SCOUTING GEORGETOWN!! ROUND 2 VS THE HOYAS!!
Andy Mac Williams,
Xavier beat Georgetown 81-75 back on January 9th at Cintas to even its BIG EAST record at 2-2. Travis Steele started and played BIGS Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins together for the first time and they thrived against a long physical GU team(combined 42 points-20 rebounds-on the floor 19 minutes together). Quentin Goodin did not play(sore knee). Elias Harden and Ryan Welage absorbed extra minutes off the bench(24 and 21). The Muskies trailed by 17 late in the first half as the Hoyas made their first 6 three pointers. Travis Steele smashed a dry erase board. X went zone defense-rallied and held off every G-town run.
The win revealed Xavier's template for success-anywhere-home-road-neutral court-day-night-holidays-anywhere!! That formula includes low turnovers(4 that night)-a rebounding edge(36-32 vs GU with more offensive boards) and productive foul shooting(22 for 28 vs 15-18 for Georgetown).
Defensively, X made G-town take tough twos off the dribble and settle for long threes over the zone looks. If Xavier can repeat that performance in DC Thursday night(8PM-CBS SN), slow down the quick tempo Hoyas and turn several live ball G-town turnovers into easy fast break buckets, XU has a strong chance to post a critical road victory.
Quentin Gooden will be available this time. He seems to be approaching full health after a rough January dealing with the knee.
Xavier's one of eight BIG EAST teams separated by just a half game log jammed behind leader Villanova(7-0) #14 both Top 25s and 2nd place Marquette(7-1) #9 AP #10 Coaches Poll( not including four Wednesday BE games). 3-5 XU needs "Ws" now to enhance their less than stellar metrics(83 NCAA NET-90 KenPom).
A win at Georgetown on the road would move the needle in the right direction(73 NET). Positive results away from Cintas have been a problem for Xavier TEAM 97(1-4 on the road,1-2 BIG EAST roaders, 2-6 away from Victory Parkway including 1-2 on Maui). Now is the time to reverse course away from Cincy.
Despite the 3 game losing streak(at Villanova, home to PC and Marquette), TEAM 97 attitude and effort remain strong. All three games were winnable. 18 XU turnovers sunk them in the 645-62 loss to Providence. Unreal three point shooting beat them at VU and home vs MU(Both Top 15 teams).
Georgetown is 13-7 overall, 3-4 in the BIG EAST, 9-4 in DC. GU plays almost every game close. Their 4 BE defeats are by a total of 16 points. G-town is 3-1 in overtime games including a wild double OT 96-90 victory over PC in DC when Hoya
Frosh guards Mac Mc Clung and James Akjino made long threes to force the game into OT #1 then OT#2. McClung missed 4 games including at Xavier with an ankle injury. He's been back for four games now and is averaging 19PPG in that span including 12 for 29 from three. Mac is a relentless scorer and hustler-sort of a mini- J P Macura type. Mc Cling is a Virginia High School legend. He broke Allen Iverson's career State scoring record.
Mac and fellow Frosh James Akinjo(13.4PPG-5 assists) make for a dynamic back court. They do force things frequently and make some glaring mistakes. X should be able to post them up with bigger guards Scruggs, Gooden and Castlin.
GU's Senior star is 6-10 250 Center Jessie Govan(20PPG-8 plus rebounds-27 and 9 vs XU on Jan 9th). Govan makes shots everywhere(post-up-midrange-three-FTs). He can coast on defense though. Springy 6-9 Frosh Josh LeBlanc gives GU another inside weapon(10PPG-7.6 rebounds). 6-8 Soph Jamorko Pickett rounds out the starting 5.
The Hoya bench is deep. 6-9 Senior Trey Mourning(Alonzo's son) is back after missing XU#1(7PPG-5 REB0. Tough Junior PG Jagan Mosley gives more size(6-3 215) than the two frosh.
Grad transfer guard Greg Malinowski(6-6 from William and Mary) is a viable passer and deep shooter. Steady 6-7 Senior Kaleb Johnson is a dangerous lefty low block threat and strong defender. 6-3 Soph Jahvon Blair hurt Xavier last season, but must be in Coach Pat Ewing's dog house now.
Georgetown is deep and versatile. Ewing will use his bench to force up the tempo and try to wear less deep Xavier out. He did that successfully in an entertaining fast paced 89-78 win Sunday at MSG over St Johns.
GU will press some and mix half court defenses. Turnovers(14/game) have been a problem. Xavier must pounce on them-get into transition and attack and finish at the rim. Controlling tempo and pounding the ball inside at Govan and LeBlanc and Mourning and Johnson is paramount.
Getting Govan to defend and into foul trouble(ala Marquette;s Theo John last Saturday) would be Primo. 20 minutes of Tyrique and Hankins together on the floor playing block to block and high low-rebounding out of the zone and sprinting back against G-town's fast break is probably a must.
They Hoyas can make threes, but they are not as deadly as Villanova or Marquette(who is??). GU can be too eager to run and forget that Govan inside is almost unstoppable if they look for him.
Xavier has a real shot here. They need this and then Creighton Super Sunday(1PM EST-FSN) in Omaha to regain .500 in the BIG EAST and keep the Holy Grail of 10 BE wins in sight. Xavier 75 Georgetown 72. Omaha is next!.