The Georgetown Hoyas haven’t been a “live or die by the three” type of team this year, and that strategy has led them to seven wins.
Saturday afternoon, the Hoyas decided to utilize that strategy against the SMU Mustangs, and they promptly died by the three in their 81-73 loss at Capital One Arena.
The Hoyas shot 4-18 from the three-point line in the loss, their second-worst three-point shooting effort of the season behind their 3-19 effort in the loss to Loyola Marymount.
It’s easy to see why the Hoyas chose to attempt this strategy against SMU, as the Mustangs allow three-pointers at a 36.9% clip (three percent above the national average) and nearly half of the field goals attempted against SMU this year have come from beyond the arc (44.1%).
It’s a fine strategy when it works. When it doesn’t, Saturday afternoon the result. To compound matters, Georgetown’s three-point shooting was particularly bad in the second half, making just one of their nine attempts, and it came two minutes into the half. Missing eight straight threes when you’re trailing by five to eight points for much of the half is bad, but it also begs the question of why Georgetown didn’t try something else. Two of SMU’s three leading scorers Saturday were Ethan Chargois and Isiaha Mike, both of whom are 6’8” or taller and both of whom were effective at clogging up the lane, but at some point when you’re missing threes over and over, you need to do something different.
Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 17 points, and James Akinjo had 16. Seven of Govan’s 17 points came on threes or free throws, but the other 10 came inside the arc. 10 of Akinjo’s 16 came from the free throw line and the other six came on twos. Clearly something was working there that could have been utilized more. Josh LeBlanc also played particularly well, scoring nine points and recording nine rebounds, and throwing down a ferocious tip-slam to bring the Hoyas within five with three minutes to play.
Georgetown has now lost two games in a row and is 7-3 on the season. Assuming they win their next three games (KenPom has them highly favored in all three) they’ll be 10-3 going into Big East play and likely in need of a 10-8 record for their NCAA Tournament hopes to remain alive.