Sitting at one game above .500 with four games remaining, the Georgetown men’s basketball team continues its hunt for a postseason bid as it takes on the DePaul Blue Demons on Wednesday night.
Coming off an 87-70 loss Sunday to Creighton (22-5, 9-5 Big East), Georgetown looks to bounce back against a DePaul (8-19, 1-13 Big East) team they defeated Jan. 31. DePaul comes in to the matchup losers of 10 straight games, its last win against Providence (16-11, 6-8 Big East) on Jan. 10.
Georgetown (14-13, 5-9 Big East) Head Coach John Thompson III said that his team will have a different mindset going into the matchup against DePaul. While some may think it will be an easy win given DePaul’s recent skid, Thompson refuses to believe so
“We can’t look at it like that,” Thompson said. “Our league is outstanding. You look at that team and as you start scouting and watch game after game after game, the record doesn’t matter.”
DePaul’s success this year comes from its ability to make shots from the floor and beat defenders off the dribble. Georgetown will need to focus on man-to-man as well as help defense.
“That’s been the focus this week in practice, keeping the man in front of you and making sure everyone is aware of where the ball is so our defenders have confidence,” graduate student guard Rodney Pryor said.
The Blue Demons are led by top scorers, sophomore guard Eli Cain and senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. Cain, averaging 16.1 points per game, recently scored 24 points against No. 22 Butler (21-6, 10-5 Big East) and will be watched closely by the Georgetown defense.
“You have to know where he is because when he gets it, he’s going shoot it and he’s got deep range. He takes a lot of tough shots but he makes a lot of them,” Thompson said of Cain.
On the other side of the backcourt, Garrett wreaked havoc for the Hoyas in the last matchup, scoring 25 points. He acts as a consistent scorer and floor general for DePaul, earning him high praise from Thompson.
“He’s made himself into a good shooter and he can run the team with anyone. It’s hard to fluster him, he doesn’t get flustered. Any situation you put him in he makes the right decision and picks you apart,” Thompson said.
In the last meeting, Georgetown struggled to contain the top Blue Demon guards, making for a tightly contested game. In the end, junior guard L.J. Peak scored five points in the last minute of play.
“They have scorers and at times they get into rhythms offensively and they are tough to slow down, so we have to limit their runs. And we need to score, last time our execution was not as sharp as it needed to be. L.J. made some heroic plays at the end but overall we need to be better than we were in Chicago,” Thompson said.
Currently, Georgetown is struggling to find offensive consistency. Against Creighton, the team shot over 38 percent from the floor and made only 3-of-22 three pointers. But, in the previous game against Marquette (17-10, 8-7 Big East), the Hoyas shot an improved 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc.
Peak has led the way for the Blue and Gray recently, scoring 20 points in each of the last three games. He will need to carry the team on offense once again, but he expects his team to come out strong.
“We’ve got to just come out and play Georgetown basketball,” Peak said.
To give itself a chance to make the NCAA Tournament, Georgetown needs to find more of its firepower from the Marquette (17-10, 8-7 Big East) game. Currently, five to six Big East teams are slated to make the dance, according to Joe Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology. To prove to the tournament committee that they should qualify, the Hoyas have little room for error heading into this final stretch of the season.
Tipoff for Wednesday’s game is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network and can be heard locally on 106.7 FM.
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