Looking to avoid a 0-4 start to Big East play, the Georgetown men’s basketball team host the surging No. 18 Butler Bulldogs in a Saturday matinee matchup.
Butler (13-2, 2-1 Big East) comes off a huge win against No. 1 Villanova (14-1, 2-1 Big East). The Bulldogs extended their home winning streak to 12 games and ended Villanova’s 20-game win streak, which dates back to last March. The 66-58 victory marks Butler’s fifth win in its past six games, and the team comes into the matchup playing its best basketball of the year.
Butler has performed well on the defensive side of the court this season, holding opponents to an average of 64.1 points per game, good enough for 38th in Division I. Comparatively, Georgetown (8-7, 0-3 Big East) has struggled on defensive of late, giving up 77.2 points per game this season.
The Bulldogs’ 49.6-percent team field goal percentage ranks 15th in NCAA Division I and is three percentage points higher than that of the Blue and Gray’s.
Junior forward Kelan Martin leads the way for Butler, averaging 17.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. In addition, the rise of unsung heroes like senior guard Kethan Savage makes Butler very dangerous to play. Savage, averaging only 4.6 points per game, came up huge for the Bulldogs in the upset win over Villanova, scoring five of his 13 points during a decisive seven-point run late in the game.
Georgetown must make changes heading into this matchup if the team is to upset the stalwart Bulldogs. The Hoyas have recently gone cold from the free throw line, only making 8-of-16 from the stripe in Wednesday’s 76-70 loss to Providence (11-5, 1-2 Big East). This shooting performance follows an inefficient 61 percent from the line against Xavier (12-2, 2-0 Big East).
In the loss at Providence, the team’s second leading scorer, junior guard L.J. Peak, was held to just six points. Sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson scored a career-high 26 points, grabbed six rebounds and drained four threes, carrying Georgetown’s offense to the end. Junior forward Akoy Agau notched his first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing a career-high 12 boards.
The Hoyas look to these players to bolster the team’s scoring depth and to complement the play of Peak and graduate student guard Rodney Pryor. Georgetown currently owns the worst conference record in the Big East, and with seven of the other nine Big East teams having won at least 10 games already, another loss would dig Georgetown’s hole — one the team must climb out of if it is to qualify for postseason play — even deeper.
Tipoff for the game is at 12 p.m. this Saturday at the Verizon Center. The game will be televised nationally on Fox and can be heard locally on 99.1 FM.
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