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Hoyas Notebook 11/29: Ewing talks ahead of Texas Tech

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Xavier The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing met with media over a video call Tuesday morning before he and his team travel to Lubbock, Texas. The Hoyas of course take on Texas Tech in the annual Big 12-Big East Battle on Wednesday night at United Supermarkets Arena. It could also be called the Mac McClung Bowl I guess.

Despite the fact that Texas Tech just dropped out of the latest AP Top 25, Georgetown’s first road game of the season easily doubles as one of it’s most difficult.

OK, let’s get to what Ewing had to say

Murray, Harris Updates

The big news to look for here is obviously Brandon Murray. Georgetown was 1-1 last week without the LSU transfer that Ewing has called the Hoyas best player. Murray is second on the team at 15.4 points per game and knocks down 44 percent of his 3-pointers while playing 35 minutes a night. The Baltimore native missed just one game last season in Baton Rouge while earning All-SEC freshman team honors.

“It’s secret right now,” Ewing said with a smile after being asked of Murray's current status.

He went on.

“He’s getting better. We’ll see what we decide come tomorrow. He’s been getting treatment all along and he’s been doing a lot better.”

Ewing said everyone else was available against Texas Tech which of course led me to my next question about Georgetown’s lone returning starter from last season - Dante Harris.

“No, nothing has changed,” Ewing said about Harris who is not with the team due to personal reasons.

The answer was expected but it’s a question that needs to be asked as we near the end of the Fall semester. Without further updates one more check in after Spring classes begin in January may be all that’s needed here.

We all wish Dante the best during this time.

On to Texas Tech

Ewing had this to say about Mark Adams Texas Tech (4-2) squad that returns home for their first game after going 1-2 in Maui with one loss coming to Big East foe Creighton:

“They play hard. They are big. They are physical. They are dominant on the glass. They try to impose their will. This is a true road game and I’m sure it will be loud and boisterous there. I’m looking forward to this test.”

Ewing also added:

“They will play some zone. They want to play in the half court. They will run when given the opportunity but they are primarily a half court team.”

I’ll try and add to this more tomorrow in the Game Thread with a little preview.

Hoyas After Seven Games

Sitting at 4-3 given their opening schedule can’t be what anyone wanted but it is what it is. So let’s hear what Ewing thinks about it.

“I think we’re still a work in progress. Giving up those big leads. We’ve been up pretty much every game that we’ve played. Last game we were up 17 at one point in the second half with about six minutes to go and we let them cut it to five. Every game that we’ve been played we’ve been up. We’ve got to find ways to play smarter. Stop taking quick shots. Get to the second, third, fourth option sometimes. Especially when you’re up that much. That’s still a work in progress. That’s everyone learning each other. I’ve been stressing to them that we need to learn from the mistakes that we’ve made. Hopefully it will start to sink in and we’ll stop making them going forward.”

Evaluation Time

Georgetown’s team is essentially brand new after last season went horribly wrong. Here’s what Ewing had to say about Jay Heath after five games and Akok Akok after seven.

“I think that last game was a coming out party,” Ewing said about Heath’s 25 in the win over UMBC.

“He played great on pretty much all levels. He was able to hit 3s, he was able to do a great defensive job and he was able to get downhill. I think he was clicking on all cylinders and that’s what I expect from him. He can’t get frustrated when you’re not getting a call or somebody misses you. He just has to continue to play and that’s some of the things he and I have been talking about.”

As far as Akok goes, Ewing held really high praise for the former UConn big by complimenting his energy, effort, shot blocking and just overall relentless pursuit of the ball.

“His effort has been second to none. Everything that he’s been doing. We’ve been playing him a lot of minutes. We need to figure out a way to give him a breather every now and then. He’s been everything that you want in a player, I see it in him. His ability to verbalize what we are talking about and calling out our players, not being quiet in pick and roll coverages. Those are the things that I love about him.”

Coin Flip

Last week backup centers Ryan Mutombo and Bradley Ezewiro were called upon to spell starter Qudus Wahab in different games.

Mutombo scored six points and grabbed five boards in 11 minutes in the loss to American while Ezewiro scored two and pulled down two rebounds in eight minute as Georgetown beat UMBC.

So what determines who’s playing?

“Flipping a coin,” Ewing said while making the motion.

“It’s going to all depend on matchups and who I feel is going to be able to give us what we need. [UMBC] went small so we played Brad. We’ll see what we’re going to do come tomorrow. Texas Tech has two quality bigs who are capable of shooting 3s so we still have to figure that out.”

Conference Pride

This game isn’t just Georgetown vs Texas Tech but it’s part of a conference ‘battle’ between the Big East and Big 12. Obviously the focus of each coach is on what their team is doing but I was curious if Ewing had any thoughts on the league through the first month of the season, particularly with four new coaches. Here’s what he had to say about his league:

“Of course I look to see who is playing who and what they are doing but my main goal is to worry about Georgetown. Of course I want my fellow coaches to do well. One thing that I’m proud of about the Big East is when you look at all the other Power 5 conferences we are the only league that has predominantly black, African American head coaches. You don’t see that in any of the other conferences so that’s something that I’m very proud of. I think the Big East is definitely leading and in the forefront when it comes to this so of course we want everybody to succeed. But my goal right now is to worry about Georgetown, worry about what we need to do here to make sure that we have a very good season.”

World Cup Fever?

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Patrick Ewing started out as a kid wanting to be a soccer star but it’s true. And since we are just hours from the US playing their final Group Match in the 2022 World Cup I wanted to check in to see how much he’s been paying attention to the odd winter edition of this event.

“Being that soccer is my first love...wanting to be Pele when I was younger,” Ewing reminisced about his soccer background during this global tournament.

“Naturally I want the US to do very well. I’m a Ja-merican now. I’m a Jamaican-American. I’ve played in two Olympics so naturally I want the US to do well. They play Iran today? Hopefully we can score and move on to the next phase.”

Sounds like he was on top of things, knowing that a 1-0 US win today would be enough of a result to see the Stars and Stripes through to the Round of 16.

OK, that’s about it from today. Check out the game thread tomorrow!