The Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-5, 1-0 Big East) will return home to play the Marquette Golden Eagles (10-3, 0-1 Big East) Saturday evening at Verizon Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., with the game televised on Fox Sports 1.
The Hoyas are coming off a 70-58 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons (6-7, 0-1 Big East) to open up Big East play. Senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and sophomore forward Isaac Copeland each scored 15 points in the winning effort, and sophomore guard L.J. Peak chipped in with 14 points off the bench. Sophomore guard Tre Campbell started in place of Peak for the first time this season, posting two assists and two steals in 18 minutes of action.
The Golden Eagles fell in their first conference game to the Seton Hall Pirates (11-2, 1-0 Big East) 83-63. Freshman guard Haanif Cheatham led the team with 17 points, while freshman forward Henry Ellenson posted a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Golden Eagles struggled offensively, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and connecting on only one of 11 three-point attempts, while turning it over 18 times.
Ellenson, the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2015, leads the Golden Eagles in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg), and is quickly developing into one of the most dependable low-post scorers in the Big East. The Marquette frontcourt also features junior forward Luke Fischer, who leads the team in shooting percentage at 62.5 percent, and averages 14.3 ppg and 8.4 rpg.
The Hoyas have matched up well this season against opposing frontcourts, handling the likes of Maryland’s freshman forward Diamond Stone and Duke’s senior forward Amile Jefferson, two of the top big men in the country. The Georgetown committee of big men featuring senior center Bradley Hayes, freshman center Jessie Govan, and freshman forward Marcus Derrickson has been effective in putting pressure on opposing forwards, and will look to take advantage of the Golden Eagles’ heavy reliance on interior scoring.
However, Georgetown has struggled against talented opposing guards, including Duke’s sophomore guard Grayson Allen, who torched the Hoyas for 32, and Maryland’s sophomore guard Melo Trimble, who slashed his way to 18 free throws and 24 points. In order to limit the Golden Eagles offensively, the Hoyas will seek to control the dribble penetration of Cheatham to keep Marquette off the free throw line.
On the other side, Georgetown will look for Smith-Rivera to continue to get back on track after going through a cold shooting spell to end nonconference play. Going into the opener with DePaul, where he connected on both of his attempts from deep, Smith-Rivera had been three for his last 22 from behind the arc. The Hoyas will also look to keep riding the play of Copeland, who has reached double figures in each of his last five games, and in 11 of 13 games this season.
A win against Marquette in the single game homestand would lengthen the Hoya winning streak to three-in-a-row.