The Georgetown men’s basketball team (14-12, 7-6 Big East) is set to kick off its final homestand of the season Wednesday night against the Seton Hall Pirates (17-7, 7-5, Big East). The Hoyas will desperately attempt to even the season series against the Pirates, as the few remaining opportunities to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee continue to dwindle. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. at Verizon Center, with the broadcast provided by Fox Sports 1.
The Pirates got the better of the Blue and Gray in the first matchup of the season between the two schools, topping the Hoyas 69-61 in Prudential Center. Seton Hall sophomore forward Angel Delgado tied a career-high 19 points in the victory, shooting 8-of-12 from the field. The 6-foot-9 Dominican paired his hot hand with an impressive display on the boards, pulling down 13 rebounds to complete the double-double. Delgado’s classmate, sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, contributed 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists of his own. Georgetown sophomores Isaac Copeland and L.J. Peak led the scoring for the Hoyas, pouring in 18 and 17, respectively, in the losing effort.
Not much has gone right for the Hoyas following the loss. Though Georgetown did manage to beat up on the cellar-dwelling St. John’s Red Storm (7-19, 0-13, Big East) 92-67 in Verizon Center, they also blew a would-be miraculous comeback away against the slumping No. 23 Providence Friars (19-7, 7-6 Big East) on Saturday after trailing by 20 after the first half, sinking to sixth place in the conference. With under one minute remaining, and the Hoyas trailing 73-70, Copeland was gifted three free throws to complete the furious Georgetown comeback. The sophomore missed the first, and the Friars took care of business at the line on their next possession, sealing a 75-72 victory. Freshman guard Marcus Derrickson led the Blue and Gray with 18 points and 9 rebounds in the heartbreaking loss. The Hoyas’ leading scorer on the season, senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, scored only three points off 1-of-8 shooting.
But perhaps the most frustrating news for the Hoyas was the loss of senior center Bradley Hayes, who broke his left hand during practice on Thursday. Hayes has been ruled out indefinitely, and may have played his last game of an impressive final campaign that turned heads all across the country due to his dramatic improvement from years past. The co-captain’s 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game will be sorely missed.
The Pirates, on the other hand, have succeeded a 2014-2015 season spoiled by locker-room issues with a 2015-2016 tour that sits them at third place in the conference and a solid position to make some noise on Selection Sunday.
Seton Hall boasts four players that average double-digit points per game, including Whitehead at 16.6, sophomore guard Khadeen Carrington at 13.8, sophomore forward Desi Rodriguez at 11.8, and Delgado at 10.5. The sophomore core has led the Pirates to an impressive away win against Providence, and a one-point loss at home to the now No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (22-3, 12-1 Big East) after finishing only 6-12 in the conference the year before. Seton Hall’s four-game winning streak came to a halt in last week’s 81-75 defeat to the Butler Bulldogs. Whitehead scored 26 points and Rodriguez added 18 in the loss.
With only five games remaining in the season, the Hoyas must avoid a sweep to the Pirates to keep any NCAA Tournament dreams alive. A victory guarantees nothing, but would put off total despair, at least for now.