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GAME GRADES: Georgetown Scrapes by La Salle in Last Jamaica Test

Missing work in the back half leads to an almost failure

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 12 Green Bay at Georgetown

#5 - Hoyas vs. La Salle - 11/20/22
Winning is decidedly better than losing. But how do we really feel after the Hoyas escape Jamaica with a 1-1 record after holding on against La Salle? And I mean, they did just hold on. The Georgetown Hoyas came out with the energy and focus you’d expect after getting absolutely embarrassed in the first game against a Loyola Marymount team that ended up winning the “tournament.”

Georgetown led by 20 at the half. They looked better. They then dropped another dud in the second half, allowing La Salle to come all the way back to tie the game at 62 with just over two minutes left. Georgetown scored 7 unanswered to end it, but at least some of the goodwill that was earned in the first half was given right back after allowing yet another mediocre team to come back from a significant margin.

Accountability Check: I thought this one would be a close Hoyas win, 77 - 74 and that we’d be confused about where this team stands coming back from Jamaica. I’ll take credit for the second half of that. Does anyone really know how to feel about this team? There’s talent, sure. But where that talent lands them on any given night is a total crapshoot. We seem to have a team that could realistically go winless in the Big East again or get some things together and improve for around .500. That’s a weird place to be.

And this was a weird game! Let’s get into it.

Primo Spears - D
2 PTS, 0-7 (0%), 0-0 3PT (0%), 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 35 Min
Off night for Primo. Really off. Just tough shooting. Beyond that, though, his final offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions) was ugly, 29. His defensive rating was also the second worst among starters. This is one just to throw away. I have concerns that his ball dominance and shoot-first mentality were leading up to a game like this, but hopefully, it’s a one-off. There was nothing positive to take away from his game.
HOMEWORK: Throw this one out.

Jay Heath - C
9 PTS, 3-8 (37%), 1-3 3PT (33%), 2-4 FT, 5 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO, 34 MIN
Heath had a slightly better shooting performance than Primo but otherwise looked very similar and had another game to just throw away. I think he could have played less than 34 minutes for sure. He finished with an aggressively fine offensive rating (81) and defensive rating (89). He also finished a -5 for the game. That’s also quite bad.
HOMEWORK: Throw this one out.

Brandon Murray - B
16 PTS, 7-13 (53%), 0-0 3PT (0%), 2-2 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 24 Min
Murray was pretty good. He finished a +23 with an offensive rating of 120 and a defensive rating of 82. When he was on the floor, Georgetown was very good. If he doesn’t foul out in this one, Georgetown has a better second half. I don’t think he got a good whistle, but you’d like to see him manage that better.
HOMEWORK: Stay on the court.

Akok Akok - B
4 PTS, 2-3 (66%), 0-1 3PT (0%), 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 3 BLK, 0 TO, 35 Min
A total defensive performance for Akok. He bounced back nicely after a really bad game against Loyola Marymount. He’s a joy to watch on defense and is so good at just absolutely erasing defensive mistakes. Despite scoring only 4 points, he was back to his normal self on that end, finishing with a 164 offensive rating. I wonder how much of his effort on defense is responsible for his lack of production on offense. He is holding this team together defensively. I’d love to see some more balance there because I think he is a key offensive contributor for this team, even though he doesn’t get his number called much (which I would change)
HOMEWORK: Welcome back.

Qudus Wahab - B+
23 PTS, 8-15 (57%), 0-1 3PT (0%), 7-8 FT, 7 REB, 2 BLK, 3 TO, 23 Min
Q’s first really good offensive game. He took advantage of a significant mismatch inside with La Salle. He was feeling it so much he even took a three! Not interested in seeing that again. I am giving him a B+ because his scoring is basically why they won this game, but outside of his points, I didn’t really like his impact on the game on the offensive end. His only real barometer for whether he had a good night is, did he score? Until the La Salle game, the answer to that was largely no. Thus, he did not play that well. Against La Salle, he did, so good night? I am not sure. I think you’d like him to do more to contribute to the offense. The ball stops when they are looking to get Q his touches. It probably contributes to some of the standing around and lack of ball movement, even when Q is not in the game. He is still a plus defensively, primarily for his rebounding. I’d like to see him attack the offensive glass a bit more (see more on this in the offense section below).
HOMEWORK: Figure out a way to contribute on offense beyond just scoring.

Bryson Mozone - D
3 PTS, 1-5 (20%), 1-4 3PT (25%), 1 REB, 0 TO, 14 Min
I don’t think we’ve seen it yet from Bryson. And he did not play well in this one again. He needed a bounceback game after a really poor effort against Loyola. It did not come in this one. He is not making shots right now. He’s not taking particularly good shots. He’s not able to move the ball effectively (way too many sloppy passes for near turnovers). He’s not able to stay in front of his man defensively, and he’s not rebounding. Until at least 2 of those change, I don’t think he needs to be playing much, if at all. This was just a bad trip for him, and hopefully, he will find his footing moving forward, but right now, there’s no real reason to play him over a guy like Bass or Ezewiro or Anglin.
HOMEWORK: Reset. Everything.

Jordan Riley - B-
7 PTS, 2-5 (40%), 0-1 3PT (0%), 3-3 FT, 4 REB, 1 STL, 3 TO, 17 Min
Tale of two halves for Jordan. He was good in the first half doing many of the active things we’ve seen from him. In the second, he, along with many others, was bad. He helped fuel La Salle’s comeback with a couple of sloppy turnovers. His minutes are going up, which is good! I just think he lost some focus in the second half. He’s played well so far this year. I am not going to hold this one against him too much.
HOMEWORK: Bounceback.

Ryan Mutombo - B
2 PTS, 1-2 (50%), 3 REB, 0 TO, 7 MIN
Right now, it seems Ewing favors Ryan over Brad as the backup big. That seems exactly the opposite of everything we heard leading up to the season, but it’s hard to know how much of this is where Brad is coming after missing the first two games (and I would assume some practice time, but who knows). Ryan was solid again in limited minutes. He does a nice job of spelling Q. He’s more noticeable on the offensive boards to me, and I think that’s a feature Georgetown probably needs more of.
HOMEWORK: Keep working.

Denver Anglin - A+
3 PTS, 1-2 (50%), 1-2 3PT (50%), 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 TO, 5 MIN
This was frustrating. After comments from Ewing following the Loyola Marymount debacle that he might need to give his starters more rest, you’d expect Denver to get some run. And he did! He was tapped in the first half and played…really well! And then, nothing in the second half. Did he get in at all in the second? If he did, it was very briefly. Look, he played 5 minutes, so this is all very limited. But here was his impact: 170 offensive rating (great! And reflective of hitting a three and getting an assist in only 5 minutes). 90 defensive rating (average for this team). 22.6 Box Plus/Minus (a box score estimate of points per 100 possessions a player contributes to). That was the highest on the team. The next highest were Q - 120 and Brandon - 10.9. All of that aside. This team cannot shoot from distance. It’s becoming a real problem. Denver most definitely can. He should be getting more minutes.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - INC
0 PTS, 2 REB, 4 MIN
Nothing really from Wayne in this one. It seems like Ewing really doesn’t know how to use him. He either needs to be integrated better, or his minutes should go elsewhere.

Offense - D+/C-
I have been fairly critical of the offense so far this year. And there was nothing in this one that made me feel better. The difference in this one really could be summed up by Q scored. They were a little better in the first half, though they just looked a little sharper than the previous game against Loyola. There wasn’t much else that changed in terms of approach or scheme. We’ve talked about their defensive struggles in giving up threes. They sort of have the exact opposite problem on offense. Through 5 games, they are one of the worst teams in the country in generating threes. Their 3PA/FGA is 26.8, about 10 percentage points lower than the D-1 average. In general, that’s on par with Ewing’s offenses - they’ve finished ranked 200 or lower in CBK (of 353 teams) in all but one of Ewing’s seasons. Part of that is a lack of shooters consistently. This team has shooters. At least on paper. Brandon, Akok, Jay and Bryson are all decent–good shooters for college. Denver Anglin was the best shooting prospect in high school basketball. You must figure out a way to get more than 12 threes. At least right now, that’s a scheme issue primarily. They don’t seem to run much to get guys open behind the ark. Despite having fine shooters, I don’t think any of their guys are catch-and-shoot threats. That takes away some of what you can do on offense, but there are ways to get around that. One area that I think they could absolutely focus on to get more threes up is off of offensive rebounds. Their offensive rebound percentage is about average for D-1. In their wins this year, they have grabbed double-digit offensive boards. In their losses and this game against La Salle, they have grabbed less than 10. A great way to generate open threes is off of an offensive board. And the way that Georgetown plays, with at least one big down low (typically 2 in the post), you should be able to generate more offensive boards.
HOMEWORK: Drill offensive boards to kick out threes.

Defense - C-
The defense was pretty good in the first half. And then really bad in the second. One way to look at the outcome in this game is that shooting variance saved Georgetown. La Salle shot 20% from three on 25 attempts. That’s about what they average in attempts, but they typically shoot around 33%. Georgetown probably doesn’t win this game if they get closer to that. I don’t think we’ve learned much about the defense from this trip. I think I can argue that the bigger issue is the offensive end, which may actually be a bit of revelation in and of itself. The pieces seem to be there on defense, at least to not be historically bad. I don’t like the scheme - they need to stop pressing - but I have more faith that the defense, in a vacuum, can be at least average. I think many of the defense issues actually stem from the offensive end, and that’s where I am more concerned.
HOMEWORK: Keep working at it.

Next Up
Georgetown has a couple of 300+ ranked warmups before their toughest non-conference test against Texas Tech. Georgetown needs to handle their business against American and UMBC. Will we see different rotations, more minutes for Anglin and Bass?

I think Georgetown should blow out American in their next one. I have this 75 - 60.