We Are Georgetown and You’re Not: Hoyas face No. 3 Maryland in battle for D.C.

November 16, 2015

Daniel Varghese

The Georgetown men’s basketball team (0-1, Big East) will battle for both their first win and local pride Tuesday night when they travel to College Park, Md. to renew their local rivalry with No. 3 Maryland (1-0, Big Ten). Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m.

Despite roughly 20 miles separating the two campuses, this will be the first time that the Hoyas and Terrapins meet in nearly seven years, and the first time in the D.C. area in 22 years. The last two meetings between both teams took place at neutral-site locations (2001 NCAA Tournament and 2008 Old Spice Classic).

But as part of the inaugural edition of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an eight-game series that pits Big East teams against Big Ten teams, the local rivals will face off at a sold-out XFINITY Center.

“The bragging rights are definitely there,” said senior center Bradley Hayes at the team’s media availability Monday afternoon. “It’s kind of like the game for D.C. If Maryland wins, they have bragging rights. If we win, we have bragging rights. And who knows the next time we’re going to play each other, so this is a really big game.”

Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III knows that he does not need to emphasize the importance of the game to his players.

“They understand the history,” said Thompson. They understand and have read and have heard from people, myself included, that this game is special.”

History aside, the Hoyas will look to redeem themselves after a disappointing double-overtime loss in their season opener to Radford that sent many Georgetown fans into a panic. Two days later, Thompson believed the Blue and Gray failed to execute both offensively and defensively.

“Throughout the game, Radford made the plays that were necessary to win offensively and defensively. We had our opportunities coming down the stretch. We just didn’t make winning plays. It’s both ends of the court.”

Thompson acknowledged that the Hoyas were lucky to have a chance to win late against Radford in spite of their poor play. With Maryland, however, he knows his team will have to be much sharper if they wish to keep the game competitive.

“We’re playing a team tomorrow that’s elite, “ said Thompson. “At every position, they have an elite player. There’s many things about what we did on Saturday that we can’t do if we want to put ourselves in a position to have success tomorrow.”

Maryland enters this season with much hype following a 28-win season in 2014-15, which included a Round of 32 finish in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010. Sophomore guard Melo Trimble, the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, leads the way for the Terrapins. The Upper Marlboro, Md. native was the team’s leading scorer (16.2 points per game) and assist man (3.0 assists per game) last season. And unlike the Hoyas, they handily defeated an inferior opponent in their season opener. The Terrapins blew out Mount St. Mary’s 80-56 last Friday night.

“Maryland have earned the rights to where they are,” said Georgetown senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. “Last year, they had a great run. They have a great team with a lot of players who are talented. Tomorrow will be a challenge for us.”

Smith-Rivera got off to a slow start against Radford both offensively and defensively. Although he finished with 15 points, the senior co-captain had zero points in the first half and was sloppy with his ball-handling. He hopes to reverse that Tuesday night and start more aggressively.

“I feel like I get another chance, especially with such a big game like this.”

Thompson hopes that Smith-Rivera and Hayes, the Hoyas’ two captains, back up their words with deeds, when they take the floor against the Terrapins, venturing to say that the Hoyas as a whole “need some leading with our actions as much as our words.”

But with all the anxiety surrounding the Hoyas for their lackluster play against Radford, Thompson expects his team to be ready. Georgetown-Maryland sells itself.

“ I don’t think there needs to an additional amount of conversation for this game,” said Thompson. “They understand what [the rivalry] is.”

The Voice will be making the short drive to XFINITY Center Tuesday night to cover the rivalry game. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @GUVoiceSports for our live tweets and coverage leading up to, during, and after the game.


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