 8-9 from the free throw line. If there’s been a consistent knock on him it’s probably his free throw shooting and he was absolutely nails, including the two final free throws that iced this one with 9 seconds left. He showed he’s a big game player. He’s a stud. He’s an absolute star. He’s a Hoya.

Kaiden Rice: B+ | 15 PTS, 5-15 (33%), 5-15 3PT (33%), 1 REB, 1 TO

Missed his first two threes. One was forced the other came off the miss and was a better look but probably could have been more patient. Came back with two really nice makes from opposite corners. Really well-orchestrated offense on two back-to-back possessions to get Kaiden wide-open looks against the zone. Then he went cold. I think he forced some shots, particularly late in the first half. The 0-9 stretch from three in the middle of this game was rough and there are a couple of those that I think he could have held, but I don’t have too many gripes. They needed his shooting to stretch the zone and he made some big shots, none bigger than the three late in the second that gave Georgetown their final lead. That was a big, clutch shot. It came off of good movement and Aminu’s dominance but they needed him to knock it down, and he did. I also noticed a couple of better-looking closeouts on shooters from him. Might just be wishful thinking but looked more controlled on a couple and seemed to be cognizant about chopping his steps to avoid getting blown by.

Malcolm Wilson: B | 2 PTS, 1-1 (100%), 3 REB, 1 STL,

Really strong finish for the Hoya’s first bucket. Dunked through a Syracuse big. Really nice to see that from Malcolm. He dove on the floor to get a tie-up shortly after. He seems to be trying to bring more energy and is playing hard and that’s really all you can ask of him I think. I really liked the energy he is playing with and he continues to get more comfortable. He had some trouble early in the second holding on to the ball in traffic, Ewing went to small ball for awhile after that which really helped them but came back to Malcolm midway through the second. I didn’t really have a problem with that rotation to give guys a breather.

Collin Holloway: A- | 10 PTS, 5-7 (71%), 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 2 TO

Nice finish for his first two when Gtown needed a bucket. Worked well from the middle of the zone in the second, starting with a nice take and finish with the left. He’s going to struggle some against size, but he has a really nice feel for his own game. He’s going to shoot a really high percentage just because he takes shots that he knows he can make and he finishes well in traffic. He took a really big charge during the Aminu run in the second half that helped Georgetown maintain the momentum - Aminu tied the game with two free throws on the next play. He and Aminu really looked good together in the second. When they made the shift to Aminu in the middle and Collin on the baseline, everything seemed to start clicking. I was surprised he only finished with 1 rebound as he was active on the boards. The Hoyas outrebounded Syracuse 32-28 and when they went small, Collin had to do a lot of work boxing out down low. I think he created a lot of easier rebounds for his teammates with some really good positioning.

Jalin Billingsley: PASS | 0 PTS, 0-1 (0%)

This wasn’t his game. Others will be. On to the next.

Jordan Riley: PASS | 0 PTS, 1 TO

Also not his game, which is OK! He was subbed in on a baseline out of bounds and he was calling for a lob on the inbound. Not sure it was open but that would’ve been something. I’ll give him an A for that call.

Ryan Mutombo: PASS | 4 PTS, 1-2 (50%), 2-2 FT, 1 REB

Ewing needed to go small, but Ryan gave them some good minutes when he was in. Got beat on a drop step on his first defensive series. Got taken advantage of a few times on that end. Combination of bad positioning and slow reactions. Glad all of the freshman got to experience this one and I hope he, and they, all remember how good it feels to juice ‘cuse.

Tyler Beard: A- | 0 PTS, 0-2 (0%), 0-1 3PT (0%), 2 REB, 4 AST, 1 TO

In the first half he was a non-factor. He had his first shot blocked - an elbow jumper that didn’t look great. He came in for Dante in the second half and was absolutely awesome. He gave this team exactly what they needed - he was moving the ball with purpose on the perimeter and saw the gaps in the zone really well. The best evidence of this was probably on the Don 3+1 in the second. It’s a play you don’t really notice because it looks pretty basic and is overshadowed by the shot from Don, but it starts with Don moving the ball to Tyler at the top of the key, who knows exactly what he needs to do before he gets the ball - he’s trying to move the zone left to right - and zips a pass over to Dante (who’s back in at this point). The pass creates a lane for Dante to penetrate and kick it back out to Don who knocks down the three and with the defense on skates, gets fouled on a sloppy closeout and completes the 4pt play. The stat line is almost meaningless. Though I encourage you to go look at the bouncepass he made diagonally through the zone to Collin at 9:30 left in the 2nd. that was something. Gtown needed what Tyler brought on the offensive end. And he was really, really good during the same stretch defensively guarding one of the Boeheim twins. He forced a lot of tough shots by just staying in front. Kudos to him for knowing exactly what he needed to do and credit to Ewing for recognizing what Beard was bringing and sticking with him.

Offense: A

The second half offense was exceptional. It was just really good.Through the under 16 timeout in the second half they had 0 fastbreak points and were shooting 39% from the field. They finished shooting 45% and more importantly had 20 assists (again) on 25 made buckets. I think part of the reason we’ve seen Gtown show well offensively against Syracuse in the past is the zone just forces them to be a bit more methodical and patient on offense. It forces them to move the ball and be thoughtful in their positioning and sets. In any case, an assist rate (assists per made field goals) of 80% is excellent. That’s a reflection of great preparation, good execution and good shot making. For reference, the Hoyas average an assist rate of 52.5% which is slightly above the D-1 average of 51%. In the second, they forced Syracuse to adjust their zone defense a couple of times from 2-3 to a 1-3-1 sort of thing to a weird 3-2/4-1 thing. All of those adjustments were forced by Gtown moving the ball with purpose and exploiting the open areas of the zone. It was really a masterclass and showed why the all-zone gimmick is stupid and dumb and of course Syracuse runs it and oh does it feel nice to carve it up. Georgetown’s offense even got some national attention for how effectively they juiced ‘Cuse.

Defense: B

I thought the defense looked pretty good to start. When the bench (read: freshman) came in, things started to fall apart a bit and that led to the Syracuse lead at the end of the first. It was a combination of individual mistakes and not getting back in transition. Georgetown struggled. Georgetown really ratcheted up the defensive intensity in the second half, specifically during the Aminu run. I thought Collin and Tyler in particular were really solid. Down two, Collin took the charge which was preceded by Aminu tying the game at 51. The next possession they forced Syracuse into a shot clock violation based entirely on Collin and Tyler staying in front of their guys and not letting them get into the set they wanted. They gave up a couple of threes off of offensive rebounds that you’d like them to be more attentive to, but I thought they actually did a decent job contesting on the perimeter and were overall just sharper in their perimeter D.

Coaching: A

I thought it was great. I thought they were prepared. I thought they made good in game adjustments. I thought their rotations were right. There are things you can nitpick probably, but I thought everyone was locked in, including the coaches. The second half adjustments were crucial. They came out exploiting the middle of the zone really consciously and creatively. You might say that Ewing’s hand was forced when Dante went down, but he stuck with Tyler, even with Dante back in and I thought that was absolutely the right call. He needed to go small and he did. All around, really well done. One small note: Crouch at one point was really engaged with Kaiden. Not sure what about, but Kaiden was really listening which is always nice to see, but also thought it was somewhat notable in that Crouch has seemed to be primarily focused on guards. That was probably never the case but these are the fun things we get to call out when we win!

Fans: A+

Alonzo, Dikembe, others (I think?) the place was rocking. Big props to the students for coming out during finals, after also presumably going down to Carey, NC the night before for the Men’s soccer team (probably not even enough time to sober up). They brought energy. Seeing Dikembe hype up the crowd will never get old.

MOVING BACKWARDS: Hoyas Crushed by Villanova, 75-47

GAME THREAD: Georgetown at Villanova

LINKS: Depressing DePaul Gets Too Close; Hoyas Hope to Humble Villanova