The rumors are true.
In its season opener, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (1-0, Big East) blew by USC Upstate (0-1, Atlantic Sun) with its quickened attack, winning by a score of 105-60 and confirming offseason whispers of the arrival of a faster brand of Hoya basketball. Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor led all scorers with 32 points on 13-16 shooting, including 6-8 shooting from three-point range. Junior guard LJ Peak added 14 points and four assists, while sophomore center Jessie Govan recorded 11 points and six rebounds for Georgetown.
“The obvious result is the most important thing,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Overall, I thought our pressure was effective.”
The starting lineup of Govan, Pryor, Peak, freshman guard Jagan Mosely, and junior forward Isaac Copeland applied full-court pressure from the opening tip, forcing two quick turnovers. This pressure, along with lethal transition offense, allowed the Blue and Gray to open up a commanding 27-10 lead with 14:19 remaining in the first half.
The Hoyas continued to press throughout the first half, forcing eight steals and 26 points off of turnovers. Thanks to 77.4 percent shooting from the field (69.2 percent from three), the Hoyas entered the locker room with a comfortable 68-35 lead. The 68 points are the most the team has scored in any half in program history.
Pryor shined in the period, notching 26 points on 10-11 shooting, including 6-7 from deep. While demonstrating his shooting touch from deep, he also showcased great awareness on his drives into the paint. Pryor nailed tough floaters and layups through contact multiple times while missing only one shot in the half.
“That boy (Pryor), he was very good,” USC Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne said. “When you have someone on the wing that can shoot it like that, that really makes a big difference on any basketball team.”
In the second half, the Georgetown offense seemed to lose some of its momentum, most notably in the opening ten minutes, in which the team managed just 12 points. In the final ten minutes of play, however, the Blue and Gray returned to their full-court press and used a balanced scoring attack to seal the victory. Every player that entered the game for Georgetown, with the exception of freshman forward George Muresan, recorded a point.
While the margin of victory is the largest the team has recorded in a season opener since 2003, not everything about the team’s performance was ideal. The team failed to set up its press after made baskets on multiple occasions, which led to several easy layups for Upstate. In the second half, the team committed 18 fouls, three times as many as the first half. In addition, the team gave up 20 offensive rebounds to an undersized USC Upstate team.
“We have to do a better job, a much better job,” said Thompson. “Twenty offensive rebounds is unacceptable … In the second half, we got a little lax. We have to be able to sustain (our pressure) for 40 minutes.”
While these are errors many Hoya fans may worry about, the play of several key players provides reason for encouragement. Junior guard Tre Campbell managed 10 points and three assists while demonstrating an ability to command and direct the offense. Peak grabbed four steals, and junior guard Jonathan Mulmore recorded nine points, two assists, and two steals on the day.
After much speculation entering the game as to the makeup of the Hoyas’ rotation, Jagan Mosely earned the start at the point guard position. The freshman posted six points, six assists, four steals, and zero turnovers.
“He’s poised, very, very poised … he makes a lot of hustle plays and he throws passes and doesn’t turn the ball over. He does a lot of things that show up in the box score, and also a lot of things that don’t show up. He creates positive things for our team,” Thompson said.
Georgetown will now gear up to host No. 25 Maryland (1-0, Big Ten) on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. Last season, the Terps edged the Hoyas by just four points in College Park. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.