“It’s been so long since last we met” is quoted all too often around Georgetown. In fact, it’s usually not been long at all. But on Tuesday night, in Capital One Arena, it truly had been so, so long since last we met, at least in such numbers.
The student section was full, and overall attendance clocked in at 9,335, neither of which has happened in a non-conference game since Syracuse came to D.C. in 2021. Attendance has not been so high for a home opener since 2011.
The fan turnout only tells part of the story of the energetic debut of new head coach Ed Cooley and his retooled Hoyas, who defeated the Le Moyne Dolphins (0-1, 0-0 NEC) 94-57 on Tuesday night. The threes were falling, the plays were working, the bench was buzzing, and the coach was actually, miraculously, coaching.
Cooley got his first taste of Capital One behind the helm at Georgetown (1-0, 0-0 BIG EAST), and it seemed he couldn’t get enough. During a Le Moyne timeout, he walked to halfcourt and pumped up the crowd. After the game, he got up close with the student section and gave them a round of applause.
“First and foremost I want to thank our students and our community for coming out and supporting our team in the first game we coached here and played here,” Cooley said after the game in a statement via athletics. “We felt their energy tonight and it was needed.”
The Hoyas found freshman forward Drew Fielder in the corner on their first possession, and he made the three, putting them on the board in 18 seconds. Over the next nine minutes, Georgetown leaped out to a 20-7 lead thanks to good interior defense and an even shot distribution. They didn’t look back from there, finishing the half up by 24 points.
Tuesday’s game was Le Moyne’s first in Division 1, and their size was a clear issue. Senior center Supreme Cook took advantage of the height and strength difference, leading the Hoyas in points and rebounds with 19 and 13, respectively. Junior forward Dontrez Styles notched 15 points as well, pounding the paint as much as possible and going 6/13 from the field.
The Dolphins collapsed in on Georgetown’s bigs in the paint, earning several strips on their double teams. In the second half, though, a couple Hoyas took the opportunity to show off their clever finishing, maneuvering the ball around the swiping hands as they rose to the rim.
They kept up the pace in the second half, Cooley opting to give the starting unit more court time rather than subbing in the walk-ons early in what was clearly already headed toward a blowout. Ultimately, the Hoyas added 13 more to their margin in the half, ending the game up 37.
Play-calling looked a step up from last year, and the Hoyas resorted to isolation offense minimally throughout the game. A well-balanced offense and a hardworking, communicative defense gave fans something to cheer for each of the game’s 40 minutes.
Three-point shooting was promising: Georgetown shot 10/27 from behind the arc despite missing graduate forward Ismael Massoud, who may well be their best shooter. Massoud was active on the bench, sporting a cast on his broken right hand.
Additionally, the Hoyas logged 50 points in the paint and some uproarious dunks, thanks in part to 13 offensive rebounds. Their aggressiveness throughout the game fired up the crowd, though it occasionally boiled over. Sophomore guard Jayden Epps received a technical early in the second half for a shove, and lined up behind half-court, could be seen on the broadcast telling a Le Moyne player, “I’m going to punch you in the face. I’m going to punch you in the face.”
Epps had an impressive night facilitating the team as its starting point guard, racking up 11 assists. He also showed occasional flashes of his ability to score the ball himself, though he ended up with only five points in 30 minutes played.
The energy of the night was the main story: the Hoyas played with a refreshing passion, and the fans did well to match their enthusiasm. For a Tuesday night, playing a brand-new D1 team, the crowd showed out in auspicious numbers.
Cooley, too, brought maximum energy: he not only paced the sideline, but stepped onto the court several times to dap up a player or chirp at a ref. For attentive fans, the fact that he took those steps in the retro Jordan 3s that had won the previous day’s polls on Instagram and Twitter was an added bonus.
The Hoya faithful can look forward to another “YOU pick Cooley’s kicks” this Friday, as this Saturday, Georgetown hosts Holy Cross of the Patriot League. That game tips off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS2.