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Game Grades: Road Warriors

Hoyas use OT for extra credit

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 16 Georgetown at Notre Dame Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

An overtime win? On the road? On the CW? Welcome to your new look, Hoyas!

Without Jayden Epps, who missed his second game due to illness, Georgetown does enough to get by a Notre Dame team looking at the same hill to climb. This had none of the old charm of the minor Big East rivalry (yeah, I’ll call it a rivalry). To this day, if someone says Luke Harangody I will first be confused, because why, but then I get irrationally mad! But it was a feel-good win for a Hoyas squad that has officially won as many games as last year’s team.

Supreme Cook - C

6pts, 2-6 33% FG, 2-4 FT, 9 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 22 MIN

He missed a few wide-open layups that he shouldn’t have. He has a couple of possessions each game where he does all the hard work and then just completely smokes the final layup. There have been too many instances of that to say it’s random or unlucky. I think he needs to look to dunk the ball and not shy away from contact. He was good on defense and came up with the big final block, which was a good read on his part and a solid closeout

Dontrez Styes - B

10pts, 3-7 42% FG, 2-3 66% 3PT, 2-4 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 5 TO, 44 MIN

Weird turnover regression game for him, but that’s really the only thing I didn’t like about his game. He had a couple of really nice plays in the second half, including a play attacking a closeout and making a nice pass to Supreme for an easy dunk. That’s a little play, but we’ve not had guys who are willing or able to make that play recently. His ability to attack closeouts will be really important moving forward, particularly as he shows up as a shooting threat on scouting reports. He has shown an ability to get to a mid-range jumper, but getting to the rim and making plays is a whole different level that is massive for his game. That is all about feel and work in the gym. Kudos to him and the staff.

Ismael Massoud - C+

13pts, 5-13 38% FG, 3-6 50% 3PT, 6 REB, 2 STL, 2 TO, 39 MIN

Missed a wide-open layup and then a wide-open three where it looked like he just didnt have his feet right. Just an off game, but you’ll take 13 points and 3-6 from deep on an off night. It looked like they were trying to get him some post-touches early in this one. It didnt yield much, but I like that look. For the most part, he really helps them defensively. He is definitely not the quickest, but his positioning is very solid and more often than not, his closeouts are solid - which helps the rest of the defense avoid having to scramble. He’s just solid. Even when he isn’t making shots you’d expect him to. He also made the second biggest shot of the game in OT, sinking a clutch three.

Jay Heath - C

10pts, 2-8 25% FG, 0-3 3PT, 6-7 FT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 TO, 38 MIN

Coach continues to mention that he is less than 100%, which is important to remember. He wasn’t making shots, but I think he looked as comfortable on offense as he’s been in a few games. Hopefully, that is a sign of him getting healthier. It’s the defense that needs to improve for me, and I wonder how much of that is about his foot. He has possessions that just remind me of the previous regime. He weirdly helped off their best three-point shooter early in the game, which got him an early seat on the bench. He also has a tendency to close out flat-footed and gets blown by too much. I don’t know how much of that is due to injury, but it can be frustrating. He had a really lazy backdoor pass late in the second half that ND turned into a run-out dunk to tie it. The pass was there; it just needed to be thrown with some intensity, and he sort of just flicked it towards Rowan. That’s the kind of stuff that drives me nuts.

Rowan Brumbraugh - A-

15pts, 4-9 44% FG, 1-4 25% 3PT, 6-6 FT, 4 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 34 MIN

Weird game for Rowan. I thought he was very up and down, with some great stretches and then some really bad ones. But you look up, and he absolutely helps win you this game and is awarded Big East Freshman of the Week for his performances against ND and Coppin St. As always, he runs the offense really well. I can see him looking to play with a little more pace, which is a great thing. He needs to keep focusing on cutting down the live-ball turnovers. I expect that to improve in time. Coach was on him a lot in this one, which mirrors what we’ve heard from practice. They are coaching him hard, and I think it’s a great thing (for him and the program). I thought he was OK on defense, but had a couple of good possessions that were really big. In particular, his closeouts were good. And he had a great possession against Roper with under a minute left causing a turnover, right after Roper beat him on the same play. The shot to send it to OT was awesome. Great play, but he made a really tough shot.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - B+

2pts, 1-3 33% FG, 0-1 3PT, 1 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO, 11 MIN

I thought WBJ was really good, and was a few near misses from an A game. He gave them really good minutes on defense that they needed. I thought he could have played a bit more, but understand coach wanting to go with Heath for offense without Jayden.

Drew Fielder - A

16pts, 5-7 71% FG, 4-5 80% 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 0 TO, 23 MIN

A breakout game was coming, and he was on fire from deep in this one. Aside from his shotmaking, which was great, his activity was what stood out to me. He still makes a few Freshman mistakes - balls bouncing off his hands, missing rebounds, bad reach-in fouls, but that is all expected. As he continues to improve and gets comfortable with the speed and strength at this level, you will see him dominate games. Like he did in this one. He just absolutely worked ND’s bigs when he was in. It didn’t always end in a Georgetown bucket but he puts the opponent under tremendous pressure with his size and length, energy, ability to stretch the floor, and his feel.

Cameron Bacote - No Grade

0pts, 3 AST, 1TO, 11 MIN

Spot minutes for him with no Epps. I wouldn’t expect him on the floor much in conference play. He did enough to help them. There are definitely some headscratchers.

Other Grades

Coaching - B+

This was a game I had circled before the season as a strong pro-Shrewsberry advocate before the Cooley hire. I thought Shrewsberry was a good PSU and a very solid coach. I was pro-Cooley as well, particularly as a program builder, but thought he might have limitations as a coach. I was wrong. Cooley has been outstanding through the non-conference schedule. I think he outcoached Shrewsberry in this one and was down his best player. He got the Hoyas to settle down in the second half of this game. He has a really good feel for his team and knows where guys are comfortable. That’s not easy, only having this group together for 11 games. His ability to draw up the right play is most impressive to me. He showed it again today with a simple play at the end of regulation to get Rowan to the rim. Very simple, but he set it up perfectly, running the empty side handoff to force ND to make a quick decision on defense. There’s a long way to go for this program, but I have been extremely encouraged by what I’ve seen so far.

Offense - B-

This wasn’t pretty. It was clunky at times, but they did enough to get the win on the road. Even against a ND squad that is in largely the same boat, I thought there was plenty to like about the offense in this one. They missed some shots that I think they probably make at home, and they are still turning the ball over too much. But they were able to get good looks consistently, and that’s a big win. The goal for conference play has to be limiting the live-ball turnovers. If they do that, they will be alright.

Defense - B

Like the offense, the defense wasn’t spectacular but did enough to win the game. On the road, that’s all you can really ask. The defense has been worse than they hoped on the whole. But I think it’s trending in the right direction. It may be that it takes more than one season to get the right defensive pieces in place, and I am sure the staff is a little frustrated by the results so far, but I think they are improving. Shot quality had this as a 9-point win for ND based on the quality of shots, and I do think ND just missed some. I think Georgetown also bothered ND with their length, and overall, their closeouts on shooters were good. ND took a ton of deep threes that I think were a result of Georgetown’s length and pressure on shooters. They look more comfortable and competent on defense than in the past few years, which counts for a lot in my book. A great example came at 2:45 left in OT. ND ran an action to get Massoud switched onto Burton, who dove to the rim with Massoud playing on the high side. Styles read it perfectly and helped to cut off the Burton drive and Massoud recovered well to the corner and forced ND to reset completely. In the past, that ended either in a wide-open layup or a wide-open corner three. ND ended up scoring on a drive on the opposite side, but it took three or four options and an acrobatic finish. It will come.

Next up - Big East play kicks off for Georgetown in Indianapolis against a surprising top-60 Butler squad. This is a really interesting matchup on paper. Butler is an experienced group - the 25th oldest in the country. They don’t shoot the three either a lot or well, but they are 22nd in two-point percentage and 21st in free-throw percentage. They beat you in the paint and on the line. If Georgetown can limit their live-ball turnovers and keep Butler out of the paint, then this becomes anyone’s game. That’s a lot to ask of guys like Cook, Rowan and Fielder, who will be playing in their first BE game. Massoud and Styles are going to be important.

Before the season, I had picked this as a toss-up. I thought Georgetown would get a win against either Notre Dame or Butler, not both. I am more optimistic about Georgetown’s chances if Epps is back in this one. It’s probably a loss, but Georgetown has owned Hinkle before. Can they do it again?