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Game Grades: Hoyas Outlast DePaul for Cooley’s First Big East Win

Georgetown scored well on their college boards in this one

DePaul v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Your Georgetown Hoyas handled DePaul and is now halfway to their conference win total from the past two seasons. In a battle of Big East bottom dwellers, the Hoyas looked like the better side of the matchup despite struggling to distance themselves from the Blue Demons throughout the game.

Let’s get into it!

Supreme Cook - C

14pts, 3-5 60% FG, 8-12 66% FT, 4 REB, 1 BLK, 27 MIN

I am very torn. On the one hand, Supreme continues to play with effort and energy. He played hard again against DePaul. On the other hand, he was the only starter who finished in the negative yesterday, at -7. Further muddying the waters, he finished with a team-high 1.167 PPP. I was pleasantly surprised to see he shot 60% (I could have sworn he missed more than two shots), and his 8-12 from the line was huge. My takeaway from all this is he was a positive on offense and a negative on defense. There are times when he’s been a negative on both ends, so this was definitely an improvement. However, his defense needs to improve. This is by no means a good defensive team, and he is often put in challenging positions by a team that can’t always contain penetration. As I mentioned in the Creighton grades, his help defense needs to improve. And frankly, four rebounds is not good enough. I think it comes down to decision-making an processing speed on the defensive end, which can improve, but he needs to be quicker to recognize the right coverage and react.

Dontrez Styles - C+

7pts, 3-7 42% FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 50% FT, 13 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 33 MIN

I really enjoy watching Dontrez play. He’s getting a C+ because of his offensive output and four turnovers which is a real outlier for him. Otherwise, he was extremely solid. He was a monster on the glass when really no one else could be bothered. He finished a team-high +8 despite a team-worst .583 PPP. His offense just wasn’t there in this one. He’s shown enough that I think this is an outlier. Even when he struggles a bit, he doesn’t chuck up bad shots. Everything he does is within the flow of the offense. He missed a wide-open corner three late in this one that would have probably sealed it. That shot came off nice action, and it would have been a great cap to this game. He got it back with the offensive rebound tip in that sealed it. His feel for the game continues to impress me. Build around this dude!

Ismael Massoud - C+

13pts, 5-10 50% FG, 1-3 33% 3PT, 2-2 FT, 7 REB, 2 TO, 36 MIN

Ish didn’t have the monster game I predicted, but he was pretty good. You can see he is a leader on this team, and I think he does a lot to settle guys down and make sure they are in the right position. He hit a couple of big shots for the Hoyas early in this one when they struggled to score. I still wouldn’t mind seeing him operate out of the post some, but that seems like it’s a pipe dream. He’s actually really well suited to the flex offense with his ability to shoot from the elbow, even though Cooley runs fewer flex sets than ever. More often than not, he is in the right position. His quickness holds him back a bit but he had a couple of rotations late that really helped defensively. Solid, if unspectacular, game for him.

Jayden Epps - C-

10pts, 4-11 36% FG, 2-7 28% 3PT, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 29 MIN

I didn’t like Jayden’s game in this one, and I’ll chalk some of it up to the sore ankle. He also took a knock early in this one and looked like he got poked in the eye, which has happened like 4 times to him this year. He shot poorly, but I don’t mind that so much. He’ll be better, and he manages to create for teammates even though the offense can get a little heliocentric when he has the ball. It’s the defense for me that needs to improve. He actually had a couple of good defensive possessions in this one, including a late one where he got a strip. He’s good with his hands, and my frustration comes from the fact that he’s shown he can defend when he wants to. He was decent in the first half and looked locked in early. But as the second half went along and his shot wasn’t falling, he had a couple of horrible possessions. Particularly when they went zone, he missed a few rotations, one that led to a killer three from DePaul that nuked Georgetown’s momentum. It looked like he recognized the shooter on the wing but just didn’t get out there. And there are definitely times when his off-ball rotations are lacking. The effort needs to improve on that end.

Rowan Brumbraugh - B-

10pts, 3-8 37% FG, 3-6 50% 3PT, 1-2 FT, 1 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 33 MIN

Tale of two halves for Rowan in this one. He wasn’t terrible in the first half but definitely was great. He was excellent in the second half, and not just because he hit a couple of huge threes that helped Georgetown take command. This is sort of what we’re getting from Rowan right now: one great half. That’s not atypical for a young player with as much responsibility as he does. And the highs when he has it going are good enough to get excited about him putting a full performance together. I think we’ll get that as the year progresses. The offense runs better when he’s out there, even if he isn’t getting assists. He’s still got a ways to go defensively, but the focus and effort are there. His rotations are impressive, he just needs to improve his on-ball defense - he’s sort of the exact opposite of Jayden. Two turnovers is an improvement, but the two he had were totally unforced. He had a chance to seal the game with two late free throws and only hit one. He seems to want to be in those spots, though, which is encouraging.

Jay Heath - D+

2pts, 1-4 25% FG, 0-2 3PT, 3 REB, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 18 MIN

I thought Coach Cooley got back to what I hope is his regular rotation with Jay coming off the bench. Jay is turning into the Jahvon Blair of this team for me. That is, he is a potential microwave scorer who is either playing well or poorly, and you’ll know fairly quickly into his first stint. If he’s not good in his first 5 minutes, I would limit how much he plays. He didn’t have a good offensive performance in this one. He gets two kinds of shots: catch and shoot threes off of pindowns and rub screens - he missed on both of those in this game. And ISOs with everyone else watching. He hit one of those. I’d much prefer the former, which comes off of good offense. His defense was more disappointing than his offense in this one. He’s just not connected to the rest of the team on that end, and he takes odd gambles that compromise the rest of the defense. He came in with a reputation as a great primary defender. We haven’t seen evidence of that yet, and I am losing hope that we will.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - B

3pts, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 TO, 7 MIN

Short minutes for WBJ, but he played well when he was in. He hit a big three to bail out possession and was active when he was in. His challenge is that he plays behind Dontrez, who is very difficult to remove from the floor.

Drew Fielder - B

9pts, 3-5 60% FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 0 TO, 17 MIN

I thought Drew was great again in his minutes. He struggled a bit to rebound, but other than that, he was very solid and hit some big shots, including a corner three that helped stabilize Georgetown. His defense is improving by the game, and he still needs to get stronger, but I don’t know what to tell you if you can’t see the upside by now.

Other Grades

Coaching - C+

Coach Cooley got his first conference win at Georgetown, and I thought they deserved this one. It wasn’t pretty, but they were better and looked prepared. I thought their rotations were right on, and I hope the move to bring Jay off the bench sticks. I think he could give WBJ some of Jay’s minutes at Guard if he doesn’t have it going, but he has a good eight-man rotation when everyone is healthy.

Offense - C

The offense was OK, not great. They did enough to win. They only finished with 12 assists, but frankly, that was more about missed shots than them not sharing the ball. They had a couple of possessions that looked nice and ended with a missed wide-open shot.

Defense - C+

The defense was better. Not fantastic, but certainly improved. They struggled to rebound at times, putting additional pressure on their defense. I think a lot of the defensive struggles are coming from a few key spots on the perimeter and the rim protection. There are some simple things that players just need to clean up, and the defense would look a lot better. I don’t know whether they have the personnel to improve those things. They went to zone later in the second half. I thought that was well-timed and it would have looked better if a few guys were a little sharper in their rotations.

Next up - Seton Hall

There are no easy weeks in the Big East. Georgetown welcomes a resurrected Seton Hall squad that has beaten UConn, Marquette, and Providence at home. After a bad non-conference slate, Seton Hall has it going and will be a really tough test. They profile as the type of team Georgetown struggles against. They don’t shoot the three a lot or well (in the most ironic twists, the Hoyas actually have a top-100 three-point defense). Seton Hall hammers the paint and gets a lot of offensive rebounds. If you’re looking for a barometer game for defensive improvement, this is it. The Hall will test everything Georgetown has struggled with. Before the season, I had this as a Hoyas win. I thought Seton Hall would be bad. They are not bad. In fact, they are very good. I don’t see how Georgetown wins this one, but I would love to be wrong.