After suffering a shocking upset in their season opener against Radford University last season, the Hoyas came out in this season’s opener and dominated from start to finish, beating USC- Upstate 105-60 in front of 8,076 fans at the Verizon Center Saturday afternoon.
Transfer and graduate student guard Rodney Pryor had quite the opening performance for his new team, scoring 32 points — 26 of which came in the first half — and was one shy of tying the school record for most three-pointers made in a single game. He finished the game 13-of-16 from the field and went 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“My team needs me to be aggressive on the offensive end. Just look at the basket and seeing if I have a good look,” Pryor said of his mentality going into the game. “If not, then get other people the ball.”
“When you have someone who can shoot from the wing like that, it’s going to make a huge difference for that team, and he has a lot of length to be able to shoot over people. So that bodes well for them for the rest of the season,” USC Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne said.
After much talk in the days and months leading up to the season opener about the Hoyas playing a faster style of offense, it was the defense that helped Georgetown jump out to an early 12-4 lead. Back-to-back steals by freshman guard Jagan Mosely and junior forward Isaac Copeland kept the Spartans from advancing the ball past halfcourt on their first three possessions of the game.
“It got us going,” junior guard L.J. Peak said of the quick steals. “We started the game off right with a lot of pressure and they just couldn’t handle it.”
For the third straight year, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III inserted a freshman into the starting lineup in the season opener, and, this year, it was Mosely who earned that honor. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound guard from New Jersey was the primary ballhandler when he was on the court and finished with a stat line of six points, six assists, three rebounds, four steals and zero turnovers. He pushed the ball in transition and did a good job moving the ball on offense.
“Six assists and zero turnovers, he does a lot of things that show up in the box score and some that don’t, but he is very poised,” Thompson said.
To start the game, Pryor hit four consecutive threes midway through the first to give his team a 32-10 lead. The Hoyas continued to apply pressure on the ball, resulting in 42 points off turnovers and 22 fast break points.
Junior guard Tre Campbell joined the party midway through the first half when he came around a screen with the ball and spotted up from three to make it 37-17 Georgetown.
With time winding down in the first half, junior transfer guard Jonathan Mulmore scored the first points of his Georgetown career on a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 57-22, and then an Isaac Copeland tip-in at the buzzer made it 68-35 going into the half. The 68 points were the most scored in a single half by Georgetown in program history.
However, coming out of the half, the Hoyas let their foot off the gas pedal, scoring only six points in eight minutes. But their defense kept the Spartans from mounting any semblance of a comeback, as the closest they got in the second half was a 31-point deficit.
With time winding down, Mulmore ripped the ball away from a Spartan player and went coast-to-coast, finishing with a euro step layup to increase the lead to 98-56 with 3:50 left. In his Georgetown debut, Mulmore scored nine points, to go along with two assists and two steals.
The crowd started chanting, “Triple digits!” after two free throws from junior guard Tre Campbell gave the Hoyas 100 points on the day. The last time Georgetown scored 100 points or more in a regulation game was in 2010, when the then-No. 7 Hoyas defeated then-No. 2 Villanova at home, 103-90.
Soon thereafter, Thompson III brought in the reserves to close the game out.
The Hoyas now turn to their first ranked opponent of the season, the No. 25 Maryland Terrapins, a team that defeated the Blue and Gray 75-71 last season in College Park. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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