After a long-awaited return home to Verizon Center, the Georgetown Hoyas (2-3) downed the Bryant Bulldogs (2-4) 77-47 behind 20 points from sophomore guard L.J. Peak. Freshman forward Marcus Derrickson added 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
In the final game of the 2K Classic, Bryant was missing its leading scorer in sophomore guard Hunter Ware. Bryant shot 4-of-25 from the three-point line, including several uncontested looks.
“He’s a kid who can actually shoot it pretty well,” Bryant Head Coach Tim O’Shea said. “[He] really could have made a difference for us because he’s a terrific shooter. He’s a scorer, he’s the kid who had 24 [points] at Duke.”
The Bulldogs showed their youth and inexperience, continuing their high turnover rate on the season, which already ranked near the bottom of all Division I schools, per KenPom.com. They also had easy looks at the basket early on, which they failed to capitalize on.
“One time I looked up, and we had a couple freshmen and a couple sophomores playing. This is a big stage, and I think maybe nerves played into [missing our early lay-ups] a little bit,” O’Shea said.
However, the Hoyas came out sluggish to start the game, and the Bulldogs were within five points until the four-minute mark of the first half.
“I thought our man-to-man defense was not good at all,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said.
Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland and senior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera then took over, hitting back-to-back threes to push the Georgetown lead to 14 at the half. The Hoyas also switched to a zone defense and began to stifle the Bulldogs’ shooters.
“We decided to lock down and really focus on defense and running in transition, so that really worked in our favor,” Copeland said.
Georgetown also came out hot to start the second half, with junior forward Reggie Cameron hitting two three-pointers to push the Hoyas’ lead to 20. Derrickson also increased his level of aggression and crashed the offensive boards en route to his double-double.
“The way Marcus pursued the ball today is something he can do and that we need him to do,” Thompson said.
The rest of the team picked up the scoring load on an off day for Smith-Rivera, who tallied just nine points on the day, including just 1-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
“It was just an off day for him,” Thompson said, when asked if Bryant’s defense successfully shut down Smith-Rivera.
“We knew he was a good shooter. We just tried to be there on the catch, and some of it is, sometimes a guy just has an off day,” O’Shea added.
Smith-Rivera’s play on the season has been lackluster in comparison to his last two seasons. Today, he routinely appeared lethargic on closeouts on the Bulldogs’ shooters and missed many shots he is normally capable of making. On the season, Smith-Rivera is now shooting an inefficient 32 percent from three-point range this year.
Regardless, Georgetown performed well against an undersized Bryant team, showcasing its depth and ability to play multiple lineups effectively. The Hoyas also saw the return of sophomore forward Paul White, who played 10 minutes and grabbed five rebounds.
“I thought he looked okay,” Thompson said of White’s play. “But it’s going to take some time. I thought he was moving pretty well. He’s going to be fine.”
Georgetown now looks ahead to Tuesday’s matchup at home against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (1-4). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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