The Georgetown Hoyas are back in action for a Monday evening tilt against a top-flight Atlantic Sun opponent. The 6-1 Hoyas will welcome the 7-1 Liberty Flames to the MCI Center in Washington D.C. for what should be an enticing showdown of one-loss teams.
Picked to finish 3rd in both the preseason media and coaches polls in their first season in the ASUN, Liberty is off to a pretty fast start. Their lone loss came on the road to the Vanderbilt Commodores back on November 19. Otherwise, they have dispatched their competition, although a bit meager. They defeated Maine Fort Kent and Trevecca Nazarene to start the season. Then they took on the Kent State Golden Flashes out in Kent, and defeated the Golden Flashes 77-70.
Following that loss to Vandy, they defeated the Alcorn State Braves, Savannah State Tigers, Navy Midshipmen and Georgia State Panthers in succession. The highest-rated team on KenPom that they defeated was actually their last game against Georgia State, who as of now rank 114th. Then it was Kent State at 156th, and Alcorn State, Savannah State and Navy are all in the sub-300s, with the Braves ranking the worst of the three at 345.
So, their SOS hasn’t been great. But victories are victories, right?
Thus far they’ve been solid on both ends of the floor. The only thing they have struggled with has been getting to the line, offensive rebounding and blocking shots. Other than that, their metrics are all fairly good. Their eFG% sits 16th in the country at 56.9 percent and their 2-point FG% is 57.4 percent, the 25th best mark. Their FT% is 36th in the nation, it’s just they haven’t gotten a lot of attempts.
The Flames are led by junior Scottie James. James was an ASUN Preseason All-Conference selection and he’s playing up to par. The 6-foot-7 James has averaged 67.6 percent on his 2-point tries and 80 percent from the FT line. He is the team’s best rebounder, posting marks of 30.8 percent in DR% and 18.4 percent in OR%. Those marks also rank 4th and 10th in the entire country, so far. So James will be one to watch on the glass. James ranks first on the team in PPG (11.9) and RPG (9.8).
Liberty so far has three others in double figures to join James. Those players are freshman Darius McGhee, sophomore Elijah Cuffee and senior Lovell Cabbil. McGhee has averaged 11.5 points per game, just a shade under James’ leading mar.k Meanwhile, Cuffee has put up 10.5 points per game, and Cabbil has an even 10.0.
Georgetown will be the second highest-rated team they’ve faced this season (Vanderbilt being the highest). They are also probably the second-most talented. Georgetown has an array of players at their disposal who can do things that teams like Liberty may struggle with. The Hoyas have knocked down every opponent they’ve faced this season with the exception of the Loyola Marymount Lions, of course. But to be fair, the Hoyas have only one double-digit victory this year, coming in their opener against Maryland Eastern Shore.
They defeated Central Connecticut by seven, the Illinois Fighting Illini by eight, the South Florida Bulls by three in OT, the Campbell Fighting Camels by eight and the Richmond Spiders by eight, too. None of those teams have been world-beaters, quite frankly, so it’s possible that Liberty could give Georgetown all they can handle if their previous results are any indication. After all, the Hoyas are projected to win by three points on KenPom and have a WP% of just 61 percent.
Jessie Govan will look to build off a monster performance he had against Richmond. Govan had 29 points in the win over the Spiders, a season-high and one of his best outputs ever as a Hoya. It was, in fact, the second-most points he’s ever put up in a game, one behind the 30 he dropped against the Villanova Wildcats in the regular season finale a year ago. Govan was also 11-for-14 on 2-pointers, 7-for-7 from the line, had nine boards, an assist, two steals and only one turnover in 36 minutes.
He has been doing awesome things yet again this season and the opposition only has one player listed above 6-foot-7: 7-foot-2 freshman Brendan Newton who has barely played this year. It could be another monster night for Govan if he gets it going.
Another player who starred in the game against Richmond was freshman James Akinjo. Akinjo had 13 points and six assists in 29 minutes of action. It was the sixth consecutive time that the Richmond, California native has gotten into double figures this season. He was inefficient in the outing against Richmond, going 4-for-10, but he was solid from deep, shooting 3-for-5 on 3-point attempts. He had a much better showing against Campbell in that department and certainly will hope to have more of that than what he put up against the Spiders.
Expect a pretty well-played and possibly tenuous game. Georgetown and Liberty rank right around one another on KenPom and are thus pretty evenly matched.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go