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Game Grades: Hoyas May Have Found Something Despite Falling Short of Seton Hall Stunner

Abysmal start. Some partial credit until the finish.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas drop a game they absolutely could have won against a tough Seton Hall team. Despite an abysmal start to this game, the Hoyas came roaring back to take a three-point lead late before losing this one on some bad turnovers. There was a lot going on in this game so I’ll get right into it.

I took the opportunity of monsoon-like weather conditions and a 6:30 Tuesday tip to grab some relatively cheap seats one row off the floor for this game, so I have some thoughts from an almost-courtside perspective.

Supreme Cook - C-

13pts, 4-5 80% FG, 5-6 FT, 5 REB, 2 BLK, 3 TO, 25 MIN

I give Supreme a lot of credit for how he’s improved his free-throw shooting. Early in the year, that looked like it was going to be a major liability, he’s improved substantially and went 5-6 in this game. They were all big. If you look at just the box score, you’d think he should get a higher grade. And that’s fair, but I thought he was just awful defensively. He has limits, like any player, on the offensive end. That’s fine. His defense has not been good enough, and this one was rough. He didn’t have the physicality and energy early in the game, leading to Cooley going to Drew. He picked up the activity in the second half, but he was lost at times in the zone and was getting picked on late in the game by SHU. They were looking to get him switched onto Richmond every time down. And you can certainly say that’s a tough cover and the Hoyas should not have switched as easily. But he kept biting on the same shot fake, letting Richmond get to the basket. Yes, that’s not an easy cover, but Coach Cooley was telling Cook over and over to stay down on the shot fake, and he just couldn’t do it. That, plus his slow decision-making on defense hurt them.

Dontrez Styles - C

4pts, 1-4 25% FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 33 MIN

I want to see Dontrez get going again offensively, but he continues just to make winning plays. I think there are things the Hoyas can do to get him going again, but even when he’s not scoring, his value to this team is apparent. He looked really good with Fielder in the zone, and he is a connector on offense. He continues to get the majority of his offensive looks from spot-up jumpers - 30% of his shots (60 total possessions). He’s scoring a very good 1.098 points per possession on these. According to Synergy, his second most frequent play type is off-screen action where he is scoring a very bad .440 PPP on 25 chances. I don’t think he’s shown he’s great running off screens (though I think that’s something he can add in the future). So far this year, his most effective scoring, albeit off of very limited opportunities, has come off P&R with him as a ball handler. He’s only had 10 total possessions of that but he’s scored 1.200 PPP. They haven’t gotten him many looks off P&R as the ball handler since the TCU and ND games. He’s shown he can be good with the ball in his hand and I think it might be worth having him run some P&R with Ish to see if they can get both going a bit more.

Ismael Massoud - D

3pts, 1-7 14% FG, 1-5 20% 3PT, 4 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO, 21 MIN

No two ways about it, Ish was bad. He has shot really poorly and he struggled all over the floor. He also gave away the nail-in-the-coffin turnover at the end of the game after Coach Cooley got him back in the game for his shooting. He was cold, and it’s a tough spot to come in and execute in that spot, but he should be one of their best shooters. He’s also experienced enough that he should be able to at least not turn the ball over in that spot. I know many will say Coach should never have put him in, but I get going to him for shooting, and he just has to execute better. He was too soft with the ball in this one and didn’t match SHU physically. That has to change.

Jayden Epps - B+

30pts, 9-18 50% FG, 5-13 38% 3PT, 7-8 FT, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 39 MIN

Jayden was phenomenal…after the first 10 minutes. Yes, he scored 30. Yes, he hit three threes in a row during the 19-5 run in the first half. It was his activity on the defensive end that impressed me most. He was extremely active and vocal in the zone, something I have just not seen from him a ton this year. I was really impressed. I considered knocking him down more for the late turnover where he just got stripped clean going up for a three, leading to a run-out and three-point play for SHU, but his defense really was locked in for much of this game, and they need that from him. I thought he slowed things down a little too much late in this game. Whether that’s on him or Cooley, I am not sure, but I would have liked them to run more of their regular offense rather than looking for a shot late in the clock. I think there’s probably some shared responsibility there. Ultimately, with the stat line he put and the defense he played, that’s a game you’d expect to win. If he continues to play like this, they will.

Rowan Brumbraugh - C-

0pts, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1 REB, 1 TO, 12 MIN

Tough spot for Rowan and I considered giving him a no grade, as he really didn’t get a lot of run in this one other than to start both halves. He wasn’t necessarily bad in his limited minutes, except for a really rough turnover to start the second half that he and Ish shared responsibility for. He just didn’t impact the game really at all. Coach went to the hot hands in Jay and Wayne over him and it was definitely the right call. One thing I noticed being closer to action was he needs to trust his drive. He had one very apparent play where he got a half-step on his defender going to the rim and clearly didn’t feel like he had enough separation to go finish so he pulled it back out. He’s great when he gets his defender on his hip, but he is going to have to be comfortable taking a half-step and accelerating to the rim. Think Mac McClung. He was great at getting a half-step and turning into more. Rowan doesn’t have the same athleticism, but he can definitely improve by just going hard to the rim once he gets an opening.

Jay Heath - C+

10pts, 4-10 40% FG, 2-8 25% 3PT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 3 TO, 30 MIN

I was preparing to write another post questioning if Jay was healthy and how much he should play. He came in and immediately matched the energy of the rest of the Hoyas, which, at the time, was soft. He gave away a really bad turnover in the backcourt after a good defensive stop. He just sort of slipped on a crossover and stayed on the ground while SHU got a wide-open dunk. I continue to think that Jay is best suited for the 6th man role to bring energy and scoring off the bench. It looked like he was going to bring neither. But to his credit, he turned it around. He settled in and was very effective offensively playing off Jayden. Defensively, he was good in the zone in the first half. He was OK in the zone in the second half but had two bad rotations late that hurt them. Even so, I thought he was a key part of their run, and his offense looked as connected to the rest of the team as it has this year. Until the last three minutes, I was going to give him a B, but he had a horrendous turnover on a dribble handoff with Epps that killed their 7-0 run, and then he gave a weak foul on Addae-Wusu on his runout layup about a minute to go. It probably doesn’t change the outcome much, but you either have to let the layup go or make sure he doesn’t get the shot up. He did neither.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - A

4pts, 2-4 50% FG, 2 REB, 1 STL, 0 TO, 26 MIN

Wayne changed this game. His impact doesn’t show up in the box score, but the Hoyas were beyond soft to start this game, and SHU was essentially getting anything they wanted. The game really shifted at the 10-minute mark when WBJ stepped in to protect Jayden after he took a hard foul on a drive. Wayne got a technical for pushing the SHU defender away as he was hovering over Jayden on the floor. It ultimately was a wash on the scoreboard, but the entire energy of the game changed. Coach Cooley seemed to recognize the opportunity as well and was shouting directly at the SHU bench, “That’s a hard F$%!@% foul.” I was very pleased to hear on rewatch that the broadcast picked this up. The next few minutes featured the best stretch of defense, at least in the zone, we’ve seen from the Hoyas with WBJ at the top of the 3-2 zone. They forced SHU into four straight turnovers. All five guys were active, but it started with Wayne’s length, positioning and activity. He had a couple of loud offensive possessions, including an acrobatic drive and layup and the putback late in the second half that put the Hoyas up.

Drew Fielder - A

6pts, 2-5 40% FG, 2-5 40% 3PT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 0 TO, 14 MIN

Drew has arrived. Early on, it looked like he was in for a rough night. Coach Cooley yanked him early in the first stint after he misplayed a pick and roll, allowing a wide-open layup. Cooley called a second timeout in 30 seconds just to get him off the floor. His issue was not so much the mistake but that he was yelling at Drew to blitz the ball screen, and Drew was just standing there. I was really impressed with the way Drew handled the coaching. He came back in and anchored the zone that gave SHU problems in the first half, and when they went back to man in the second, his pick-and-roll coverage was excellent. Just really impressive for a Freshman to be able to take coaching, make an immediate adjustment and execute at such a high level. He hit a couple of huge threes in the second half, and if you can’t see the offensive upside, I am not sure what to tell you. It might be time for Drew to see his minutes increase…significantly. His biggest challenge is strength and rebounding. But he is always looking to box out, it’s just a question of having the strength to execute it and grab the board. I am just insanely impressed with him, and he is a stud. Also, are we sure he is only 6’10? From my vantage point on the floor, he was not three inches shorter than Ryan, who is listed at 7’2. I’m not convinced he is not a legit footer.

Other Grades

Coaching - B+

Cooley coached his ass off in this one. His team was absolutely flat to start this game, and looked like they were about to get blown out. He got them focused and into the game. I think he took the opportunity on the WBJ technical to get his team fired up. As I noted above, he was out on the court as the teams headed to their benches, screaming at the SHU side, “That’s a hard F&^*%$# foul.” He made a great adjustment to go to the 3-2 zone that bothered SHU in the first half, and I thought he made the right calls in the second half. He called the sidelines an out-of-bounds play on the late Jay Heath. When he called it, Jayden gave him a look like no way is that working. To Jayden’s credit, he ran it, threw a great pass, and Jay knocked the shot down. But it was a great call because SHU was slow to get out on shooters. I thought he made the right call going away from Rowan, Ish and Supreme. You can argue he shouldn’t have brought Ish back late, but you put him in for his experience and shooting, and you don’t expect him to turn the ball over like he did. Hindsight is 20/20 on that one. He seems to have landed on something with the WBJ/Epps/Drew/Jay/Dontrez lineup. I’ll get into that more below, but I hope we see more of that.

Offense - B

The lineup data from this one shows that they may have found something in the Bristol/Epps/Fielder/Heath/Styles lineup. They have only played 32 possessions together (most of them came in this game), but they are by far the most efficient offensive lineup the Hoyas have run out this year. Their overall efficiency, according to EvanMiya, is 159.4. Again, only 32 possessions, but that is far and away their most efficient lineup. The starting lineup (Rowan/Epps/Cook/Massoud/Styles) has a 95.3 offensive efficiency. And their most used lineup (Rowan/Heath/Styles/Cook/Massoud) has a 101.9 offensive efficiency on 105 possessions. They need to see if this lineup really has something or if it’s just a short-sample anomaly. I think the key in that lineup is Drew. He changes what the offense looks like when he’s the lone big on the floor. I don’t know that you could have gone with that earlier in the year, but it’s worth trying now that Drew looks this comfortable.

Defense - B+

What about the defensive efficiency of that lineup? So you glad you asked. The Bristol/Epps/Fielder/Heath/Styles lineup is also the best defensive lineup they’ve rolled out. Boasting a 78.8 defensive efficiency. Again, that’s only on 33 possessions, most of which came in this game in which they caused SHU a ton of problems, but it’s too good not to explore. Their most frequently used lineup (Rowan/Heath/Styles/Cook/Massoud) has a defensive efficiency of 108.8. Interestingly, Drew Fielder is a part of 4 of their five best defensive lineups. That’s better than anyone on the team except Styles, who actually just doesn’t come off the floor. That five-man lineup’s adjusted efficiency margin, which is the difference between their offensive and defensive efficiency adjusted for the quality of the opponent players faced by that lineup, is 86.5. That’s insane. And is inflated by this game and the fact they’ve only played 32 possessions together, but even if that comes down significantly, that is elite. For reference, SHU’s best-adjusted efficiency margin lineup is 24.8 on 366 possessions (their second-best is 23.2 on 44 possessions). UConn’s best is 65.5 on 30 possessions and 48.9 on 113 possessions. Small sample caveats notwithstanding that means Georgetown’s best lineup has been 20 points better than UConn’s on the same number of possessions. No, that doesn’t mean Georgetown can definitely beat UConn if they only play that lineup, but it does mean they need to play that lineup a lot more and see where it takes them.

Lee Reed - A

Here is a fun little nugget - Lee Reed was sitting on the baseline for much of this game and was as animated and into it as I have ever seen. At one point, he yelled at the referees for a bad call. It was awesome. Reed is a basketball guy, and it showed. He looked ready to jump on the floor or at least on the bench.

Refs - F

I don’t like commenting on the refs. They have a tough job. Yes, college basketball has generally awful officiating, but it’s usually pretty bad for everyone (except a few). Clearly, the game is too fast for the officials, and we’re asking them to do too much. This was not the egregious and ridiculous call like the TCU game. The refs were mostly fine for 90% of this game. But they made a couple of awful calls late in this game that completely swung the momentum and changed the game. The refs are not the reason Gtown lost this game, but they did change it. Georgetown goes up three at 3:13 left to play on an Epps baseline runner. A small call, but definitely a missed one. On that runner, the SHU defender hits Epps after he releases. It’s right in front of the baseline official, and 100% should have been an and-one opportunity. Then, at 2:32, Gtown turns the ball over, and SHU gets a runout, but Epps makes an incredible defensive play and looks like he knocks the ball away clean. The trailing official calls a foul. I had the exact same angle on the call as the official, and it didn’t look close to me. It was clean. It’s just a horrendous missed call. The Seton Hall player throws his head back to sell the call, and it looks like that was what the referee called. Again, it’s a quick play, but the trailing official didn’t need to make that call. There was a baseline official right there (who did not look like he was going to call anything). For what it’s worth, the referees had a conference at the timeout right after that call, and it didn’t look like they were congratulating each other. The next time down, Heath gets called for an offensive foul on just a ridiculous flop. Georgetown’s momentum was completely gone after that. The official who made the offensive foul call talked with Addae-Wusu (the flopper) throughout the game about that exact call, and it looked like he was just looking for an opportunity to make that call. On rewatch, he calls that offensive foul so quickly it looks like he’s already in his motion before Heath even makes contact. These were calls that changed the game and were inconsistent with the way the game had been officiated up to that point.

Next up - UConn

Standing between the UConn Huskies and the number one ranking in CBK is the Georgetown Hoyas. 9.9 times out of 10, Georgetown loses this game on the road at UConn. Is this the .1 time they shock the world?