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Game Preview: Georgetown vs. High Point

Georgetown takes on the High Point Panthers in D.C.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Advanced Stats Georgetown High Point
Effective FG% 54.1% 54.6%
Turnover % 20.6% 19.6%
Offensive Rebound % 33.9% 34.6%
Free Throw Rate 53.0 30.4

After dropping a game to Northeastern in Puerto Rico, the Georgetown Hoyas have righted the ship and have beaten their last three opponents by an average of 14 points to improve their record to 4-2. After traveling around the globe (literally), Georgetown has settled into the easy portion of its non-conference schedule and with games against High Point, Colgate and Elon coming up, it's entirely feasible that the Hoyas could be riding a six-game win streak heading into their December 21 matchup with Kansas.

Tonight's opponent, the High Point Panthers, hail from North Carolina and reside in the Big South Conference. The team is currently 3-3 with wins over Ferrum, William & Mary, and Wofford. Their RPI rank is currently number 261 (by comparison, Georgetown's is 70th), and they have a Strength of Schedule ranking of 286 (Georgetown's is 77th). While the above advanced metrics indicate that the Panthers hold a slight statistical advantage over the Hoyas, it would be shocking if the Panthers make this game close.

The Panthers are lead by Big South Preseason Player of the year, 6-8 forward John Brown. Brown's resume is impressive. The sophomore was named Big South Freshman of the Year following the 2012-'13 season and was the second freshman ever to be named first-team All-Big South. This season, the big man is averaging 21.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 63.6 percent from the field and 80 percent from the stripe. Brown has been nearly unstoppable and will likely give the slow-footed combo of Joshua Smith and Nate Lubick trouble in the paint.

Brown's frontcourt mate is 6-foot-9 senior Allan Chaney. Chaney, who was once one of Billy Donovan's top recruits at Florida, suffers from a heart-condition that nearly killed him on the court. Chaney now has a defibrillator in his chest and during High Point's win over Wofford, the defibrillator went off, knocking Chaney to the ground and caused a scary scene. Fortunately, Chaney was fine but the big man did not return to action and did not play in Sunday's loss against Stephen F. Austin. Chaney is questionable for tonight's matchup against Georgetown and the Panthers could really use his size and averages of 15.4 points and 8.6 boards.

High Point struggles shooting the ball from distance. For the season, the Panthers are hitting just 3.8 3-pointers per game at a 29.9 percent clip. Much of the reason for High Point's poor shooting is due to their guard play. As good as their bigs are, their backcourt is equally as bad. That spells a recipe for disaster going up against Georgetown's backcourt of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks. The Panthers will have to get Brown and a hopefully healthy Chaney their touches early and hope that they can be effective against Georgetown's bigs. They can ill afford to fall behind by double-digits and have to rely on the three to get them back in the game.

The emergence of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for the Hoyas has been the biggest factor in Georgetown's early success. After top returning offensive threat Greg Whittington went down with an ACL injury in preseason (and subsequently booted from the program), Smith-Rivera was being counted on to carry the offensive load. DSR has exceeded all expectations and is averaging 18.7 points while shooting an absurd 52-53-86 split. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard from Indianapolis was not getting any love during the preseason but is turning into a bonafide star in the Big East right before our eyes. DSR will likely put up huge numbers over the rest of the non-conference play and once conference play begins, expect Smith-Rivera to get the attention he deserves.

High Point has the size and skill up front to hang with the Hoyas early but the duo of Starks and Smith-Rivera will be too much for the Panthers' overmatched guards to handle. Georgetown should win easily.