The Georgetown men’s basketball team (7-5, Big East) begins Big East play against DePaul (6-6, Big East) Wednesday night in Chicago. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. with the game televised on Fox Sports 1.
Coming off a close 62-59 win against Charlotte (2-9, Conference USA), the Hoyas are looking to move on from their worst start in 41 years. . During non-conference play, the Hoyas struggled against mid-majors, including Monmouth and Radford. As the Hoyas move into the conference schedule, they hope to better their play in almost every part of the game.
“If you look at our preseason, it didn’t go as we would’ve liked,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “At the same time, we’re okay. I think we have a ways to improve.”
Throughout non-conference play, the Hoyas were particularly plagued by struggles on defense, giving up heavy points to guard-dominated offenses. The Hoyas will look to quickly correct their defense in time to take on the strong shooters of the Big East, including DePaul junior guard Billy Garrett Jr., who averages 14.1 points per game for the Blue Demons.
“Our defense I expected to be better than it is right now. Every aspect of it,” added Thompson.
Georgetown faces a strong DePaul team on Wednesday that is coming off of an impressive 82-61 win over then-ranked George Washington (10-2, Atlantic 10) . Garrett Jr., along with senior forward Myke Henry, both average double-digit points per game to lead the Blue Demon offense. The Blue Demons are ranked fourth in the Big East in field goal percentage, shooting 46.1 percent. Georgetown swept the season series between the two teams last year. Thompson, however, is quick to acknowledge DePaul’s strength.
“Starting off on the road at DePaul, it’s going to be a big challenge,” noted Thompson.
The Hoyas have plenty of their own scorers, including Preseason All-Big East First Team honoree, senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who is averaging 15 points per game. Smith-Rivera is joined by sophomore forward Isaac Copeland, who has followed up an impressive rookie campaign with 12.2 points per game in his second year of college ball. The Hoyas have also relied heavily on senior center Bradley Hayes, who is outperforming expectations and leads the Hoyas with 8.3 rebounds per game.
Wednesday’s game provides a much needed blank slate for the Hoyas, who are now trying to prove that they still are, in fact, a legitimate contender in a conference with four teams ranked in the top twenty nationally
“We [the Big East] have some of the best teams in the country,” said Thompson. “Was the case and always will be the case.”