Your Georgetown Hoyas (7-7, 0-3 BIG EAST) have a new coach, staff, and roster this season but the on-court results feel much the same as the past 6 seasons, if not longer. Head Coach Ed Cooley has a proven track record of establishing discipline and defense, but for whatever reasons in-game progress in those areas is not apparent through 14 games. A 30-point loss at Marquette was followed by a 17-point home loss to Creighton. Each team was or should be ranked, but the Hoyas did not look fully prepared for the expected quality of basketball in this conference.
Cooley preaches patience for fans and how we need to build together, but sadly that plea rings a bit ignorant of the past decade for Hoyas fans. More specifically, the 2023-24 Georgetown roster was not built in view of the recent years of fan suffering. It reflected zero urgency for the program. This year didn’t have to be a “punt” but it’s shaping up to be one.
Here we are, watching Georgetown’s best player, Jayden Epps, on the bench in a boot in a totally predictable scenario. We saw Jay Heath take a handful of games to get up to speed after his injury only to get hit with turf toe. We saw Ismael Massoud not dressing for non-conference games. We saw illness hold back Rowan Brumbaugh from going a couple games. We’ve seen Dontrez Styles’ blood more times than we would like and we hold our breaths that he won’t miss time. What happens if someone from the frontcourt misses time? As respiratory illnesses are on the rise again this month (who would have guessed?), fans see a Georgetown bench that is just too thin to battle in this conference.
Georgetown didn't have Jayden Epps in last night's 77-60 loss to Creighton, and that didn't help.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) January 3, 2024
But its biggest problem? A defense that vanished without a trace in the second half, and not for the first time. For @PostSports.https://t.co/4apavRxTqQ
The die-hard Georgetown fans are patient, but the promises are wearing thin with many. Fans are looking for any semblance of progress and improvement, but it’s just too difficult to distinguish whether it’s talent, coaching, energy, injuries, etc. that are holding them back. Cooley’s decision to carry only a short bench damned them from day one.
Cooley also said in the press conference that “it’s frustrating when we’re not playing the way we’ve practiced,” which is encouraging that practice is showing some growth, but fans can’t see that. The whole point to taking fewer players was supposed to be selecting the “right” players and building a culture for the future. Where is the discipline? Where is the defense?
Georgetown has lost 14 straight games against AP ranked schools and is the underdog against Creighton, given a 33.9% chance to win #CollegeBasketball— Thom J. K. Cunningham (@_TJKC_) January 2, 2024
We’re 14 games in and Cooley has yet to establish his identity for Georgetown. The defense has admittedly had issues with switching and helping, which feels all too familiar. Starters are logging 30+ minutes again, looking tired down the stretch. The predictable turnover issues don’t give fans confidence that players are being held accountable. The predilection for midrange shots, early in the shot clock, reflects poorly on any future offensive strategy.
While no one was hoping for the slowed-down Princeton offense to make a come back, the faster pace of Cooley’s team early in the season only seemed to exacerbate the chemistry issues that are all too apparent. Things slowed in the Creighton game a bit, but recent Georgetown seasons typified how inferior transition basketball leads to being on the wrong side of devastating runs—especially in the second half. Again, it all feels too familiar.
Other than the head coach and several names on the backs of the jerseys, fans don’t see much different this season. Looking at the final scoreboards wouldn’t change your mind either. It stinks to feel like your season is practically over in early January. It’s insane to give this program your time and energy and get the same crappy results. Has anything really changed?
You have to admit, from the outside, the Georgetown program looks very much the same. Based on the marketing, engagement, and social media, you would think it’s still the Ewing Era, right? Gameday posts are still going up only a couple hours before tip off. Highlight videos are nonexistent on X, Instagram, or YouTube. Clips of Cooley’s post-game insights are buried and never, ever spotlighted. Same standard jersey design. Same listless graphics. Same matter-of-fact press releases. At times, it feels like the Old Guard is still running the program. If there truly is change in culture behind the scenes, the fans can’t see it quite yet.
Georgetown men’s basketball still lacks urgency right now. In contrast, the women’s team is 12-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference, facing UConn on Sunday. We won’t mention how some conference rivals with new coaches have been playing. In an era of the Transfer Portal and NIL, it seems ridiculous to be this far behind a pace to mediocrity! What’s the KenPom rank today? 186?
Cooley has said in several post-game press conference that “We should be further along than that as a unit and I’m disappointed.” He’s not wrong, but again, he looks at this season without understanding fans’ decade long plight. It should be much further along.
DePaul is coming to town this weekend, and a home win against the Blue Demons should be almost automatic. This has to be a get-right game for Georgetown as they need to show progress, especially with defense, ball control, and shot selection. Show us what progress is really going on in practice and do not let DePaul get a lead.
Just get that first win to build on and avoid any more unnecessary feelings or comparisons to the Ewing Era regarding discipline, energy, effort, and fan engagement.
Step up and make the Cooley Era feel like something brand new.
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Cooley’s teams — when he was an assistant at Rhode Island and Boston College or the head coach at Fairfield and Providence — haven’t always been the most talented. But far more often than not, he has played a part in programs that could rely on defense to stay in games.
So it isn’t just jarring that the Hoyas haven’t progressed quickly enough. It’s that they’re so limited on that end in the first place. With 17 more Big East games to come, there is a clear mandate to improve, lest Tuesday’s second half become the norm rather than an early January low tide.
“They’re out there fighting,” Cooley said. “We have to fight a little bit harder. We have to be patient with their growth and development. The process of transition isn’t overnight. It isn’t over a year. It may take some time. And patience is a word people don’t like to hear, but that’s where we’re at and that’s what we’ll continue to talk about.”
“Tale of two halves there … Our defense disappeared in the second half. I loved our effort in the first 20 minutes. I thought we were connected. I thought we had some passion and enthusiasm. Then … It’s back-to-back games in the second half where we’ve just melted. Just talked to our men about that, we will get better at it and continue to improve. Obviously, we still have a long way to go. There’s 17 games left in the BIG EAST… We’ve got to get healthy, it’s unfortunate that we can’t catch a break with our lineup as we have had different lineups because of injuries, but that’s not an excuse. Defensively, we have to improve … The word collectivity defensively is so important. Right now, game 14, we should be better than this defensively.” - Head Coach Ed Cooley
Creighton fell behind by as much as 11-5 in the opening minutes and still trailed 15-10 before holding the Hoyas scoreless for nearly seven minutes as part of a 9-0 run. Baylor Scheierman’s second three-pointer of the half gave CU a 25-17 lead to cap a 14-2 run, which helped the Jays take a 28-24 lead into the half. Jay Heath scored nine points in a span of three minutes early in the game to lead GU before the break.
The Bluejays opened the second half by making seven of its first eight shots to quickly build a double-digit lead at 47-31 with 14:52 to play.. Mason Miller, Trey Alexander and Scheierman each had multiple baskets as CU pulled away.
Georgetown ground the game to a halt, and at 63 possessions it was the second-slowest game of the year for the Jays (only UNLV, at 61, was slower). Combined with a relatively poor shooting night from the perimeter, as the Jays shot 8-of-25 from three-point range (32.0%), you had the looks of a game CU often loses. Instead, they won by 17 — which is a ton in a 63 possession game.
Alexander’s second half was one of his best as a Bluejay, as he made 8-of-10 from the floor, 2-of-3 from three-point range, with three assists and a steal — and zero turnovers. It led to a season-best 25 points, and featured several of the physical drives to the rim that his game has lacked over the last month or so.
I wrote in the Postgame Recap on WBR about the Jays' dominance inside the arc last night at Georgetown. The shot chart illustrates what I'm talking about. They were a perfect 12-of-12 at the rim, and 9-of-14 on all other shots in the paint!https://t.co/lBZErjatjS#GoJays pic.twitter.com/sBnBUVdPb0— Tom Nemitz (@WBR_Tom) January 3, 2024
Ryan Kalkbrenner played a big role inside for Creighton as he finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
Rowan Brumbaugh scored 19 points and Jay Heath added 11 points for Georgetown (7-7, 0-3), which lost its third straight this season and fifth in a row to Creighton.
Heath was a replacement in the starting lineup for the Hoyas’ top scorer, Jayden Epps (17.8 points per game) who was in a walking boot, with the injury to his right foot considered day-to-day.
Without Epps, Georgetown struggled from the floor, shooting just 38.3 percent, while Creighton hit 55.9 percent from the floor and 8 of 25 (32 percent) from beyond the arc.
Whatever coach Greg McDermott might’ve said, or whatever adjustments were made, the Jays of old — the ones who were clear-cut title contenders through the first six weeks of the season — showed up and delivered a dominant second half in Tuesday’s 77-60 win over Georgetown in Washington D.C.
“He wasn’t too fired up,” Jays guard Trey Alexander said on the postgame radio show. “We just reevaluated ourselves and kind of talked amongst each other and figured out ways we could fix things. And I feel like that’s what we did.”
Creighton committed 11 turnovers in the first half and shot seven fewer shots than Georgetown in the first 20 minutes. Creighton led 28-24 at the break.
The Bluejays came out firing in the second half against Georgetown with the hopes of putting the game away. Creighton started the half shooting 8-10 from the field and extended their lead to 16.
The loss places Georgetown in a challenging position with a 0-3 conference record, indicating the need for significant improvements to stay competitive in the BIG EAST.
Georgetown shot 38.3% (23-60) from the floor
Creighton outrebounded GU 42-21
Creighton shot 55.9% (33-59) from the field
Georgetown’s record slips to 7-7 and 0-3 in BIG EAST play
The team will face DePaul University on Saturday in a pivotal game for their season trajectory