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Game Grades: No Hinkle Magic for Hoyas in Big East Opener

Butler beats Georgetown, 74-64

Georgetown v Butler Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

And we’re off! The program that had a grand total of two (ugh) conference wins over the last two years started off its conference schedule on the road but at Hinkle Fieldhouse, a place both the Georgetown Hoyas and Ed Cooley have had success. But it wasn’t to be in this one. Butler has been surprisingly good so far in Thad Matta’s second year in his second stint at Butler and this game went pretty much according to script. Georgetown was in this game until a rough five-minute close to the first half that ended up pretty much being the game.

How’d everyone do? Let’s get into it.

Supreme Cook - C+

10pts, 5-8 62% FG, 7 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 29 MIN

I thought Supreme was overall pretty good but had a few challenges that really stood out. He finished a minus-eight but had a team-high 1.250 points per possession (PPP). He was effective offensively, except in the post. His two most frequent offensive actions (according to Synergy) are offensive rebounds and post-ups, followed closely by cuts to the basket. He’s averaging 1.250 PPP on putbacks, which is well above average across CBK and .759 PPP on post ups, which is well below average. His 1.400 PPP on cuts to the basket is also pretty good, and I think the lesson is just to cut the post-ups out completely. He has some good offensive moves in the post, but he’s an everything-but guy right now. In other words, he’s got everything but the finish and until he can finish consistently in the post, going to him there is killing offensive possessions. He was overall OK on defense, though I’ve noticed a clear trend. I’d say 80% of the time when the Hoyas give up a wide-open layup (with Supreme on the floor), he’s stuck to his man rather than helping to stop the drive. It’s happened consistently enough that it’s a trend, and I can’t imagine it’s something the coaches are asking for. I don’t know whether he’s just slow to react or not reading it well or what, but it’s something that needs to really change for this defense to improve.

Dontrez Styles - B+

19pts, 8-14 57% FG, 3-5 60% 3PT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 29 MIN

Trez was easily the best Hoya on the floor in this one. He finished a team-best minus 4. He also held Jahmyl Telfort to .667 PPP, well below his .980 on the season. He looked the most comfortable on both ends. He fouled out, and his 5th was a weird play where he looked like he was being held, but he was pressuring the ball handler in the backcourt and didn’t need to be. Other than that he was very solid and has shown he can get to his spots in many different ways. The more I see of him, the more I am encouraged that he can be not just a contributor but a piece to build around. For funsies, I looked where he’d stack up on the current UNC team. His 15.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG would be second-best on the UNC squad. His 41.8 3pt percentage and 54.4 effective field goal percentage would be second among starters. In other words, it seems like he really could have helped UNC! The real point is he is exactly the type of guy I think you need to target in the portal. He has talent and athleticism but is also fundamentally sound and knows how to play in a system. He didn’t have the opportunity at UNC but probably should have. Not every guy will work out like Trez, but you’ll hit more than not if you focus on guys who know how to play.

Ismael Massoud - C-

7pts, 2-5 40% FG, 1-4 25% 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 30 MIN

Rough night for Ish. I think Butler keyed on him defensively, and he struggled. It’s a good reminder that he’s only six games post-injury. He’s also coming from situations where he was never a focal point of the opponent’s scouting report, and I think he will have to get used to pressure defense and being the focus of defenses. Butler was pressuring him everywhere, particularly on the perimeter when he was dribbling. He’s always been a spot-up and off-screen shooter in four or five out systems. That’s primarily what he’s been this year as well. I’d like to see him used more in the pick and roll as the roll man or in pick and pop. I’d also take all of the Supreme post-ups and give them to Ish. They’ve only gone to that on three possessions in six games, but I think he can do more out of those sets than Supreme, and they don’t need to go to them a lot. Just enough to keep the defense on its toes. Ish will be better. Hopefully against Marquette

Jay Heath - NO GRADE

2pts, 1-8 12% FG, 0-4 3PT, 1 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO, 29 MIN

I am giving Jay a very loud NO GRADE. This is the last time I will grade him on a curve (probably). It’s clear he’s not 100%, or at least I hope that’s what’s going on because otherwise, he’s just playing…not great! If he’s hurt, it might be time to significantly cut back on his minutes or rest him completely because he’s not helping right now. He hurt them in this game, finishing a team-low minus 12 and .200 PPP. He was also getting picked on defensively by Butler, who went at him every chance they got, and he got blown by. I’ve talked about his sometimes frustrating defense before. Between that and some really sloppy turnovers and carelessness on offense, the time has come to give him some rest to heal up so he can contribute.

Rowan Brumbraugh - B-

8pts, 3-11 27% FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 2 TO, 23 MIN

Rowan was up and down a bit in his first BE action, but I thought he was largely pretty good. He did not shoot well and looked like he was struggling a bit with Butler’s size and physicality - which was largely going uncalled. This was the first game that made me think, “Row’s gotta get stronger.” He limited his turnovers, mostly, though he had a couple of really sloppy passes that resulted in his two TOs. He just really has to focus on avoiding live-ball turnovers. I think he will make shots, and I was encouraged by the rest of his performance, including his defense.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - C+

3pts, 1-2 50% FG, 1-1 3PT, 3 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 20 MIN

I thought WBJ played well, and I’d favor him getting some of Jay’s minutes and shots while he heals. He was active defensively and had a couple of monster blocks. I would like to see him get more shots, particularly threes. He’s been good at shooting off screens, averaging 1.222 PPP on nine possessions (which isn’t a lot). He tends not to look for his shot unless the play is called for him. That’s a good trait, but I think he can shoot more and should look to get more shots off screens. In this one, he had a couple of good takes to the basket that didn’t result in points but were encouraging.

Drew Fielder - B

3pts, 1-4 25% FG, 1-2 50% 3PT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 12 MIN

Drew was solid in limited minutes and continued his hot shooting from three. He got pushed around a bit, which is to be expected. His offense is coming almost exclusively from spot-up threes, but I think they could use him more in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop actions. I think they will as he develops, but that is where he can be most effective. He’s scored an eye-popping 1.714 PPP on 7 P&R possessions this year. That’s not a lot of possessions, but insanely effective. I think he can create out of the short roll, and he’s a good shooter out of that action. His biggest challenge is setting good screens (as is par for the course for pretty much everyone in CBK). If he can be a great screensetter (please, PLEASE work on it), I think he can dominate offensively.

Jayden Epps - NO GRADE

12pts, 3-10 30% FG, 1-4 25% 3PT, 5-6 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO, 27 MIN

Jayden flew in to meet the team on Monday, according to Coach and hadn’t done anything on a basketball court for a week. Given all that, he looked pretty good, though clearly not at his best. He looked good when he got a big switched onto him, but didn’t have the legs. Hopefully, he can practice a bit these next few days and get back into rhythm against Marquette. Also, please stop turning the ball over off lazy passes!

Other Grades

Coaching - B

Once again, not much to complain about from a coaching perspective, in my opinion. This game came down to a five-minute stretch at the end of the first half that Butler dominated. I saw many people apoplectic that Cooley didn’t call a timeout during that run. I get it, but it didn’t strike me as egregious and in general, I don’t care a lot about how coaches use their timeouts. For one thing, the run happened extremely fast - like three plays, and it was done. I thought the game plan was solid, particularly defensively. They just got beat on the road by a team that’s better than them right now.

Offense - C

The offense was a little stagnant in this one. I think a lot of that is about how Butler played them and the fact that Jayden was clearly not himself. Not to mention the Jay Heath problem. They struggled a bit to find space offensively and didn’t shoot the ball well. Some of that can be fixed by trying guys in different spots (as suggested above). I’d look to use Ish in the post and P&R more as well as Drew in the P&R. Georgetown has been getting open threes on 11% of their possessions on the year. In this one, they only got 1 - credit to Butler’s defense and the pressure they put on Ish in particular. Georgetown also could not get in transition as much as they have been and scored well below their season average on transition opportunities: 1.05 PPP in this game vs. 1.27 PPP on the season.

Defense - B

The defense was the best it’s been all season for the first 15 minutes of the game. It blew up in the last 5 minutes of the first half and then was a lot of meh in the second half. They played zone about ⅓ of the possessions (23 in total), and I thought that was the right call. Butler struggled against their zone, scoring .696 PPP. I’ve been impressed with the staff’s use of the zone this year. Not only identifying when to use it, but with their ability to deploy it effectively. Maybe they could have gone to it more in this one, but you can also overuse it. Butler’s offensive output in this game was remarkably consistent with their season averages. The only area that stands out is Open 3’s. Butler was getting open threes on 14% of their possessions this season and scoring 1.18 PPP. In this game, they only had one open three according to Shot quality and scored 1.13 PPP. They managed to get to the rim more than usual, but not by much. I think the defense was good enough for the Hoyas, except for one stretch that cost them.

Next up

Georgetown finishesd their midwest road trip against a Marquette team that is probably going to be angry, having just gotten beat down by Providence. Fun! Before the season, I had this as a scheduled loss, and I think that’s the case. It’s just a tough spot for this Hoyas team. I’ll be looking to see how Rowan can match up against Tyler Kolek and how Ish bounces back.