Following a double-digit loss to the Butler Bulldogs (15-7, 4-6 Big East) Tuesday, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-10, 6-4 Big East) will travel to New Jersey for a date with Seton Hall (16-6, 6-4 Big East) Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 9:00 p.m., with the game televised on CBS Sports Network.
The Hoyas will look to snap a two-game losing streak, the first the Blue and Gray have suffered during conference play. Georgetown currently sits tied for third in the conference standings alongside Seton Hall and No. 11 Providence (18-5, 6-4 Big East). A victory over the Pirates would give the Hoyas a legitimate chance of finishing within the top third of the conference, which would improve their chances of earning an NCAA tournament berth.
In their loss to Butler, Georgetown was led by senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who recorded 21 points and seven assists, while sophomore guard LJ Peak scored 22 points of his own. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland continued to struggle finding his shot, scoring 11 points on just 4-13 shooting. Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III debuted a new starting lineup for the game as well, electing to start freshman guard Kaleb Johnson for the first time this season.
“I think that the energy Kaleb brings can be infectious,” said Thompson. “I think coming down the stretch here [the lineup] may be game to game depending on matchups.”
While Georgetown has struggled as of late, Seton Hall seems to have found its groove. The Pirates are currently riding a three-game winning streak, and will look to capitalize on the stellar play of sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead (16.2 points per game, 4.7 assists per game), who scored a game-high 21 points in Seton Hall’s most recent victory over Marquette. Thompson and the Hoyas are well aware of Whitehead’s impact on a game.
“He clearly, even though he’s one of the best scorers in the league, has embraced the role of a facilitator,” said Thompson. “I think their team is better because of that.”
Whitehead is not the only factor the Hoyas will have to contend with on Saturday. Seton Hall is the conference’s top offensive rebounding team, averaging 13.7 per game, while Georgetown gives up 11.4 offensive rebounds a game. It will be a point of emphasis Saturday.
“We have to control them on the boards,” said Thompson. “We have to make sure that when and if we get them to miss a shot, that it doesn’t become a second opportunity for them,” he said.
In a season in which every game down the stretch impacts the Blue and Gray’s tournament résumé, Saturday night could determine the fate of the Hoyas’ season.
“Time is running out,” said Thompson. “We have to find a way to get a W.”