Whatever John Thompson III said to his Hoyas team after yesterday's blunder against Northeastern, it worked.
Georgetown came out and played with a noticeable increase in effort and energy and really put the pressure on Kansas State early. With an extra pep in their step due to the embarrassment they faced after the loss to the Huskies, the Hoyas absolutely dominated the first half of play, jumping out to a 17-point lead, and put the Wildcats away early.
The Hoyas looked like a completely different team than the one that took the floor on Thursday. Their cuts were more crisp, the screens were better set, the energy was higher, and the team just looked much more cohesive on both ends of the floor. This was probably the best game the Hoyas have played early in the season and if they can stay consistent there's no reason why they can't compete every night.
Yesterday, the Hoyas struggled with Northeastern's zone and predictably, Kansas State came out and played zone right away. Instead of playing timidly and trying to beat the defense from the perimeter, the Hoyas did a much better job attacking and getting to the rim and either drew fouls or dropped off to Joshua Smith who dominated inside. Smith, who has been up and down so far this season, finished with 16 points, three rebounds, and three steals, and would have fared much better if it wasn't for foul trouble. Smith was fantastic in the post, showing an arsenal of baby hooks and drop steps while also dishing to his teammates with pinpoint passing. It's frustrating watching Smith in the sense that he can look so good some nights and be a complete non-factor others.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was magnificent. The sophomore guard finished with 25 points and hit four out of five three-point attempts and went 9-for-9 from the stripe. After yesterday's four-point performance, Jabril Trawick had a breakout game and finished with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Not to be outdone by his peers, Markel Starks went for 11 points and eight assists. Trawick's performance is particularly exciting since the Hoyas desperately need help on the perimeter and are searching for a third contributing guard.
Inside, the emergence of Moses Ayegba as a rim protector is intriguing. The 6-foot-9 Nigerian forward is hyper athletic and finished with two blocks against the Wildcats. With Nate Lubick underwhelming and Joshua Smith proving to be erratic, Ayegba has a chance to step up and play a vital role on the defensive end for the Hoyas.
The Hoyas completely dominated the box score. They held the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting while shooting 61 percent themselves, forced 16 turnovers and only turned the ball over half as many times, had 19 assists on 33 made baskets, while the Wildcats only had six assists on 18 baskets. While the Hoyas suffered a loss against Northeastern, they still have a chance to win two out of three games in Puerto Rico and leave with a 3-2 overall record.