The Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-8, 6-2 Big East) looks to beat a second top-10 team this season when it faces the No.10 Providence Friars (17-4, 5-3 Big East) on Saturday at Verizon Center. Tip-off is set for 8:00p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
The Hoyas are coming off a come-from-behind win against Creighton (14-7, 5-3 Big East) in which they outscored the Blue Jays 15-3 with 2:30 remaining in the game. Senior guard D’Vauntes Smith- Rivera led the late-game heroics, hitting two free throws with 6.2 seconds left to finalize the one-point Hoya win.
“We just kept pushing and playing hard, and eventually made the plays to win,” said sophomore forward Isaac Copeland.
The Hoyas will face one of their strongest opponents of the year, with Providence featuring an intimidating multi-talented offense. The Friars are led by junior guard Kris Dunn, one of the strongest point guards in the country. Dunn is averaging 16.9 points per game and 7.1 assists per game.
Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III praised the 21-year-old guard. “Kris [Dunn], he’s one of those special players where you’d be lucky if you coach just one of those in your lifetime.”
Providence, coming off of a 75-68 loss to No.7 Xavier (18-2, 6-2 Big East), also features sophomore forward Ben Bentil, who averages 20.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The Bentil-Dunn combination has enabled the Friars to be one of the strongest offenses in the nation.
Senior center Bradley Hayes took note of Bentil and Dunn’s scoring abilities. “That’s something that we have to focus on, [Bentil] and Kris Dunn,” said Hayes. “We have to stop them from scoring. I think if we do that, we can have a pretty successful game.”
Providence’s high-tempo offense is not without mistakes, however. Kris Dunn averages 3.6 turnovers per game, and his judgment has been questioned by many NBA scouts. There is no question Providence can score, but their shot selection often leaves them with empty possessions. The Hoyas will look to use this against the Friars on Saturday.
“Any time we can make points off of their mistakes is going to be big,” Hayes added. “That’s another way that we’re going to be able to win the game, that we can capitalize off of their mistakes.”
Saturday’s game provides another opportunity for Georgetown to prove themselves against a nationally recognized team. Georgetown is currently tied for second in the Big East and will need as many impressive wins as possible in order to make the case for a tournament appearance. Given the quality of their upcoming opponents, this very well could be a possibility.
“I think our conference is the best in the nation,” said Hayes. “If you can be successful in this league, I think you’re a pretty good team.”