The Georgetown men’s basketball team (11-5, 1-2 Big East) will return to action against the Providence Friars (10-5, 0-2 Big East) on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. ET with the game broadcast on FS1 and live stats available at guhoyas.com.
Both teams come into the game badly needing a win in conference play. The Hoyas dropped two difficult decisions to conference rivals St. John’s (14-2, 2-2 Big East) and Xavier (10-7, 2-2 Big East), losing early double-digit leads in both games.
In the loss against St. John’s, five Hoyas scored in double figures. Senior center Jessie Govan led the way with his fifth double-double of the season (25 points and 10 rebounds), while freshman forward Josh LeBlanc contributed a double-double of his own, leading the team with 13 rebounds to go along with 12 points. Georgetown was hurt by untimely turnovers and the early eight-point deficit they faced in overtime, as they once again struggled to finish a close game. Their troubles were exacerbated in the loss to Xavier. In that game, the Hoyas went cold from the floor in the second half, shooting just 41.7 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from three. The Hoyas also struggled to stop Xavier’s offense down the stretch, granting them numerous trips to the charity stripe. Graduate forward Zach Hankins finished with a season-high 23 points for Xavier, and Govan’s 27 point effort was not enough against a more energetic Xavier squad.
Head coach Ed Cooley’s Providence team has not opened conference play well, losing to Creighton (10-6, 1-2 Big East) by 11, and falling to conference leader Villanova (12-4, 3-0 Big East) by six. Providence had been playing well beforehand, having entered conference play on a three-game winning streak with victories over Central Connecticut State (7-9, 1-2 Northeast), Albany (5-11, 0-1 America East), and Texas (10-5, 2-1 Big 12).
Providence’s success will depend on forcing turnovers out of a mistake-prone Hoyas team. Georgetown is averaging 14.4 turnovers per game while Providence averages 12.7. The Hoyas have an advantage on the boards, averaging 40.4 per game compared to Providence’s 37.6. Junior guard Alpha Diallo is having a stellar season for the Friars, scoring 16.9 points per game in addition to grabbing 8.5 rebounds per game. Georgetown will not have to face freshman guard A.J. Reeves (14.2 points per game, 45.3 percent from three), as he is still out with a foot injury he suffered in mid-December.
The Hoyas can count on the dependable production of Jessie Govan (19.2 points per game), as he will have a size advantage due to Providence’s smaller starting lineup. They can also count on the shooting of senior guard/forward Greg Malinowski, who is currently shooting 47.2 percent from three. To win, they must find a way to cut down on turnovers and play strong team defense against an excellent guard in Diallo.
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Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice