MEN'S BASKETBALL | Towson Matchup Brings Transfer Back
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 00:12
Entering a lull in its nonconference schedule after a series of high-profile wins, No. 15 Georgetown (6-1) will look to avoid a letdown tomorrow against visiting Towson (4-4).
The Blue and Gray will come in as heavy favorites against the Tigers, a Colonial Athletic Association squad that has struggled mightily in recent years. But the real story — particularly for older fans — lies not in the result of the game but in the return of a former Hoya.
Towson junior Jerrelle Benimon played at Georgetown his freshman and sophomore years before transferring in the spring of 2011. A 6-foot-8 forward, he played spot minutes off the bench in two seasons under Head Coach John Thompson III. Benimon did not play last season due to NCAA transfer regulations, and tomorrow’s game will be his first at Verizon Center without a Georgetown jersey.
While Benimon never averaged more than two points per game as a Hoya, he has quickly taken on a leadership role with his new team. He leads the Tigers in scoring and rebounding at 16.3 and 9.9 per game, respectively, and led them to an upset of Vermont on Wednesday with a dominant 29-point, 10-rebound performance.
Benimon’s reception at the Phonebooth will be at least as interesting to watch as the game. On the one hand, the Georgetown faithful aren’t known to be especially vindictive; on the other, Benimon often frustrated fans with his questionable shot selection and untimely fouls in his days as a Hoya. At the very least, expect to see greater student turnout than a nonconference game early on a Saturday would usually bring.
For all his improvement this year, though, it’s hard to see the former Hoya lifting Towson to a level where it could hope to compete with Georgetown. The Tigers are less than a year removed from an NCAA-record 41-game losing streak, and Head Coach Pat Skerry simply doesn’t have the talent to run with the Hoyas.
While Georgetown blew Texas out of Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Thompson III was dissatisfied with his team’s offensive execution, and the specter of last weekend’s 37-point outing against Tennessee still lingers. The eighth-year coach will likely look for a near-perfect effort from his players before being able to rest easy tomorrow.
But as long as the Hoyas show up to play — not a guarantee by any means, as they often come out flat against inferior competition — they’ll likely jump out to an early lead for the second straight contest. Thompson III emptied the entire bench at the end of the Texas game, and fans should anticipate a similar outing.
Tipoff for the “Benimon Bowl,” as popular Georgetown blog Casual Hoya has dubbed it, is slated for noon tomorrow at Verizon Center.