How to Catch the Action
Where: Cintas Center
When: January 9, 2019 @ 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1 (Thom Brennaman and Nick Bahe)
Stream: FOX Sports Go
Radio: 700 WLW-AM (Cincinnati), The Team 980 (Washington, DC)
Series History and Betting Info
All-time Series: Xavier leads 13-4
Last Meeting: Xavier defeated Georgetown at Capital One Arena, 89-77.
Streak: Xavier has won the last five meetings
Line: Xavier -3.5
By the Numbers: Xavier v. Georgetown
|Record||11-4 (1-1 BE)||9-7 (1-2 BE)|
Georgetown travels to Xavier on Wednesday evening as both the Hoyas and Musketeers look to earn their second conference win of the season. With nine Big East teams already having suffered at least one conference loss early in the season, a win could be a turning point for either team in its quest to finish in the top half of the standings.
The Hoyas fell to St. John’s in overtime in heartbreaking—you could really use almost any adjective in the English language to describe this one, it was that chaotic—fashion last Saturday. Jessie Govan’s team-high 25 points were not enough to overcome Shamorie Ponds’ 37-point outburst, and the Hoyas surrendered a five-point lead in the final minute of regulation by missing free throws and committing costly turnovers. It was the sixth time this season Georgetown surrendered 80+ points.
Xavier, meanwhile, couldn’t keep pace with Markus Howard and Marquette. Howard scored 26 points as the Golden Eagles defeated the Musketeers in Milwaukee. Naji Marshall scored 21 points and played all 40 minutes while Paul Scruggs added 17 points, but no other Musketeer scored more than four outside of this duo. Luckily, Xavier gets a matchup with the conference’s worst scoring defense—the Hoyas have surrendered seven more points per game in conference play than the next closest team (St. John’s). That might provide the perfect opportunity for players like Quentin Goodin (12.6 ppg), Zach Hankins (9.7 ppg), Tyrique Jones (9.6 ppg) and Ryan Welage (9.1 ppg) to get into the swing of things.
Keys to Success
Georgetown: Shore up defensively
To say the Hoyas have been bad on defense this season would be an understatement. In its four games against power-conference opponents this season, Georgetown has surrendered 81.25 points. Part of this is due to high amounts of turnovers that lead to easy transition points for the opposition. But a large bulk of the Hoyas’ defensive woes stem from missed rotations and an inability to stop dribble penetration.
The Musketeers are the Big East’s worst three-point shooting team, making just 27 percent of attempts since the beginning of conference play, and second-worst shooting team, making 41 percent of all field goal attempts. Xavier’s poor shooting may aid the Hoyas if they do make a characteristic defensive mistake leading to an open look. But this is a chance for Georgetown to finally get its defensive strategy right while the conference schedule is still young. Josh LeBlanc’s insertion into the starting lineup in place of Trey Mourning (concussion) has made a positive impact defensively. The freshman’s high-energy play and defensive awareness (1.2 spg and 1.2 bpg) have provided a noticeable benefit. Georgetown will need this energy to reverberate throughout the lineup if it hopes to win in the Big East.
Xavier: Stop Jessie Govan
Xavier isn’t so good at putting the ball into the net (ninth in Big East in scoring offense), but it is really good at preventing other teams from doing so (third in Big East in scoring defense). If the Musketeers hope to continue the latter trend, they’ll need to defend one of the Big East’s best players in Jessie Govan. The senior averages 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and possesses a shooting touch that allows him to step outside and hit the deep shot despite his 6-foot-10 frame. Xavier is one of the few teams in the conference that can match Govan for size with multiple players—Zach Hankins, Ryan Welage and Tyrique Jones will all guard Govan at some point during the night. If these big men can slow Govan down and force Georgetown to rely on perimeter play, the Musketeers will be in good shape.