Georgetown certainly started Big East play better than it did during non-conference action.
The Hoyas put aside some minor concerns in regards to how it performed in the non-conference portion of the schedule by grabbing its first Big East game, by going on the road and beating DePaul, 70-58, on Wednesday night.
The Hoyas got their inside-out game working early Wednesday and imposed their will on DePaul, as they never let the Blue Demons get in rhythm.
After a shoddy non-conference showing (who can forget losses to Radford and UNC Asheville?), there were some concerns that Georgetown would not live up to their pre-season potential. After all the Hoyas were ranked No. 2 in the pre-season Big East poll.
— Georgetown Hoyas (@georgetownhoyas) December 31, 2015
However, John Thompson III’s squad elevated their game and put fourth a complete effort Wednesday.
While the Hoyas did not shoot a high percentage overall (shooting just 38.2 percent from the field), they got some timely buckets from deep en route to shooting a sterling 43.5 percent from three-point range (knocking down 10-23 trifectas). The game was also won at the line, as Georgetown connected on 78.3 of their free throws, while DePaul shot themselves in the foot at the line, converting just 13 of 24 free throws.
And to make matters worse for DePaul, it also did not shoot the ball all that well from the floor either, shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range (knocking down thee of nine attempts).
— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) December 31, 2015
“We didn’t talk a lot and as a result, the defensive positioning wasn’t great,” said DePaul coach Dave Leitao after the game (per DePaulBlueDemons.com). The best way to defend the three-pointer is to communicate and then step up to it. We were a step or two behind on defense.”
“Billy (Garrett Jr.) and Myke (Henry) have to play with great confidence and rhythm. Neither brought their `A’ game, and that showed at the free-throw line,” Leitao added per DePaulBlueDemons.com.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera got things going with a great first half, as he scored 12 points in the first frame. Although he finished with just 15 points, his play early set the tone for the night. He did a good job setting up his teammates (he added five assists) and rallied his club when things got tough for some stretches in the first half, or when DePaul started to make some runs in the second half.
Man, D'vauntes Smith Rivera is slicing DePaul. Just 13 points, but he's been everywhere tonight, finding teammates. #dpubb
— DePaulia Sports (@DePauliaSports) December 31, 2015
After what was a tight first half, Georgetown got on a roll after intermission, hitting key three after key three. The Hoyas opened on an 8-0 run after half to balloon their lead up to 13 points. Sophomores Issac Copeland and L.J. Peak had key games, as Smith-Rivera took a back seat in the second half to these burgeoning sophomores.
Copeland scored 15 points while shooting 5-10 from the field, including 2-4 from three-point range. The versatile performer also contributed six rebounds and three assists.
Peak chipped in with 14 points on 4-8 shooting and also went 2-4 from three-point range. He also provided four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
A lot was expected of Copeland and Peak coming into this season, and with the way they played Wednesday, it definitely alleviated some fears Thompson may have had. Copeland and Peak have battled inconsistency all year, so this was a step in the right direction for them.
Plain and simple, Georgetown needed this win if it is to be considered one of the elite teams in the conference as it was expected to be.
For DePaul, Billy Garrett Jr. was basically the only Blue Demon to show up. Garrett scored a game-high 21 points to go with five rebounds and five assists. It was a setback for Leitao and crew, as his team did not build on its huge win over George Washington last week.
Georgetown will now host Marquette Saturday in the Big East tip-off marathon. Meanwhile DePaul will travel to Seton Hall on the same day.