Fresh off a turnover-plagued 86-80 loss against the St. John’s Red Storm this last Saturday, the Georgetown men’s basketball team heads to Newark, N.J. on Tuesday to face the Seton Hall Pirates.
Georgetown (14-15, 5-11 Big East) enters Tuesday on a three-game skid, including its last two losses to DePaul (9-20, 2-14 Big East) and St. John’s (13-16, 7-9 Big East), ranked 10th and eighth in the Big East standings.
Seton Hall (18-10, 8-8 Big East) enters the final week of Big East regular-season play looking to improve its NCAA Tournament resume. The Pirates are neck-and-neck with conference rivals Providence (18-11, 8-8 Big East) and Marquette (17-11. 8-8 Big East) in the standings. Seton Hall hosts Georgetown in its final home game before heading to Indianapolis, where it looks to steal a game against No. 13 Butler (23-6, 12-5 Big East) to improve the likelihood of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Seton Hall is anchored by junior forward Angel Delgado’s 15.7 points per game and an NCAA-leading 13 rebounds per game. Junior guard Khadeen Carrington commands the Pirates offense, averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game.
Having lost five of its last six games, Georgetown’s first loss of its recent slide came in overtime against Seton Hall, falling 68-66 on Feb. 4. Delgado dominated the Hoyas, putting up 26 points and bringing down 17 rebounds. The Hoyas also benefitted from a rough shooting night from junior forward Desi Rodriguez who made 3-of-17 shots from the floor before netting the eventual game-winner.
Georgetown continues to lean on the scoring of graduate student guard Rodney Pryor and junior guard L.J. Peak, who average 18.2 and 16.6 points per game, respectively. Pryor was one of few bright spots for the Hoyas on Saturday, shooting 5-of-10 on three-pointers and 8-of-16 overall, finishing with 22 points. Peak finished with 20, but a season-high six turnovers proved too costly for Georgetown.
With the insertion of sophomore guard Kaleb Johnson into the starting lineup Saturday, the Hoyas reached their 10th starting lineup combination. Despite spurts from sophomore center Jessie Govan, the Hoyas have been unable to find consistent scoring anywhere else in their lineup.
Despite notable offensive struggles, Georgetown’s lackadaisical defense has been problematic throughout Big East play. After the DePaul loss, senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. took a shot at Georgetown’s defense.
“They got a sense that they kind of didn’t want to play that hard,” Garrett said.
Following the December loss to Marquette, senior guard Jajuan Johnson took a swipe at Georgetown’s defensive effort. In probably their best defensive game of the year, the Hoyas stifled the Golden Eagles’ offense during their rematch. After the game, Thompson alluded to Johnson’s comments as extra motivation.
“They heard a lot from me behind closed doors, but I thought our defense today was really good,” Thompson said.
Georgetown’s defense has been excellent in several games throughout the year, holding Marquette and Creighton to 20 and 33 points below their season average, respectively. But Georgetown’s No. 174 ranking in opponent scoring demonstrates its inability to play consistent, sound defense. This Tuesday will show if the combination of Georgetown player’s willingness to compete and the questioning of its coach’s job provide enough extra motivation for the Hoyas to contest Seton Hall.
Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Prudential Center. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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