We Are Georgetown: Western Carolina up next

DSC_0068The No.15 Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-1, 0-0 Big East) will be back in action Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center, as they face the Western Carolina Catamounts (4-6, 2-0 Southern) at 12:00 p.m.

The Hoyas will look to improve upon their current five-game winning streak when they take on the Catamounts, after defeating Longwood this past Monday night 89-53.

After struggling on the offensive end in many of their prior games this season, the Hoyas broke out offensively against Longwood, scoring 89 points and shooting 53 percent from the field.

“It’s good that the ball went in the basket,” said Head Coach John Thompson III following the Longwood game. “Most of the looks we got were wide open shots.”

However, this season the Hoyas have prided themselves on their defensive effort. In their nine games played this season, Georgetown has held their opponents under 60 points seven times, including the past five games, when their opponents have failed to score above 53.

Despite their unexceptional record, this Western Carolina team should not be taken lightly. Although their only wins have come against mediocre opponents in Howard, Furman, and Eastern Kentucky, the Catamounts have played close games against notable programs such as Wichita State, Western Kentucky, and more recently No. 13 Illinois, who they lost to by only 8 points.

“They’re a good team. They have very good offensive pieces. You look across the board and sometimes you play great teams and you say, ‘How can we stop these two guys?’ but across the board they can put five good offensive players on the court,” said Thompson.

This does not bode well for the Hoyas, who have been notorious this season for playing down to their level of competition, as exemplified in closer-than-expected wins against Duquesne, Liberty, and Towson.

Western Carolina’s leading scorer is junior guard Trey Sumler who is averaging 16.2 points per game for the Catamounts. Sumler, known as a three-point shooting threat, is currently shooting 43 percent from downtown on the season. He has had three games this year in which he has score 20 or more points, including a career-high 25 against Western Kentucky in mid-November.

Junior forward Tawaski King, averaging 13.7 points per game, and junior forward Tom Tankelewicz, averaging 10.4 points per game, complement Sumler as the scoring threats for the Catamounts.

As many students on campus finish their exams, this will also be a final exam of sorts for the Hoyas, as they only have one game remaining before they start Big East Conference play in January. This game will provide Coach Thompson with more insight into his team’s strengths and weaknesses, as they strive to ready themselves for Big East powerhouses such as Syracuse, Louisville, and Marquette in the coming new year.

“They play a tough, aggressive defense that makes it hard to score. We have to be very good on Saturday,” he said of the upcoming matchup.

Photo: Miles Gavin Meng

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