Thursday, December 31, 2015

Three-pointers galore: Georgetown opens conference play with a 70-58 win

                                   Photo Credit: Geno Green

The first game on any team's conference schedule is important, but for the Georgetown Hoyas (8-5, 1-0 BIG EAST), this one was bigger given the depth of the league with four teams ranked in the top 20.

Wednesday night showed the Hoyas' long-range skills as they shot 
10-of-23 (43 percent) from downtown, in a 70-58 win over the DePaul Blue Demons (6-7, 0-1 BIG EAST) at the Allstate Arena.

DePaul coach Dave Leitao gave credit to Georgetown's ability to break down its defensive schemes.

"Statistically, they have a lot of guys that can shoot it and their offense helps them because we have to protect against backdoors and the best way to defend it is to communicate, so you can be a step or two ahead of them, but we were behind instead," Leitao said.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera benefited from the scoring with 15 points on 2-of-2 from long range, to go along with five assists.

Despite leading all scorers with 21, Billy Garrett's five turnovers and inability to hit on the front end of 1-and-1 free throws proved costly.

"I don't think Bill played with urgency," Leitao said. 

"Towards the end of the game, he started pushing the ball more and making quicker and sharper decisions and was the only time I thought he played with a sense of urgency. Billy has to play with great confidence and I don't know if he brought his A-game tonight. It showed on the free-throw line and it is an unforgiving league." 

DePaul's free-throw shooting as a whole proved shaky at 13-of-24 (54 percent), compared to Georgetown's 18-of-23 (78 percent).

Letiao knows his team must seize chances in order to close out games in the conference.

"You only get a few of these opportunities and if you don't seize the moment against good teams, then they will make you pay," Leitao said.

Defense played the role of offense in the early part of the first half as the first basket of the game came on a Smith-Rivera jumper to put Georgetown up 2-1 at the 16:17 mark.

The pace began to thicken up as both teams traded baskets and the game would be knotted at 10.

The Hoyas would go on a brief 7-2 run, highlighted by a L.J. Peak triple from the wing as Garrett slipped and gave enough room for the screen from Hayes.

After the media timeout, Garrett would score DePaul's next six points as the game was tied at 18 with a FT split from GU's Kaleb Johnson.

The Hoyas would lead for the rest of the half going into halftime ahead 32-27 on the Blue Demons.

Triples from Marcus Derrickson and Isaac Copeland capped an 8-0 Hoyas run to start the second half and gave them the biggest lead of the game at that point.

Georgetown's stranglehold on DePaul became as big as 15 with a Peak triple at 47-32. 

Make Henry's first points of the game did not come until the 10:40 mark on a split of free throw makes and finished 2-of-4 from the foul line and went 0-for-4 from the field for the Blue Demons.

Georgetown would not look back as DePaul would get no closer than nine points en route to its first victory in conference play this season.

Looking Ahead:

Georgetown returns home to the Verizon Center on Jan. 2 as Marquette (10-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) comes calling for a 4:30 p.m., while DePaul travels to the Prudential Center for an early 10 a.m. tip against Seton Hall (11-2, 1-0 BIG EAST).

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