Your Georgetown Hoyas (8-10, 1-6) led the Xavier Musketeers (10-8, 4-3) until the very end, losing 92-91. Many fans who watched the game noted that Ed Cooley’s Hoyas looked more poised and confident out there. Cooley echoed the sentiments, saying that he saw his team “really grow up,” “compete at an elite level,” and being “proud of the growth and development of our young men from game 1 to game 18.”
Georgetown has, indeed, looked better recently with the win against DePaul, battling Seton Hall, competing in stretches at UConn and taking Xavier to the wire. Unlike a few early games, Ed Cooley’s Hoyas looked prepared to fight for each 40 minutes. There’s still a long way to go, but Georgetown—with its pretty good three-point shooting and growing chemistry—will continue to surprise Big East rivals.
Moreover, while a score in the 90s doesn’t typically reflect a defensive battle, the game did pack a a punch as the physicality led to plenty of foul shots for both teams. Perhaps Georgetown is re-finding its identity.
The Hoyas host Butler on Tuesday (6:30, FS1) before visiting Providence next Saturday (12:30, FOX) for the much-ballyhooed return of Cooley to Amica Mutual Pavilion (formerly known as the Dunkin’ Donuts Center).
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“Today I saw a Georgetown team really grow up. I saw a team really, really grow up. I thought we competed at an elite level in an incredible and hostile atmosphere … We weren’t fortunate today but what I’m proud of is the growth and development of our young men from game one to game 18. And that’s the process. And sometimes in the process, there’s going to be several disappointments but the growth and the development of our young men and their fight and their will – it’s easy to come in in a transition and just wilt. Our young men grew up today. I’m super, super proud, this is the best we have played all year … The courage of our men was big time today. We just came up a little bit short and you’ve got to give Xavier all the credit. They made all the plays down the stretch.”
- Head Coach Ed Cooley
I said they needed a breakthrough win. But man, that one felt different. That was the most prepared and confident Georgetown team in the 2h than I've seen in a while.— Nolan (@NationWideNolan) January 20, 2024
The Hoyas led by as many as 14 points (33-19) with 7:53 left in the first half. Xavier outscored Georgetown, 19-10, to end the first stanza and close within five points (43-38).
Georgetown regained its double-figure advantage and led by as many as 12 points (56-44) at the 16:42 mark in the second half. The Musketeers battled back with a 22-10 run over the seven minutes to tie the game for the first time (66-66). Trey Green hit a three pointer with 9:02 on the clock to give Xavier its largest lead of the game, 69-66.
The Hoyas regained the lead at the 6:58 mark, 76-74, and maintained its advantage until 1:06 was left in regulation (91-90). A Dailyn Swain dunk with 30 seconds on the clock put the Musketeers up by one point (92-91).
Early on, Georgetown connected on three of its first four chances from 3-point range to take a 14-5 lead. Xavier, by contrast, missed its first five shots from beyond the arc.
The Hoyas opened up a 33-19 advantage on the strength of four consecutive made threes from Heath.
Olivari answered with two of his three first-half threes to help the Musketeers cut the lead down to 33-28, capping a 9-0 surge with a deep triple from the left side with 6:35 left in the first half.
Heath scored 13 points and Epps had nine points and seven assists to help the Hoyas to a 43-38 halftime lead.
“I can’t imagine a better home court atmosphere than the one we just experienced.” Xavier coach Sean Miller grateful to the Xavier faithful and their role in a 92-91 win over Georgetown Friday night at Cintas. pic.twitter.com/glycaHwKeP— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 20, 2024
Xavier head coach Sean Miller was grateful that the Musketeers’ shot-making ability was able to save them in Tuesday night’s win over Butler. When Friday rolled around, the shoe was on the other foot as Xavier’s offense struggled shooting for the majority of the night against Georgetown.
Xavier needed to scratch and claw its way out of a 12-point second-half deficit on a night where it struggled mightily to get stops and rebound the ball.
In the final half-minute, Xavier got a stop when it needed it most to hold on to a 92-91 win over Georgetown and avoid what would’ve been a backbreaking loss at Cintas Center. Xavier now has a season-long three-game winning streak and heads into next week’s two-game road trip 10-8 on the year and 4-3 in Big East play.
There are no moral victories, but Georgetown is improving under Ed Cooley.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 20, 2024
Hoyas have nearly beaten Seton Hall and Xavier in the last two weeks.
Butler is up on Tuesday in D.C. and then Providence at the AMP.
Ismael Massoud’s 3-pointer with just under seven minutes left gave the Hoyas a 76-74 lead and they maintained the advantage until the final minute. Jayden Epps hit two free throws with 1:19 left to give Georgetown a 91-88 lead. Desmond Claude scored at the basket with more than a minute left to get the Musketeers within one. Epps missed a layup and Swain grabbed the defensive rebound. Claude drove into the key, then passed to an open Swain for the game-winner.
Quincy Olivari led Xavier with 27 points and had six rebounds for the Musketeers (10-8, 4-3 Big East Conference). Claude scored 19 points while shooting 7 for 13 (1 for 4 from 3-point range) and 4 of 5 from the free throw line, and added five rebounds and nine assists. Dayvion McKnight shot 6 for 10 (1 for 3 from 3-point range) and 5 of 7 from the free throw line to finish with 18 points.
Is Ed Cooley a good coach? Sean Miller is. With Georgetown holding 1 possession to attack your team’s 1-point lead, Miller throws a curveball from the defense that had allowed 1.2 points per possession that game. He tasks you with being the second man on a run-and-jump double to get the ball out of the hands of the red-hot Jayden Epps. It works, forcing Jay Heath - who was 1-8 in the second half - to take and miss the final shot.
On Georgetown’s last possession, Coach Miller did something he hadn’t all day. With Jayden Epps having the game of his life, Miller ran two long defenders at him to make him give the ball up. It ended up in the hands of Jay Heath, who was a scorching 1-8 in the second half. Georgetown’s second plan, abject panic. didn’t pan out. Xavier won.
Maybe that’s unfair on Ed Cooley, who might be a good coach but hasn’t really demonstrated that. Georgetown had indeed run Xavier close in a game they shouldn’t have, but consider that they shot 47.8% behind the arc, missed just one of 21 free throws, and only turned the ball over on 13% of their possessions and still couldn’t get the win. With Jay Heath obviously flagging, Cooley wouldn’t take him out. Heath was exhausted and played all 40 minutes. In one of those things that always happens, the ball found him at the end.
Tough loss tonight— Dawg Talk 101 (@dawgtalk101) January 20, 2024
Butler built a 10-point cushion late in the first half and widened it when, coming off a timeout, Davis hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 37-24 lead at intermission. Butler hit six of its final eight shots of the half.
DePaul led 16-14 with 9:10 left in the first half after a jumper by Raimey. But the Blue Demons committed seven turnovers in a four-minute span as the Bulldogs pulled away with a 13-2 spurt.
DePaul finished the game with 14 turnovers to eight for Butler.
Neither team shot very well. The Bulldogs made 41.7 percent of their shots in the second half to finish at 40 percent overall. The Blue Demons shot 46.7 percent in the second half and were at 41.8 percent for the game.
FINAL: Butler 74, DePaul 60— Lukas Harkins (@hardwiredsports) January 20, 2024
Butler gets back on track with a 14-point win after dropping five of its last six games.
Pierre Brooks led Butler with 20 points. Posh Alexander and DJ Davis both chipped in 17.
Brooks shot 7 for 15 (3 for 5 from 3-point range) and 3 of 4 from the free throw line for the Bulldogs (12-7, 3-5 Big East Conference). DJ Davis scored 17 points while shooting 4 for 9 (2 for 6 from 3-point range) and 7 of 7 from the free throw line, and added five steals. Posh Alexander shot 7 for 14, including 2 for 5 from beyond the arc to finish with 17 points, while adding six assists and six steals...
Butler took the lead with 7:56 remaining in the first half and did not relinquish it. The score was 37-24 at halftime, with Alexander racking up eight points. Butler extended its lead to 47-30 during the second half, fueled by a 7-0 scoring run. Brooks scored a team-high 12 points in the second half as their team closed out the win.
Davis was also more active defensively than he has been recently, Matta said. He stayed in front of his opponents, keeping his hands in their face and disrupting their shots. He also took advantage of the Blue Demons’ disorganized backcourt, stealing the ball five times when DePaul’s guards were trying to start an offensive set.
“We need DJ to play, and we need him to be who he is,” Matta said. “Not to score 25 points or anything like that, but I was just really, really impressed with his defensive activity tonight. He had five steals... he kept guys in front of him, got back in front, and hopefully we can catapult that into good play for him.”
Even with five steals, Davis didn’t hold the team lead. That honor went to Posh Alexander, who stole the ball from the Blue Demons six times with the same strategy as Davis.
Butler’s backcourt brought the energy against the Blue Demons. Alexander and Davis were leaders in their defense and transition offense.
Matta emphasized the importance of the defense in a matchup like this one.
“Posh is all over the place,” Matta said. “I thought he was tremendous tonight. He did a great job leading this team and getting this team ready going into this game.”
With the guidance of these leaders, this team needs to play a good stretch of basketball in the Big East to keep within reach of a tournament berth.
“We’ve got to build,” Matta said. “We’ve got to get some rest. We’ve got a huge week coming up.”
Great game tonight by DJ Davis. The Sheriff dropped 17 points and had 5 steals. Super engaged on both ends of the court— Butler Basketball Guru (@ButlerGuru) January 21, 2024
Gonna need some more of this Tuesday vs Georgetown #DawgsOnly @DJ_Davis22 pic.twitter.com/wVVxyLm3b5
Butler took 60 shots on Saturday afternoon — five more than DePaul’s 55 — for two reasons: turnovers and offensive boards.
While DePaul turned the ball over a total of 13 times, Butler created more shots by dominating the offensive boards. Butler won the overall rebounding battle, 37-29, as well as the offensive board fight, 13-6.
At times, the offensive rebounding looked like it came easy to the Bulldogs. Butler’s Pierre Brooks and Jalen Thomas easily overpowered the Blue Demons, jumping high enough to be nearly eye level with the basket as their opponents waited below.