Coming off of remarkable back-to-back road wins against two undefeated teams at the time, Oklahoma State (7-1, Big 12) and SMU (8-1, American), the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (6-3, Big East) will face long-time rival, Syracuse (5-4, 1-1 ACC), at Capital One Arena on Saturday, December 14.
Georgetown men’s basketball held a media event on Wednesday, December 11 in which Head Coach Patrick Ewing and select players from the team sat down with the media to discuss the upcoming rivalry game.
Prior to discussing Saturday’s matchup, a few reporters questioned Ewing about the transformation of the team in light of recent events. When asked about his perspective on the recent loss of two key players and off-court turmoil, Ewing stated, “No one likes to deal with any off-court issues, but things happen in life, things happen in sports, especially in college.” Ewing emphasized the importance of forging ahead and blocking out the noise. “Whatever time you have on the court, you use that to focus on that and not worry about the other things,” Ewing stated.
Despite the recent team departures and allegations, the men’s basketball team has performed exceptionally well in their last two games against Oklahoma State and SMU. During these matchups, the team averaged 45.3 percent and 55.7 percent from the field, respectively. The team has exhibited great promise with leaders such as sophomore guard and Big East Player of the Week Mac McClung, with a scoring outburst of 33 points during the matchup against Oklahoma State and junior guard Jahvon Blair, who matched his career high of 21 points by knocking down seven 3-pointers during the Hoyas last game against SMU.
Currently leading his team in points, rebounds, and blocks per game, senior center Omer Yurtseven stated that we can expect to see “a big game… every game just trying to get better” along with “get[ting] more rebounds than you can and get[ting] more blocks than you think you have” during the big matchup on Saturday.
Senior guard Jagan Mosely attributes the Hoyas’ recent play to a “sense of urgency.”
“We have to start picking up wins,” Mosely said. “We have to start gaining momentum before the conference play starts.” In reference to Saturday’s matchup against Syracuse, Mosely states that his mental preparation going into the game is “just being ready for whatever Coach needs me to do…my job changes from game to game”.
The Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry will certainly ensure a momentous and entertaining game on Saturday. “I think that’s the cool thing, when the big games are made…the team who focuses and doesn’t get too excited or get too low is the team that comes up on top,” McClung noted.
Coming off of a win against Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-1 ACC), Syracuse is currently tied for fifth in the ACC with a conference record of 1-1. Syracuse has a young but talented roster this season. Although they have struggled with rebounding, shooting from beyond the arc, and defending the middle, there are noteworthy players such as junior forwards Elijah Hughes, who is currently the team leader for Syracuse in points (19.6) and blocks (1.3) per game, as well as Bourama Sidibe, noted for his excellent shot blocking and rebounding efforts, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game. They will definitely be key players to look for during Saturday’s game.
Tipoff on Saturday at Capital One Arena is set for 1:00 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Fox. For continued coverage of the men’s basketball team, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice