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LINKS: Hoyas Fall to Northwestern in Quasi-Familiar Fashion

Add rebounding to the issues list of perimeter defense, ball movement

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 15 Northwestern at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last night, the Georgetown Hoyas lost to the Northwestern Wildcats as part of the Gavitt Tip-off Games, in a matchup that included a series of plays that quickly went viral—not for a good reason. The first half played out fine for Georgetown, sans those rapid-turnover plays, but the second half featured the Hoyas shooting only 10-28 from the field and 3-10 from the arc, while Northwestern went from 10-35 (28.6%) FGs and 6-18 (33.3%) 3PT in the first to 17-32 (53.1%) from the field and 8-15 (53.3%) from three in the second.

If someone would have told me ahead of tip-off that Georgetown would win the turnover battle 15-13 and lose the game, I would have been a bit surprised. Then again, if someone would have told me that Northwestern would win the rebounding battle 48-31, I would have said you’re talking about the wrong game. Northwestern scoring 20 second chance points against a Georgetown team is flabbergasting. When they weren’t getting offensive rebounds, they were milking the clock and capitalizing.

The perimeter woes are old news. The bigger question is whether the rebounding is a hiccup due to new rotations or a new hallmark of suffering for fans.

New patterns are emerging to those who have tuned in to the three games thus far. The pros are that the you get to watch Primo Spears and Brandon Murray in the backcourt and Akok Akok in the frontcourt, while Jay Heath looks to be as good as billed, if not better.

The cons of watching Georgetown basketball right now are that opponents are content to play on the perimeter and not challenge the middle, Ewing’s current plays encourage over-dribbling and related issues such as turnovers and stagnation, and the defensive decisions on whether to switch, hedge, or trap on screens looks far from fluid. It’s maddening to watch, but at the same time, this is—dare I say it—all fixable. Maybe.

But the easiest coaching decision that fans saw last night was a pouting premier player who clearly needed a break on the bench and a pat on the ass after everyone in the crowd and at home realized it just wasn’t his night. Brandon Murray was all over Twitter at the time—Ewing should have subbed the LSU transfer out to give a jolt to his squad before Murray’s poor energy infected the Hoyas on the floor.

Here are the links (be sure to give them clicks and reads):

Georgetown can’t match Northwestern’s shooting in first loss | Washington Post

The first Northwestern three-pointer came from the left bend of the arc for the opening basket of the game. The next came from the opposite side. The Wildcats were back on the left wing when the third splashed in.

The early barrage was a sign of things to come for Georgetown. With the game nearly decided with less than two minutes remaining, Northwestern’s Chase Audige buried one more and then turned to the crowd with outstretched arms sporting a grin. Ballgame.

Georgetown suffered its first loss of the season, 75-63, at the hands of the hot-shooting Wildcats as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games on Tuesday at Capital One Arena...

“The whole thing was: Don’t you dare try to score on [Akok] Akok at the basket,” Collins said. “If you drive in there, and he’s there, you better pass that thing out. . . . So our whole thing was to try to collapse them. We knew that Akok and [Qudus] Wahab were going to be guys that were going to want to be shot blockers. And we wanted to be smart.”

Hoyas Fall to Northwestern in Gavitt Tipoff Games | GUHOYAS

“We have to do a better job of defending. I think that it wasn’t just the fact that they hit 14 threes, it’s about effort. I didn’t think that we gave enough effort to win.” - Head Coach Patrick Ewing on today’s game

“It was definitely frustrating but the coaches, my family, and God … The coaches really told me to keep my head [up]. In practice I was staying active. I was frustrated, but when Coach called me on the phone we were all just yelling and the whole team was happy. Everybody was screaming. My mom was crying. It was definitely an exciting feeling.” - Jay Heath on his waiver being approved by the NCAA

Northwestern Dominates in 2nd Half - Hand Hoyas First Loss | Road to the Garden (formerly Big East Coast Bias)

The Hoyas were better from the field than NU, but the Wildcats got up ten more shots. Second chance points for Northwestern won them the game.

Three Hoyas finished in double figures. Primo Spears led the way again for Georgetown as he has in every game so far, scoring 22 points and adding 6 assists and 3 steals with only 1 turnover.

Jay Heath made his Hoya debut and scored 13 points off the bench in 30 minutes. Akok Akok finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Brandon Murray had a night to forget for Georgetown. The LSU transfer finished with 5 points and was 1-10 from the field. His only made field goal came with under one minute to play.

Northwestern uses big second half to beat Georgetown | Washington Times (AP)

Northwestern only trailed 35-33 at halftime despite shooting just 28.6% from the field. Matthew Nicholson had nine points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats and Akok Akok scored 10 points for the Hoyas. Northwestern outscored Georgetown 27-18 over the opening 12 minutes of the second half.

Primo Spears led Georgetown (2-1) with 20 points and six assists. Jay Heath scored 13 points and Akok had 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. The Hoyas lost the rebounding battle 47-31.

Northwestern rallies past Georgetown on road | Field Level Media

Primo Spears led all scorers with 22 points, Jay Heath scored 13 points and Akok Akok had 10 points and seven rebounds in defeat for Georgetown (2-1)...

Georgetown committed 13 turnovers, but collected eight blocked shots.

The Hoyas shot 42.1 percent overall (24 of 57) and 31.8 percent (7 of 22) from 3-point range.

Big Second Half Lifts Northwestern to 75-63 win at Georgetown | NUSports

After intermission, Northwestern kept the Hoyas from increasing their lead before going on a 9-0 run, finished off by Audige’s three, to seize a 49-42 lead with 14:03 to go in the contest. The Wildcats kept expanding the margin and coasted the rest of the way for the 75-63 win. Northwestern shot well from three-point range in the half, hitting eight shots from deep to score 24 of its 42 points.

» The Northwestern bench made an impact by adding 24 points to its scoring output.

» Northwestern had a 48-31 edge on the boards in the win.

» Northwestern cleaned up on the offensive glass, collecting 20 offensive boards in the game...

» Northwestern made 14 3-pointers, its most in a game since hitting 14 against Quincy on Dec. 20, 2020.

Takeaways: Northwestern 75, Georgetown 63 | Wildcat Report

Northwestern faced their first real test of the season, as much of a stretch as it is to call Georgetown a test ...

Northwestern as a program has never been known for rebounding. On Tuesday night, though, the Cats flipped the script, out-rebounding Georgetown 47-31.

That’s a whopping +16 margin. Making that even more impressive was the fact that, arguably, the Hoyas’ biggest strength is their size. Head coach Patrick Ewing’s team starts 6-foot-11 Qudus Wahab and 6-foot-10 Akok Akok, but that didn’t faze the undersized Wildcats.

Nicholson’s nine first-half boards paced NU, while Beran and Ty Berry added seven apiece.

Georgetown falls to Northwestern: The good and the bad | Hoya Journal

Primo Spears had 22 points to continue his hot start to the season and essentially power the Hoyas’ offense. He was able to make things happen all over the court, though finishing at the rim was a bit of an issue. Coach Patrick Ewing is utilizing him as the point guard, and he seems to be able to handle the responsibility; turnovers were not an issue, and he recorded 6 assists.

But Brandon Murray—billed as the Hoyas’ best player—had a really quiet night. Murray only scored 5 points, and 3 of those came in garbage time. He was noticeably upset with his performance for much of the second half, which followed an 18-point outing vs. Coppin State and 19 points vs. Green Bay...

This game definitely would’ve been a bigger blowout if it weren’t for Akok. The Connecticut transfer swatted 3 shots, solidifying a defensive impact the Hoyas previously severely lacked. He moves pretty well on the perimeter and is a force to be reckoned with down low.

Men’s Basketball: Fueled by second half explosion, Northwestern beats Georgetown 75-63 | Daily Northwestern

“Our guards got some layups, which was big,” Collins said. “It really unlocked Audige … When you’re a good scorer, if you can get a layup and can see the ball go in (that’s huge).”

Soon after Audige’s bucket, Buie finally got on the board, scoring on a driving layup. Once the Cats’ two lead guards saw the ball go through the nylon, they were electric.

Down 42-40, Buie and Audige ignited a 13-4 run to turn the tide. Roper’s putback layup capped off a sequence that boasted a triple from Buie, followed by three consecutive buckets from Audige as Patrick Ewing called a 30-second timeout to stymie the Cats’ momentum.

“We settled in (and) slowed down a bit,” Collins said. “We got some good shots and were able to get a little distance there.”