Pregame Primer: Men’s Basketball Hosts Xavier in Midweek Matchup

January 30, 2019

On Thursday, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-7, 3-4 Big East) will take on the Xavier Musketeers (11-10, 3-5 Big East) at Capital One Arena. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network with live stats available at guhoyas.comThe Hoyas are looking to avenge their 81-75 loss in Cincinnati in early January, when they blew a 17-point first half lead. At the moment, Georgetown is tied for third and Xavier is tied for sixth in the crowded Big East.

The Hoyas are coming off a nail-biter on Sunday when they defeated St. John’s (15-5, 3-5 Big East) by a score of 89-78 at Madison Square Garden. This was Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing’s first double-digit victory in Big East play since he took over at the beginning of last season. Ewing got big performances from freshman guard Mac McClung, who scored 25 points with five rebounds and five assists, and senior center Jessie Govan, who scored 20 points and grabbed nine boards. Freshman Josh LeBlanc also added 15 points and seven rebounds, and was 6-for-6 on crucial free throws down the stretch. Georgetown did a much better job of defending junior guard Shamorie Ponds, who dropped a huge 37 points on January 5 when the Red Storm won in overtime at Capital One. On Sunday, Ponds scored just 21 on 8-for-17 shooting. The Hoyas were somewhat lucky, however, as they committed 21 turnovers and caught several breaks toward the end of the game when St. John’s missed some golden opportunities.

Xavier is looking to snap a three-game losing streak. On Saturday, the Musketeers lost at home against then-No. 12 Marquette (18-3, 7-1 Big East) by a score of 87-82. Junior forward Tyrique Jones and sophomore guard Paul Scruggs each scored 21 points, but they could not overcome the Big East’s leading scorer, junior guard Markus Howard, who scored 31 points and was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Naji Marshall also scored 16 points for Xavier.

Georgetown will need to play tough defense on the perimeter, where Xavier shot 44.4 percent on Saturday. Scruggs, Xavier’s leading scorer at 13.3 points per game, will be a focus for the Hoyas’ perimeter defenders. Though they did well to limit Ponds’ damage on Sunday, it will be a test to see if they can continue to defend scoring guards, which has been a problem over the last two seasons. Govan and Jones, who also grabbed 11 boards against Marquette, will be an interesting matchup to watch. Both big men have been crucial to their teams’ success, and will be integral to the rebound battle on Thursday.

Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all winter sports at Georgetown.

Tristan Lee
Tristan is the Voice's sports executive and a senior in Georgetown College. He mostly covers Georgetown's football, basketball, and baseball teams.

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