Hoya Takeaway: Georgetown 71, DePaul 59

Jonathan Daniel

DePaul jumped out to an early lead, but the Hoyas take the road win to move to 4-6 in the Big East.

In a game that was as visually unappealing as one of Tony Siragusa’s Pee Pad commercials which have dominated Fox Sports 1 sponsorship this season, the Georgetown Hoyas maintained their perfect Big East record over DePaul with a 71-59 at the former Rosemont Horizon.

Georgetown fans who hoped for a quick start to capitalize on the momentum of Saturday’s big win over Michigan St. were quickly disappointed. As has too often been the case this year, the Hoyas came out firing bricks, shooting 1 for their first 10 on their way to a 24-15 deficit 14 minutes into the game. Only Markel Starks seemed to bring his game from the opening tip, keeping his team in the game with nine early points (on his way to a team high 26). D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera continued his shooting slump in the first half while Mikael Hopkins visited the bench with foul trouble (which might be a positive for this team offensively). The offensive ineptitude was especially alarming against DePaul’s league worst defense.

Solid defense kept the Hoyas in it. The really clamped down in the last six minutes of the first half, as they closed the halftime deficit to 30-27. The defensive pressure kept up after halftime as the Hoyas harried DePaul into a long period of bad shooting and turnovers which resulted in the Blue Demons managing just sixteen points in the first sixteen minutes of the half. The Hoya offense opened up a bit during the second half. Smith-Rivera found his rhythm by drawing contact and going 11 for 11 from the free throw line, finishing with 17 points despite going 3 for 11 from the field and 0 for 3 from long range. Jabril Trawick played his best offensive game in quite a while, scoring 15 points on 5 for 8 shooting and even hitting a rare three. By the time DePaul broke their slump they were down 14 with four minutes left and doomed to defeat.

While Georgetown can certainly be happy with the win, this was more the case of playing a bad team without its best player (the suspended Cleveland Melvin) than great play by the Hoyas. In particular, the poor offensive first half reminded Hoya fans about their team’s limitations on that end. In particular, another poor shooting game from Smith-Rivera should alarm Hoya fans who simply have no other choice but for him to excel given the team’s lack of offensive options. Trawick’s performance and the lack of mistakes from Hopkins were pleasant surprises and major factors in the team’s second half improvement.

Defensively, the team continues to round into better form with the return of Trawick and the continued of absence of defensive disaster Josh Smith. However, the team still needs to watch its fouls. The Hoyas mooted this problem against DePaul by shooting 41 free throws of their own. Still, all three Hoya big men, Hopkins, Nate Lubick, and Moses Ayegba, managed to foul out of this game. Since John Thompson III seems to have given up on sophomore center Bradley Hayes, this left the skinny 6’7’’ Reggie Cameron playing center at the end of this game. This isn’t a big deal against DePaul with the game effectively decided, but it could be decisive if that situation occurs in a close game against Davonte Gardner of Marquette or Daniel Ochefu of Villanova.

As for DePaul, Billy Garrett had another terrific performance against Georgetown. Between him and fellow freshmen Tommy Hamilton and R.J. Curington, it seems the Blue Demons are finally ready to show significant improvement next year. That would be an excellent development for the Big East as a whole.

All in all, this game confirmed that Georgetown is a very flawed team with severe offensive problems that is still better than DePaul. Hoya fans really are not complaining about any wins at this point, and are happy that their next game back home against Butler on Saturday still has meaning.

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