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GAME GRADES: Hoyas Not Quite All Saints When Burning Siena

Marks improved, but how much real improvement did fans see?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#10 - Hoyas vs. Siena - 12/7/22 - Siena is a good little team that has beaten Seton Hall and Florida St. This was a good little win for the Georgetown Hoyas. Not a great win, but a good one. I’ll take it. Some good performances in this one as well and Georgetown was able to put this away in the second half.

Accountability Check: My 4-game heater has come to an end… sort of. I had the score DEAD ON I just had the wrong side on top. I said 74-68 Siena. This one ends 75-68 Hoyas.

Let’s get into it.

Primo Spears - B+
18 PTS, 7-11 (63%), 1-1 3PT (100%), 3-5 FT, 4 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 5 TO, 38 MIN
THIS! This is the game I’d like to see from Primo on a regular basis. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is maximizing his skill set and balancing it with team success. The biggest thing is he shot less. Yes, he shot better, but 10 - 15 shots are the range he should probably be in (depending on minutes and game script), and I think the lower range of that is better. I hammered Primo against South Carolina for his ShotQuality metrics. They were better in this one. Of his 14 possessions, 6 were graded as “Good Possessions” he only had 3 last game. He had 8 graded as “Bad Possessions.” He’s always going to have a higher number of those because he skews towards the mid-range, and SQ really doesn’t like the mid-range. But 8 is way down from the 15 against SC. The 8 assists are big, and that’s where he needs to continue to focus. Too many turnovers, but whatever.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jay Heath - B-
16 PTS, 7-16 (43%), 1-6 3PT (16%), 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0 TO, 36 MIN
Decent game from Heath. I think he was probably a bit better individually against SC, but he was fine, overall. I don’t really have many takeaways from his game in this one.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

Brandon Murray - A-
20 PTS, 7-14 (50%), 2-4 3PT (50%), 4-6 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 39 MIN
Murray put his stamp on this game in a big way early in the second half. He led the 12-0 (or something like that) run in the second that really buried Siena when they had previously been hanging around. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this performance from Murray comes along with the performance from Primo. Earlier in the season, Primo mentioned that, essentially, his mindset is if Murray is hitting, he has to look for his shot. Sort of a “his turn, my turn” approach. That works in Kenner League. It doesn’t work here, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Murray has a great scoring game on the back of one of Primo’s better assist games. Murray is a monster going to the rim and balances that with some smart threes. He was good on defense (individually) and hit the boards more than he has in previous games. Solid effort.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Akok Akok - B-
2 PTS, 1-4 (25%), 0-3 3PT (0%), 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 31 MIN
The offensive struggles continue for Akok. If I could grade him for just defense, he’d get straight As. But the offense looks really shaky. Part of that is the scheme - even when the team is playing better offense in general, it doesn’t really suit Akok’s game. Part of it, frankly, is Akok just needs to be a bit more aggressive. He has not been shooting the ball well after a hot start. I’d like to see the team get him better looks, but some of that is he really isn’t a threat off the dribble or going to the rim at all, so defenses can sit on his shooting hand and contest catch-and-shoot threes. He remains an absolute monster defensively. I honestly do not know where Georgetown would be defensively without him. They might be the worst in D-1, which says a lot about their defense and a lot about Akok.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

Qudus Wahab - B-
10 PTS, 5-11 (45%), 0-1 FT, 12 REB, 0 AST, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 30 MIN
Much better game from Q. Still a long way to go, but he stayed on the floor in this one and was more efficient overall. It looked like Gtown ran a few more pick-and-rolls with him which is where I would focus, even more so than getting him the ball in the post. He’s just way to easy to double in the post and it’s almost an automatic turnover (bad, missed shots count as turnovers to me). When he’s in the pick-and-roll he is out in a bit more space against an unset defense. His hands are not the best, but I think he will be more successful in the long run in those sets. It’s no coincidence that he’s able to stay on the floor and Georgetown finally wins a rebounding battle.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bryson Mozone - B
5 PTS, 2-3 (66%), 1-1 3PT (100%), 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0 TO, 11 MIN
I liked the minutes from Mozone. No boards is frustrating, but at this point, it’s pretty clear that is just not where he’s going to impact the game. Efficient shooting is essential for him and they got it in this one on low attempts.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

Wayne Bristol - NO GRADE
0 PTS, 0-1 (0%), 0-1 3PT (0%) 1 REB, 1 TO, 3 MIN
No grade for Bristol here. Only three minutes, and he didn’t do much. I do think the best defensive lineup for Georgetown might include Wayne. I think he should get more than 3 minutes a game.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

Bradley Ezewiro - B
4 PTS, 1-1 (100%), 2-2 FT, 4 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 10 MIN
Brad is active in his minutes, and that is generally a good thing for this team. They continue to run post-ups even when he’s in for Q, and I just don’t get that. I don’t think he needs the ball on the block, even though he was able to finish. Use him as a roller, slasher and rebounder.
HOMEWORK: Juice ‘Cuse.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Denver Anglin - INC

Offense - Pass
Overall, a better game from the offense. 88% Rim+3 rate (up from 75% in the last game and their season average). In general, I’d like to see more pick-and-roll from Georgetown. They ran it about 16% of the time in this one (in line with their season average). The biggest problem is a problem across college basketball, they don’t set very good screens. To me, good screening is one of the biggest gaps between college and professional players and if I were a college coach, my entire coaching strategy would be focused on getting players to set good screens.

Just watch the difference between screens in an NBA and college game. It’s such an essential part of creating good offense (you create space for the ball handler, force the defense to make an immediate decision, and force the rest of the defense to rotate). And it requires next to no skill. Anyone can set a good screen. Now part of the issue is the ballhandler setting up his defender and waiting for the screen (which does take skill), but it’s just mind-boggling to me how bad the ball screens are across CBK. Ok, rant over. Georgetown won this game in two places: transition and the mid-range. They ran more than usually do (13% in this game vs 10% on the year) and were more efficient (1.42 SQ points per possession vs 1.28 SQ PPP). They reduced their midrange frequency from 23% to 18%. The efficiency remained the same, but that’s a significant decrease that meant more shots at the rim and more catch-and-shoot threes.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Siena at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defense - Fail
This was close for me, but ultimately I think it was not a particularly good defensive performance. They gave up A LOT of open threes in the first half. They locked that down a bit in the second half, but for the most part, they did not force Siena into bad shots. Siena was simply not able to get to the rim as much as they typically do (30% in this one vs 40% on the year), and Georgetown was able to limit their effectiveness. You’d expect that, frankly, given Georgetown’s size and athleticism advantage. And Georgetown still gave up a whole mess of catch-and-shoot threes, 21 in total (33% frequency vs Siena’s 23% season average). That remains bad. The Georgetown defense is just baffling. As they have in past seasons, they automatically double the post (I have no idea why). They do not space well on the help side, and they have absolutely no idea how and when to rotate. It’s just a mess.

Surprisingly, I think it was put best by the FS2 color commentator John Giannini (most recently the head coach at La Salle from 2004 - 2018), who I found surprisingly insightful. Particularly, these two quotes had me screaming in affirmation at my TV.

“They’re not leaving people open through lapses. They’re leaving people open by design. I just don’t understand it.”


“I don’t understand why you are doubling the man Akok is guarding. He is the best defender on the team. One of the best defenders in D-1/ He does not need help, and you’re leaving shooters open.”

Truly, I feel seen. I dunno; maybe we should hire him to coach the defense?

Coaching - NO GRADE
It was definitely not a pass for me, but I am not sure it was a fail. If anything, they get points for coming out of half and putting this game away. Something they’ve not done all year. The rotations are a problem. The emphasis on the starters is just really a problem and is going to end up hurting this team (and probably the program) in the long run. It’s hard to focus on that in a win, but it is just frankly the reality.

Next Up
You all know. I don’t need to say it. It’s Georgetown’s National Championship. The only important game. I don’t care about anything else happening. Beat ‘Cuse. Beat them badly. Juice the stupid Orange. Juice them in the face…or something. My prediction? Georgetown by a million.