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LINKS: Georgetown Success Will Depend on Jayden Epps

Poor shooting against Syracuse reveals a need for a better offensive plan

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NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas (5-4) were dismantled by our past-and-future-rival Syracuse Orange (7-3), 80-68, on Saturday and Hoya fans are again showing their resilience. Simply put, Georgetown shot the ball like they were blindfolded (5-27).

At the post-game press conference, Ed Cooley said comforting things like “As long as I’m the head coach here I want to play Syracuse every year” and “I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this g*d damn game next year.”

Syracuse’s new coach Adrian Autry also wants the series to continue. Autry and his staff likely had a bit more passion for this rivalry and needed to look no further than Associate Head Coach Gerry McNamara if he needed any further support for rallying his squad. Their new-look man-to-man succeeded in affecting spacing and forcing poor looks for a Hoyas squad still trying to develop some chemistry. Also, the Orange seemed to want it a bit more.

The appearance of a semblance of chemistry growing among the Georgetown players in any given game at any given time is likely due to Jayden Epps playing well. It’s no secret that when Epps scores and distributes well, the Hoyas have a chance. With only 17 points on 6-17 from the field and 1-9 from three, it’s a fair assessment in saying he had an off night. But right now, there is no one around to pick up the pieces if Epps is not finding the basket. It looked like a step backwards from the TCU game because the main guy was neutralized to a measly 17 points.

Cooley has expressed a desire to let his players do what their best at, including letting his shooters keep shooting out of a slump. Epps can seemingly pour it in whenever he wants, but it’s up to Cooley to get him the open looks needed to ignite him. Whether those opportunities amount to points or an assist (or a turnover), it’s really Georgetown’s best option for sustainable growth to victories this season. On Saturday, second-half plays appeared to be run often for Massoud or even Styles, but getting Epps some comfortable space, in order to break a funk, has to be a top priority.

But then again, Epps was 4-7 from the free throw line, so maybe something—like a finger—was off. That can’t be said for the rest of the team who don’t have dislocated fingers, but may have been affected by other issues like a week off (presumably) for finals. Epps will be a high tide that raises all of Cooley’s boats.

This is all to say that the defense is not where it needs to be and Georgetown’s hope of stealing some victories in December and beyond may have to rely on the offense—at least until the other end shows a bit more consistency and discipline. Second-half game plans will need to be something more than crossing fingers in hope that Epps will get hot.

Here are the links:

Rivalry Alive! Surge Helps Syracuse Defeat Georgetown | cuse.com

The 99th meeting between the two programs attracted 14,193, with a balanced blend of orange and gray, to the Capital One Arena.

WHEN THE GAME WAS DECIDED ... After Georgetown cut Syracuse’s lead to five with 6:57 remaining in the affair, the Orange put on an 11-2 scoring run. The effort was powered by two made free-throws from Starling, a free throw, slam and a fast break layup from Mintz, a bucket in the paint from junior center Mounir Hima and a slam dunk from Copeland. It created an 11-point Syracuse lead with 5:34 remaining, 69-58. Syracuse would keep a double-digit advantage for the rest of the contest.

LEAD SWAPPING ... The Orange and Hoyas traded advantages in the first half, trading the lead 11 times. The contest was knotted on eight occasions in the first 20 minutes.

Hoyas Fall to Syracuse 80-68 | GUHoyas

The Georgetown University men’s basketball team fell to the Syracuse Orange 80-68 at Capital One Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, GU slides to 5-4 on the season while Syracuse improves to 7-3 on the season.

ON THE RECORD ... “Today’s game was interesting. I told our men whoever was going to defend was going to win, and I don’t think we defended well. Credit Syracuse, they made some tough shots, were able to get to the free throw line, and were able to limit us to 5-of-26 from three. You have to give their defense credit; turnovers continued to hurt us. I think our players’ personalities come out when we can score, so for us to continue to improve we have to hang our hat on defense cause the ball can only be in one basket. It felt like a BIG EAST game, credit coach. We’re going to put this behind us quick. It’s unfortunate that we lost back-to-back home games, but in doing so, we’ll continue to learn, develop and grow. - Head Coach Ed Cooley

Syracuse outclasses poor-shooting Georgetown in rivals’ latest clash | Washington Post (Gene Wang)

Late in the first half Saturday afternoon against Syracuse, Georgetown guard Rowan Brumbaugh poked the ball away from the Orange’s Chris Bell, dribbled toward the basket and drew a foul from behind. Bell, who committed the infraction, compounded matters by exchanging words with Georgetown’s Wayne Bristol Jr., who smiled and clapped as the officials called a double technical.

Even with a fresh cast of coaches and players, a rivalry that helped define the original incarnation of the Big East continues to resonate. The latest installment in front of 14,193 at Capital One Arena ended with the rebuilding Hoyas falling, 80-68, amid repeated misses from three-point range, turnovers at inopportune junctures and defensive lapses that have plagued them during their first season under Coach Ed Cooley...

“I think our personality comes out when we can score,” Cooley said after the Hoyas mustered their third-fewest points of the season. “For us to continue to improve, we’ve got to hang our hat on defense because the ball’s not always going to go in the basket. Credit [Syracuse]; they played well. I appreciated everyone who came out. I hated seeing all the Syracuse orange that was in our building. That goes to tell you how intense this game is.”

Syracuse men’s basketball: second-half surge powers Orange to 80-68 road win over Georgetown | Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician

Georgetown’s Supreme Cook threw down a monster dunk with around five minutes left in the first half to cut the Orange’s lead down to one (24-23). Turnovers and a nearly-four minute scoring drought plagued the Orange for a bit. A pull-up three-point make along the wing by Justin Taylor helped to mitigate Georgetown’s momentum for a moment, but the Hoyas did re-take a slim lead with minutes left in the half.

Syracuse finally started to dial in, especially with crashing the offense glass. Copeland, Starling and Mounir Hima scored the Orange’s last three baskets in the first half off of grabbing the loose ball and putting it back around the basket. The extra hustle allowed Syracuse to enter halftime with a 35-34 lead over G-Town.

Mintz scored 14 points on 3/7 shooting in the first half to lead all scorers, while Starling chipped in 7 points to power Syracuse. Epps finished with 9 points and 4 assists by halftime while Cook and Ismael Massoud combined for 13 points for the Hoyas. Both teams combined for 15 turnovers in the first half, but Syracuse held an 8-0 over Georgetown in fastbreak points and limited the Hoyas to 3/12 shooting from three in the first half.

Syracuse men’s basketball: four takeaways from dominant win over Georgetown | Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician

SU took its defensive pressure up a notch on the perimeter, forcing Georgetown to shoot a season-low 19.2 percent from the three-point line. Many of these attempts were not even close, as Georgetown was forced to chuck up multiple deep threes to avoid a shot clock violation. Jayden Epps and Jay Heath, both over 40-percent shooters coming in, went a combined 2-for-14 from range, opening the door for the Orange...

Syracuse must’ve been sick and tired of me saying how great Georgetown’s offensive rebounding was. The Orange took a page out of the Hoyas’ book, racking up 11 offensive boards that turned into 12 second-chance points. Maliq Brown, Quadir Copeland and even Mounir Hima controlled the glass with multiple offensive rebounds. One-handed flushes by Brown and Copeland silenced the Georgetown faithful and put an exclamation point on a dominant win.

New coaches dive into longtime Georgetown, Syracuse rivalry | FLM

Slowing down Mintz (19.6 points) rates as priority for a Hoyas’ defense that yielded a season-high 84 points in Saturday’s one-point loss to TCU. Georgetown dropped the game on a wild bank-shot 3-pointer at the buzzer that snapped their four-game winning streak in agonizing fashion.

“The game is not defined by one play. OK? And that’s all anybody is going to talk about,” Cooley said. “We had opportunities throughout the game.”

Jayden Epps paced the Hoyas with 24 points against TCU while Dontrez Styles chipped in 18 points and Ismael Massoud added 16.

Epps leads the team in scoring (19.1) and assists (4.5) while making a team-leading 24 3-pointers. Styles (16.4 points) and Massoud (12.5) are key contributors. Massoud has shot just 6 of 22 from the field since returning from a broken hand.

Five Takeaways: Syracuse 80 Georgetown 68 | SI.com

Georgetown came into the game averaging 79 points per game. Syracuse held them to 68, 11 below that average. Georgetown was shooting 39% from three point range on the season. Syracuse held them to 19%. Early in the game, Georgetown was getting whatever it wanted when attacking the rim. However, the Orange made some adjustments and tightened things up. It was a strong defensive performance against a good offensive team. Syracuse seemed locked in on that end of the floor and that sparked the offensive attack. Syracuse needs more of that type of effort defensively as it gets into conference play, and for the next game against Oregon.

Quadir Copeland’s career-high 14 points against Georgetown proves he’s much more than a ‘glue guy’ | Daily Orange

Syracuse head coach Adrian Autry played clips of past games prior to Saturday’s matchup with Georgetown — a reminder of what this meant. Judah Mintz and Benny Williams, both natives of the Washington Metropolitan area, told their teammates to “turn up the city when we come back.”

So when SU weathered a back-and-forth first half to pull away for good late in the second, Copeland needed to express a “little comeback” of his own. He looked out to a sea of Hoya fans and motioned that the game was effectively over.

“It was just to let them know, like, it’s over now. ‘You can stop the cheering. Go home early if you feel like it,’” Copeland said.

Mintz, Starling lead way in Syracuse’s 80-68 win over Georgetown | USA Today (AP)

Jayden Epps scored 17 points but was just 1 of 9 on 3-pointers and Supreme Cook added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoyas (5-4), who shot 42%.

Syracuse outscored the Hoyas 13-3 over three minutes to build a nine-point lead with 14 minutes left with Maliq Brown scoring six straight points.

Mintz took a seat for six minutes after his third foul but the Orange maintained its margin as Starling and Copeland combining for Syracuse’s next 13 points. Mintz reentered and the Orange outscored Hoyas 11-2 and led by 14 with just over two minutes remaining after a Copeland dunk.

Syracuse Basketball: Head coaches adamant to continue SU-Hoyas series | Fansided | Inside the Loud House

On Saturday afternoon, inside the Capital One Arena, Syracuse basketball and Georgetown competed in another delightful encounter. Before more than 14,000 people in attendance, including many pro-Orange in the crowd, the ‘Cuse pulled away from the Hoyas in the second half to notch an 80-68 triumph, moving our boys to 7-3 so far in the 2023-24 season...

The new head coach of Georgetown is Ed Cooley, the former boss at fellow Big East member Providence and a coach who I really respect. The Hoyas, in recent years, have mightily struggled, yet I’m confident that Cooley is going to take Georgetown in a positive direction.