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LINKS: Hoyas Head Home to Host American on Wednesday Morning

Can Georgetown put together two halves of basketball?

American v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Many fans of the Georgetown Hoyas projected a 1-1 finish at the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic this year, but losing to eventual event champion Loyola Marymount was not likely on many cards. Next, Patrick Ewing’s squad has to prepare for a Wednesday morning (11:30 AM, FS2) tip against American University, a noon game against UMBC (FS2), and a trip to Lubbock, Texas for the Big 12-BIG EAST Battle against Texas Tech next Wednesday (ESPN+).

With Georgetown losing another Jamaican Classic game to the same program four years earlier, and an abysmal second half against the La Salle Explorers, where the Hoyas almost coughed up a sure-fire victory, Ewing finds his team in familiar territory.

While many fans have undoubtedly thrown their hands up, Ewing likely sees plenty of opportunity to grow, gel, and improve ahead of BIG EAST play. Here are three areas Ewing has to improve, quickly, for this team to get to respectability.

1. Keep Players Fresher
Whether it’s lazy second-half defense, jump shots coming up short, or poor movement without the ball, fresher legs can go a long way. In fact, it might be easier to list aspects of the game that are not directly tied to players tiring out: communication (maybe). By rotating more players in, the Hoyas can likely sustain their more-successful pressure defense for longer, get back in transition quicker, and rebound better. There’s also the bonus of getting players more experience. The downside is that your most-talented group plays less together and chemistry may not develop, but at this point something has to give.

Fans would likely rather be up three at half to American after seeing nice minutes from Jordan Riley, Ryan Mutombo, and Denver Anglin than to lead by 10 with Primo Spears, Brandon Murray, and Qudus Wahab in foul trouble and/or ready to shoot one-for-thirteen in the back half. Ewing even said this ahead of the La Salle game.

2. Set Up More Three Point Shots
Through five games, Georgetown is ranked 279th in three-point attempts (82) and 340th in three-point attempts per game (16.4) making 5.6 of them (34.1%). The Hoyas need to shoot more three pointers. Trading two points for opponent threes does not have mathematical viability.

Of course, the goal is not chuck shots as quickly as possible but to generate open looks from the perimeter through ball movement that triggers collapsing of the defense. Paint touches are still key to having good shot selection. Having Qudus Wahab down low is a tremendous tool, but he is still without an assist thus far. There needs to be set plays where the ball comes right back out after a post feed, so Wahab does not feel obliged to be aggressive every time. Likewise, certain plays need to have Primo Spears driving very hard off the high-ball screen and understand that he is passing to Mozone or Akok in the far corner for a three.

3. Different Defensive Looks
The defense has looked better at times this year, but there needs to be more proactive changes to disrupt opponents. The press has looked pretty good (with fresh players) and zone has been a nice change. Seeing differences between man-to-man with and without Wahab in is a nice touch as the Akok-led small ball switches on every screen. Generally, transition defense needs a lot more work, but most coaches will tell you that’s based on hustle and pride.

Their trap can be effective. When Georgetown traps, the abandoned man needs to be across court via a tough pass. If the trap allows one easy pass, there will be two more easy passes following it and Hoyas chasing in futility. Again, the press has looked like a solid improvement for Georgetown. However, adjusting when to trap, when to hedge, when to press and when to drop back into a zone—e.g., out of timeouts, with substitutions—can lead to less consistency for opponents who seem to consistently find open perimeter looks that turn into double-digit runs.

Here are the links:

Georgetown squanders big lead, holds on to top La Salle in Jamaica | Field Level Media

Two days after the Hoyas blew an 11-point lead in an 84-66, first-round loss to Loyola Marymount, they squandered a 25-point advantage over La Salle before Wahab helped secure the victory.

Brandon Murray had 16 points and six rebounds for Georgetown (3-2) before fouling out. Akok Akok had 10 rebounds with four points.

Jhamir Brickus led La Salle (2-3) with 14 points and knocked down a 3-pointer that tied the game 62-62 with 2:14 to go — concluding a 20-4 Explorers stretch.

Georgetown Holds Off La Salle 69-62 in Jamaica Classic | GUHoyas

The Georgetown University men’s basketball team closed the game on seven unanswered points, stifling a surging La Salle team in the waning minutes of regulation as the Hoyas defeated the Explorers 69-62 in the consolation game of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic on Sunday. As the Hoyas get back to their winning ways, they improve to 3-2 on the season while the Explorers slip to 2-3.

“I thought we started out great. We got up by 20 points, the energy was led there by Akok Akok - his fire, his ability to block shots, even though he missed his first few shots in the first half - but I thought his energy in the first half was the reason we got the win. We made it a lot tougher than we wanted it to be in the second half but we were able to find a way to win.” - Head Coach Patrick Ewing on the game

Men’s Basketball Earns Second-Straight Win; Defeats NJIT 58-53 | AU Eagles

American University men’s basketball (2-2) picked up its second-straight win on Saturday at NJIT (0-4), 58-53, remaining undefeated against the Highlanders. Sophomore Elijah Stephens led the Eagles with 14 points while as a team the Eagles shot 43.1 percent from the field and led in rebounds, assists and blocks...

Stephens recorded a season-high and team-leading 14 points. He also dished out a team-high five assists, three steals, and played a team-leading 36 minutes.

With the Eagles’ win, head coach Mike Brennan now moves into sole possession of third on AU’s all-time coaching records list. The win marks his 110th career victory at the head of the program.

Mason Wraps Up Homestand Sunday vs. American | Go Mason

American was picked to finish seventh out of 10 teams in the Patriot League preseason poll. The Eagles return four of their top-5 scorers from last season’s roster, led by Colin Smalls (10.7 ppg in 2021-22). The Eagles dropped a 73-69 contest at Marist to open the 2022-23 campaign on Nov. 9 in Poughkeepsie. Smalls notched 12 points, two rebounds and two assists in the loss, while freshman Geoff Sprouse led the Eagles with 14 points. Matt Rogers added 12 points and six rebounds.

Patriot League GEICO Men’s Basketball Players of the Week Announced (11.21.22) | Patriot League

HONORABLE MENTIONS - Elijah Stephens, American, So., G, Waco, Texas/China Spring

*Stephens averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals to help American go 2-0 last week with wins over William & Mary and NJIT. He scored 14 points and dished out a season-high six assists in a 71-64 victory over the Tribe.

Automated 2022-23 Game Preview American 2-2 (0.500) | Patriot League — AT — Georgetown 3-2 (0.600) | Big East | Halsametrics

The American offense demonstrates a balance of outside and inside attempts, while the Georgetown defense typically allows a few more chances from the perimeter than from the paint. Against the Georgetown defense, this site projects that the shot makeup of the American offense will be 40.1% three-pointers (2.6% above the D1 average), 24.2% mid-range jumpers (3.6% below the D1 average), and 35.7% near-proximity twos (1.1% above the D1 average).

American has been a below-average team in floor shooting this season and is ranked #252 in overall field goal conversion rate. The Georgetown defense, meanwhile, rates as somewhat average in defensive field goal conversion rate (ranked #129 nationally in that category). On this end of the court, the Georgetown defense gets the analytical nod in both mid-range shooting and near-proximity shooting, while the two units rate fairly evenly in three-point shooting. This site expects American to shoot 33.2% from three (0.4% below the D1 average), 34.4% from the mid-range (3.1% below the D1 average), 54.1% from near-proximity locations (4.5% below the D1 average), and 41.0% overall (2.4% below the D1 average).

Per Game Table
1 Colin Smalls 3 3 29.3 5.0 11.7 .429 1.7 2.7 .625 0.0 0.0 2.3 0.7 0.7 0.0 3.0 2.7 11.7
2 Matt Rogers 4 4 26.8 4.3 8.5 .500 1.0 2.0 .500 1.0 2.0 5.5 1.5 1.0 0.5 1.5 3.3 10.5
3 Geoff Sprouse 4 1 26.3 3.0 6.3 .480 2.3 5.0 .450 1.3 1.3 2.5 1.0 0.8 0.3 0.8 1.3 9.5
4 Elijah Stephens 4 4 33.3 3.5 8.5 .412 0.5 2.5 .200 2.0 2.8 3.3 4.5 2.5 0.0 2.8 3.3 9.5
5 Johnny O'Neil 4 4 29.5 3.0 9.3 .324 1.3 5.0 .250 1.5 1.8 5.5 1.3 0.5 3.0 1.3 2.0 8.8
6 Jaxon Knotek 4 4 26.0 2.3 5.8 .391 1.5 3.3 .462 0.8 1.0 4.5 0.8 0.3 0.3 1.0 2.0 6.8
7 Jermaine Ballisager-Webb 3 0 13.3 2.7 4.0 .667 0.0 0.3 .000 0.7 0.7 2.7 0.3 0.0 1.0 1.7 1.7 6.0
8 Lorenzo Donadio 4 0 13.5 1.0 3.0 .333 0.3 1.8 .143 1.0 1.0 2.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 3.3
9 Lincoln Ball 4 0 11.3 1.0 2.3 .444 0.0 0.3 .000 0.0 0.3 2.3 0.3 1.0 0.0 0.3 1.0 2.0
10 Chris Gleaton 2 0 2.5 0.0 0.5 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
11 DeShawn Goodwyn 1 0 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/22/2022.