We Are Georgetown and You’re Not: Hoyas engage in Colonials affair
The Georgetown men’s basketball team (2-0, 0-0 Big East) will look to conclude its season-opening three game homestand on a high note when they face Robert Morris (1-2, 0-0 NEC) Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center. Tip-off is slated for 12 p.m. Against the Colonials, the Hoyas will look to build off the strong play from their wins against St. Francis and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“They’re a tough team,” Georgetown junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera said, regarding the upcoming matchup. “We’re looking forward to a competitive game.”
After struggling offensively in the team’s first two games, Smith-Rivera hopes to regain the form that helped him earn Big East Preseason Player of the Year honors entering this year. Entering the contest, Smith-Rivera has converted only 3-of-13 field goal attempts this season, including a measly 1-of-6 from three-point range.
In the Hoyas’ last game, Smith-Rivera played his fewest minutes since January of his freshman year. Unlike last season, where he was heavily relied upon to provide much of the team’s offensive output, Smith-Rivera acknowledged that this year’s team has an ample amount of offensive playmakers that can pick up the slack if he’s not having one of his better games.
“We have a lot of guys who are very capable. It won’t just be one or two guys trying to score every time down the floor,” Smith-Rivera said. “It’ll be a variety of guys who may come off the bench and who may have 8-10 points one game.”
While Smith-Rivera may want to forget his performances in the last two contests, senior center Joshua Smith and senior forward Aaron Bowen hope to maintain their strong play from last Tuesday’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Smith, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, recorded his first double-double as a Hoya, and Bowen, with 13 points and 5 steals, tallied career highs in those respective categories. Although the duo received plaudits for their play, Smith emphasized that the Hoyas, himself and Bowen included, still have a lot of room for improvement.
“We’re not where we’re supposed to be right now. We’re still learning, still getting better,” Smith said. “The first two games were kind of a testament to that. We played teams that are good teams and we’re still trying to figure out the rotations and what Coach Thompson wants us to do on defense, with the new guys and old guys. It’s just a process.”
As alluded to by Smith, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III so far has used a large rotation in the Hoyas’ first two games, thanks to his confidence in the abilities of the team’s freshmen. Four freshmen, forwards L.J. Peak, Isaac Copeland, Paul White, and guard Tre Campbell have played extensive minutes for the Hoyas early on.
“All of them can play,” senior forward Mikael Hopkins said. “Coach Thompson trusts in all of them so he’s going to throw them out and put them in the fire.”
Like Georgetown, Robert Morris enters Saturday’s contest fresh off a win, since they defeated Bradley on Wednesday, 68-61, a marked improvement from blowout losses in their first two games against No. 6 North Carolina and Lafayette. The Colonials are led by senior guard Lucky Jones (yes, you read that right), a member of the NEC Preseason All-Conference Team entering this season. Entering the matchup with the Hoyas, Jones has averaged 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds, shooting 35 percent from three-point land. While the Colonials may not be the most daunting of opponents, the Hoyas know they need to come out with energy from the opening tip.
“All the teams we play are going to be good and they’re not going to be scared of us,” Smith said. “We need to get off to fast starts.”
After their game against Robert Morris, the Hoyas will embark on their trip to the Bahamas, where they will play in the prized Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament starting this Wednesday with a matchup against No. 8 Florida (1-1, 0-0 SEC). Although many Georgetown fans are anxiously awaiting that matchup, Smith and the Hoyas are not even looking that far ahead.
“Right now we’re just focused on Robert Morris and getting the win on Saturday,” Smith said. “After that we’ll focus on the Bahamas.”
Photo: Noah Buyon/Georgetown Voice