Coming off their first win of the season against American University, the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (2-1, Big East), topped the Siena Saints (0-4, MAAC) 83-65 Friday night in a wire-to-wire victory. Led by the scorching shooting of senior transfer forward Kaiden Rice (23 points, 7-10 from three point range) and graduate guard Don Carey (20 points, 7-9 from the field), the Hoyas never relinquished the lead and fended off a Saints second-half comeback attempt. Senior forward Jackson Stormo led the Siena attack with a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds on 77 percent shooting from the field, though the rest of his team, despite open looks from three, struggled to get things going the entire evening.
Coach Patrick Ewing started junior center Timothy Ighoefe, sophomore guard Dante Harris, Carey, Rice, and freshman guard Aminu Mohammed—a lineup that saw success against American earlier in the week. Despite Ighoefe getting the start, Ewing continued his three-man platoon at the center position, with Ighoefe, freshman Ryan Mutombo, and junior Malcolm Wilson all playing between 11 and 16 minutes. None of the three were particularly effective, combining for just 5 points and 6 rebounds.
The Hoyas, spurred on by early Rice and Harris three-pointers, quickly jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Siena clawed back, cutting the deficit to 15-13 with just under 11 minutes left in the half. That would be the closest Siena got the rest of the evening, as Rice’s sharpshooting and Harris’ steady hand and pesky defense spurred an 11-2 run. Siena fought back, cutting the lead to four points with three minutes remaining in the half, but the Hoyas closed out strong, entering halftime with a commanding 44-34 lead.
The Hoyas took this momentum into the second half, jumping out to a 18 point lead by the 14:42 mark in the half. A brief Siena run, which cut the deficit to 14, was quashed by a Jaden Billingsley alley-oop on a sweet feed from guard Jordan Riley. A steady onslaught of Carey and Rice buckets kept the Saints at bay the rest of the evening.
After the game, Coach Ewing had nothing but praise for Rice, joking about his hot shooting night.
“Some of those shots I was like, ‘No, no, no, yes!'” Ewing said. “He’s an elite shooter.”
Rice, who had struggled shooting the ball in his first two games as a Hoya, stressed that he never lost confidence in his shot.
“I just kept shooting,” he said. “Right response at the right time.”
Ewing also reserved praise for Don Carey, who spent his first three years at Siena before joining Georgetown’s roster last season as a graduate transfer.
“He’s worked on his game all summer long, he’s worked on his body,” Ewing said. “His work has paid off.”
Siena coach Carmen Maciariello agreed with how special of a player Carey is.
“I love Don Carey,” Maciarello said. “Don’s just super efficient. I think, earlier on in his career, he was trying to hit the home run more and try to show he could be a point guard, and I think now he’s really just turned into that really efficient scorer, like that prototypical two-guard.”
Star freshman guard Aminu Mohammed, who led Georgetown in scoring its first two games, struggled to find his shot from the field (2-10 FG). Despite his shooting woes, Mohammed remained aggressive, corralling seven rebounds while getting to the line nine times. The preseason pick for Big East Freshman of the Year, Mohammed has impressed with his poise thus far, evidently earning the trust of Coach Ewing and leading the squad in minutes Friday night.
Apart from Mohammed, every other Hoya was red-hot on Friday, combining to shoot 67 percent from the field when removing Mohammed’s totals. This was likely the result of a positive regression to the mean after two rough shooting games, but, in order to compete, the Hoyas will need to be able to score when their shot isn’t falling.
The Hoya squad, who were stunned in their first game by a sharpshooting Dartmouth squad, continues to gel. They face their first high-major test of the season, a San Diego State team ranked 32nd nationally in BPI, this upcoming Thursday at the Wooden Legacy tournament. One area they must improve on is on the glass. A Siena team whose tallest player (Stormo) is 6’9 outrebounded the Hoyas 35-29 with Georgetown giving up 15 on the offensive glass. For a team with three players over 7’0 (Ighoefe, Wilson, and Mutombo), this performance was unacceptable and a better team will take advantage of these second chance opportunities.
Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.