The month of January has not been very good for Georgetown (12-4, 2-3 Big East) basketball. The same can be said for No. 24 Notre Dame (15-3, 3-2 Big East). Both teams will be looking to prove something as the teams match up in South Bend tonight. The Hoyas fell to South Florida in Tampa on Saturday night—Georgetown’s third loss in January. The Fighting Irish have lost two of their last three games and narrowly avoided a third straight loss.
The Blue and Gray appeared to be on an upward trend with two consecutive wins until Saturday’s disappointing 61-58 loss in Tampa. Georgetown appeared to be in the driver’s seat, ahead 31-23 at half. For the second straight game, though, the Hoyas were outplayed in the second half—this time with disastrous results. South Florida couldn’t miss in the second half as the Bulls went 7-of-10 from three-point range, including four straight. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr.’s turnover and desperation heave at the buzzer resulted in a 61-58 loss.
Porter finished with a solid 21 points but didn’t get much help from his teammates. Besides Porter, no starter scored in double figures. Georgetown’s other scoring threat was unexpectedly freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera who recorded 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Junior guard Markel Starks, who had been on fire recently, shot just 1-of-8 in the game.
Georgetown particularly struggled to contain the passing of South Florida guard Anthony Collins in the second half. Things won’t get any easier for the Hoyas tonight against Notre Dame—a squad ranked second in the nation in assists per game. Additionally, the Fighting Irish are fifth in college basketball in field goal percentage, shooting 50.6 percent.
Like Georgetown, Notre Dame squandered a lead in its most recent game but was able to pull out a win though. The Fighting Irish were ahead by eight with two minutes to play against Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights cut the lead to two points with 19 seconds to play. Senior forward (and Harangody look-a-like) Jack Cooley posted a double-double for the Irish (19 points, 10 rebounds). Cooley remains Notre Dame’s top scorer and rebounder and is one of the top big men in the Big East. Junior forward Nate Lubick and sophomore Mikael Hopkins will have the challenge of containing Cooley. Junior center Moses Ayegba, who has been seeing more playing time of late, will also take a stab at covering Cooley.
On the perimeter, Georgetown will have to close out junior guards Jerian Grant and Erik Atkins. Atkins could be particularly dangerous to this Hoya team. He knocks down an amazing 46 percent of his three pointers and has a team-best 6.7 assists per game. The junior guard has been on a tear recently, averaging 17.7 points per game on 54.5 percent over the past three games.
The Hoyas have now slipped to 2-3 in conference and this game should be an important game for their tournament resume. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.
File Photo: John Delgado-McCollum (Jan. 16, vs. Providence)