The Hoyas are coming off a home win and taking 4 of the last 6 games since their hiatus UConn is just getting back healthy their star sophomore guard James Bouknight as they push for an NCAA tournament berth.
More than playing spoilers, Patrick Ewing and the team has said they’re looking to create momentum heading into the BIG EAST Tournament. Georgetown has three games left after this matchup, with two on the road against DePaul and UConn, and one home game against Xavier.
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SCOUTING UCONN UConn comes in with a 10-6 record and a 7-6 mark in BIG EAST play, having lost three of its past five contests. The Huskies average 70.6 ppg and lead the conference by allowing just 65.2 ppg. James Bouknight is scoring 20.1 ppg in just eight games. Tyrese Martin (12.3) and R.J. Cole (12.1) are also in double figures, while Martin is pulling down a team-best 7.6 rpg and Cole is pacing the offense with 4.1 apg.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP The two longtime rivals renew their series as UConn has rejoined the BIG EAST following a seven-year absence. The Hoyas and Huskies have met 66 times previously, with GU holding a 36-30 series advantage. Georgetown leads the all-time series 36-30, and won the most recent meeting 72-69 during the 2016-17 season. L.J. Peak scored 21 points, while Jessie Govan added 15 points and Rodney Pryor chipped in 14. This is Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s first time facing UConn after going 8-1 against the Huskies as a player, including a win in the 1985 BIG EAST Tournament.
Preview: UConn men’s basketball at Georgetown | 9 p.m. ET, FS1— The UConn Blog (@TheUConnBlog) February 23, 2021
The Huskies begin the final stretch of the regular season with the first of two matchups against the Hoyas. https://t.co/OT0l9bdkXz pic.twitter.com/9tajM4BT0v
The Huskies (10-6 overall, 7-6 BIG EAST) and Hoyas have a long history that began in 1958. Both programs were charter members of the BIG EAST Conference when it began in 1979-80 and they met 58 times as BIG EAST rivals, with Georgetown holding a 32-26 advantage. They met twice after the BIG EAST breakup and split a home-and-home series, UConn winning in January, 2016, and Georgetown getting even in January, 2017.
UConn, starting the last four games of the regular season, will be trying to bounce back from a loss at Villanova on Saturday. Leading scorer sophomore James Bouknight (20.3) is back in the fold, while juniors Tyrese Martin (12.3) and R.J. Cole (12.1) also averaging in double figures. Martin leads the team in rebounding (7.6) and Cole hands out the most assists (4.1).
College basketball picks: Illinois-Michigan State, Kansas-Texas, UConn-Georgetown, more https://t.co/EDVDWxGoNQ— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 23, 2021
The Huskies come off a loss at Villanova but remain nearly where they were going into that game — on the NCAA bubble at No. 54 in the NetRankings. Georgetown, at No. 96, presents a “Quadrant 2″ opportunity. CBSSports.com analyst Jerry Palm projects UConn as a No .9 seed, but likely assumes a win at Georgetown.
USA Today’s Scott Gleeson has UConn among its first four out of the field of 68. So this is a must-win game for UConn, which looks to get its offense more balanced and cohesive in James Bouknight’s third game back from his injury. The Hoyas had five scorers in double figures in the win over Seton Hall, led by Jamorko Pickett with 20 points. They’ll present a number of weapons for UConn to guard.
But don’t let the Hoyas’ low NET ranking or record (7-10, 5-7 Big East) fool you. The Hoyas are coming off a home win over Seton Hall that did plenty of damage to the Pirates’ NCAA Tournament hopes. In fact, Georgetown has won four of its last six games, including a road win at 13th-ranked Creighton on Feb. 3.
Georgetown has been competitive in most of its games this season, including a 10-point loss a couple of weeks ago to No. 8 Villanova. The Wildcats dispatched UConn 68-60 on Saturday afternoon.
“They’ve found themselves,” Hurley said of the Hoyas. “And they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. It’s a much different team that ... struggled early in conference play. It’s a really good team, good size, and they understand their roles.”
Georgetown will host UConn tonight. They are familiar with R.J. Cole.— Patrick Waring (@WaringPatrick) February 23, 2021
The transfer from Howard University has faced the Hoyas twice in the past.
Dec. 7, 2017 - 17 pts, 8 assists
Dec. 29, 2018 - 28 pts, 6 assists
The Hoyas won both games against the Bison. #Hoyas
BOTTOM LINE: Two senior guards will be on display as R.J. Cole and UConn will battle Jahvon Blair and Georgetown. Cole is averaging 14.6 points over the last five games. Blair has scored 22 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 13.6 over his last five games.
SUPER SENIORS: Georgetown has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Blair, Jamorko Pickett, Qudus Wahab, Chudier Bile and Donald Carey have collectively accounted for 81 percent of the team’s scoring this season and 83 percent of all Hoyas points over the last five games.
Connecticut has little room for error in its quest for NCAA Tournament consideration. But amid a 3-5 stretch that followed its 7-1 start, the Huskies on Tuesday will face an improved Georgetown squad that will make it tough for Dan Hurley’s group to add to their tournament resume. Looking to avoid a fourth road loss in five games, UConn eyes its first away win over the Hoyas since 2005 in the Big East contest at Washington, D.C.
UConn (10-6, 7-6 in Big East) is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. After beating Xavier and Providence by a combined 20 points, the Huskies fell 68-60 at then-No. 10 Villanova on Saturday. Star James Bouknight (20.1 points per game) had 21 points with 10 rebounds for UConn, which hung with the Wildcats for the first 30 minutes before making just one field goal over a 6:30 stretch that ultimately doomed its fate.
In only his second game in 45 days, Bouknight played more minutes (36) than any of his teammates. It might not have been a bad idea to get him out for a few minutes here or there. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds, though the scoring was front-loaded with 14 in the first 12 minutes. He tried the carry his team on his back in the second half, something he’s done before, but not against an opponent of the Wildcats’ caliber, and not when he’s working his way back from an injury. Bouknight needs to get his legs under him, his teammates have to contribute more, and he has to find them when the defense loads up on him.
“We’ve got to get James’ conditioning and his cardio back to an elite level,” Hurley said. “And then we’ve got to put that chemistry together with the group, quickly, after missing him for six weeks. When you play a team of that caliber, that was a tough ask, for James to put together a virtuoso performance.”
“When you have the surgery, it’s a chainsaw to the ribs that’s cutting through the whole nervous system,” Green said. “After all the nervous shock to your whole body, then you have to train your lungs again. You have to learn to do everything. It’s basically starting from scratch.
“Training your lungs to take one deep breath — not two, one powerful deep breath — was the hardest thing ever. That’s why I tell people it’s like being a baby. Taking that first breath is probably the most difficult thing ever.” Thanks to Don Weber for finding this article.