CHARLOTTE—The Georgetown men’s basketball team (6-5, Big East), will look to snap its two-game losing streak when it visits Charlotte (2-8, Conference USA) Tuesday night. The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m.
In their final test before Big East play begins at DePaul on Dec. 30, the Hoyas will attempt to right the ship after two consecutive home losses to mid-major opponents, Monmouth and UNC Asheville. The listless efforts have contributed to Georgetown’s worst 11-game start in 41 years.
“We’re in a bad place right now and we have to pull ourselves out of it,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III after his team’s loss to Asheville this past Saturday.
Although Thompson said there wasn’t “anyone that played well” against Asheville on Saturday, freshman guard Kaleb Johnson and senior center Bradley Hayes will look to continue their strong performances. Johnson scored a career-high 16 points off the bench on perfect 5-of-5 shooting in just 20 minutes played Saturday.
Hayes had his third double-double of the season, 11 points and 18 rebounds, becoming the first Hoya to have 18 or more rebounds since Mike Sweetney pulled down 19 rebounds in 2003. The seven-footer has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in three of the Hoyas’ last four contests, but knows the Hoyas must improve their defensive efforts.
“I think we just have to be disciplined for the whole shot clock,” said Hayes after Saturday’s loss.
The Blue and Gray’s three-point defense has been especially poor, as the Hoyas’ last three opponents have combined to shoot 50 percent, 26-of-52.
“The last couple of games our defense has been what’s let us down. It’s glaring,” said Thompson.
Senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera struggled to find his shooting touch from downtown as of late, combining to shoot 3-of-18 from behind the arc in the Hoyas’ last two games, both losses.
“I’m not worried about D’Vauntes’ shot,” said Thompson. “He has to take the right shots at the right times and when he does that he makes more than he misses.”
As for the Hoyas’ opposition, the 49ers have had a rough start to their season as well despite entering Tuesday night on a winning note after an 82-66 victory at Appalachian State this past Saturday. The win snapped a six-game losing streak that included defeats to power-conference teams including Syracuse, Michigan, Washington, and Miami (FL).
Junior guard Braxton Ogbueze leads the team in scoring, 11.2 points per game, and made three-pointers, 25. Senior center Joseph Uchebo paces the 49ers on the glass, averaging 8.2 rebounds in just 19.5 minutes per game.
But with all the negativity surrounding the program recently, Thompson still has confidence that his team will be able to figure out their problems.
“I still believe in this group, but we just have to get ourselves out of this hole we’re in right now,” said Thompson. “There is a lot of season left for that to happen and so we just have to fight.”
The redemption tour starts Tuesday at Charlotte.