Your Georgetown Hoyas will face the Seton Hall Pirates for the third time this strange season, with the third meeting at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament at 6PM on FS1.
In the first meeting in late December, up in Newark, the Hoyas were boat-raced in the first half 19-33, ultimately losing 68-78. Poor perimeter defense was a troublesome theme. In the second meeting, almost two months later, Georgetown put up 81 points, beating the Pirates by 6.
Dante Harris clearly stepped up yesterday, especially down the stretch. The question is whether Georgetown gets similar production out of him or if someone, like Chudier Bile, gets going offensively. Bile has been hustling, but Villanova’s physical treatment took him out and triggered a reaction earning a costly technical foul. Jamorko Pickett, likewise, has been a beast on the boards this week, but Patrick Ewing could use another 20-point effort against the Pirates tonight.
Of course, consistency in team defense is the biggest driver of recent success for the Hoyas, and Georgetown needs to set the tone early again, especially with regards to Sandro Mamukelashvili and his help on the perimeter.
Here are the links:
1. Defend the perimeter Georgetown is an outstanding 3-point shooting team. The Hoyas made 17 of 33 from deep in two games against the Hall and 9 of 22 in Thursday’s upset of Villanova. The Pirates have defended the arc poorly this season but did a good job against St. John’s Thursday. Throughout his career, this has been Kevin Willard’s specialty. The outcome probably hinges on it.
2. Maximize Ike Obiagu The 7-footer averaged 7.5 points and 7.0 blocks in two meetings with the Hoyas, he was brilliant against St. John’s, and his presence makes star forward Sandro Mamukelashvili’s life much easier. This is a strong matchup for Obiagu. Foul situation willing, if Willard can squeeze 25-plus minutes out of him, that tilts the table in the Hall’s favor.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Pirates held down the flaky Red Storm shooters, came up with a ton of blocks, and the D went against type and managed to slow down things from the outside. Georgetown might be playing well lately, but it turns the ball over a ton – 32 times in the two meetings with the Pirates – and the defense doesn’t do enough to screw teams up.
What’s Going To Happen... Seton Hall lost four straight before getting by St. John’s and into another step forward, and Georgetown is playing its best ball of the season over the last month. The Hoyas aren’t consistent, but the defense is playing well enough and there seems to be more confidence – they didn’t buckle down the stretch against Villanova
Two quarterfinals in the books - let's recap the wins from @GeorgetownHoops and @SetonHallMBB on #BEShootaround!@John_Fanta is live from @TheGarden with highlights and reactions from the Pirates and Hoyas. https://t.co/iBv2afB7Vz— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) March 11, 2021
Senior guard Myles Cale helped Seton Hall push past the Red Storm with 16 points and eight rebounds while junior Ike Obiagu finished with seven blocks. Obiagu’s seven blocks and Rhoden’s 16 rebounds each tied a team record in the BIG EAST Tournament.
The Pirates outrebounded the Red Storm 49-40 and added 18 second-chance points off of 12 offensive rebounds. Over the last 12:44, the Pirates did not commit a single turnover after committing 15 before that point. The Pirates are now 15-7 at Madison Square Garden since the 2013-14 season, 7-3 since 2017-18.
The defensive intensity for Georgetown has been noticeably turned up a notch as of late. They’ve allowed 68.8 points per game through their last five games, including a pretty fine job locking down a solid Villanova offense on Thursday. They were without an important guard in that game, but Seton Hall doesn’t pose a big offensive threat. Seton Hall is 173rd in the NCAA with 71.6 points scored per game, and 66.6 points per game in their last five contests.
Before beating St. John’s in the Big East Tournament, Seton Hall was all out of sorts with four straight losses to end the regular season, including a 81-75 loss against the Hoyas on February 20 as 4.5-point favorites. This time of the year is all about momentum at the right moment. Georgetown fits into that category. As small underdogs, it’s hard to ignore the points on the Hoyas.
Suddenly, despite the slow-motion meltdown over the past few weeks, the Pirates find themselves favored in the Big East semis. Georgetown (11-12) upended the backet by knocking off wounded Villanova. But the Hoyas will be playing their third game in three nights. These teams split their regular-season meetings.
The Pirates prevailed 78-67 in December and lost 81-75 in D.C. Feb. 20. The difference? The Hoyas shot the lights out the second time, hitting 10 of 16 3-pointers. It’s a good matchup for the Pirates as long as they defend the perimeter, which they did exceptionally well against the Johnnies. A win won’t lock up a spot in the Big Dance for the Hall, but it would put them back in the discussion.
Pace could be important at Georgetown will look to run while the Pirates look to make this a half court battle. Key matchup: Pickett vs. Rhoden. Each side has a “Swiss army knife” with these talented and crafty forwards. It might be a matter of which of these two under the radar weapons has more impact on the game that decides which team continues it quest for the conference tournament title.