We Are Georgetown and You’re Not: On the Road Again
MILWAUKEE— After concluding their successful two-game homestand this past weekend, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-5, 5-2 Big East) heads out to Milwaukee to face Marquette (10-8, 2-4 Big East) for a 2:30p.m. tip-off Saturday afternoon, and Vox will be there to cover the action.
That’s right, we’re heading out to the Brew City to cover the game because we hear the weather is nice there this time of year, and also because we know it’s a crucial game for the Hoyas if they want to show that this past weekend wasn’t a fluke and that they’re the best team in the Big East.
“I feel like we’re the best team in the country,” proclaimed freshman forward L.J. Peak during the team’s media availability Thursday.
Peak’s teammate, senior center Joshua Smith, offered a more diplomatic answer.
“I feel like if we play the way that we played against Villanova, we can be the best team in the Big East,” Smith said. “We’re only seven games in right now. It’s still really early. There’s still a lot of games to go on but if we play defense the way we played against Villanova, I think we’re capable of beating anybody.”
The Hoyas know they have to guard against a possible letdown game, as they go from dismantling No. 4 Villanova at home to playing the second-to-last place team in the Big East, Marquette. But Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III believes his team knows that every game in the Big East is going to be a challenge, regardless of your opponent.
“I think that they realize that every team has a very small margin for error and that we have to play well every night,” Thompson said. “That’s part of being in the Big East.”
The last time both teams met was on Jan. 6 at Verizon Center, where the Hoyas came out victorious in an ugly contest, 65-59, despite being held without a field goal for a little over 12 minutes in the second half. The alternating zones Marquette played on defense gave the Georgetown offense fits, as the Golden Eagles switched from a 2-3 zone and 1-3-1 halfcourt trap throughout the contest.
This time around, the Hoyas know what they need to do to beat the Marquette defense. They just have to execute.
“We see the gaps. We just have to make sure that we deliver (the ball) on time and on target,” freshman forward Isaac Copeland said. “It’s just making crisp passes and knowing what to do with the ball.”
Copeland has come on as of late for the Blue and Gray. He hit the game-winning three-pointer in the closing seconds against Butler and tallied a career-high 17 points against Villanova. The freshman has found a comfort level within the Hoyas offense.
“More things are opening up for me,” Copeland said. “I can see more scoring opportunities and my teammates cutting (to the basket). It’s working out for me.”
Thompson believes Copeland has matured since the season began.
“He’s getting to the point where he’s thinking less and letting his instincts take over. He’s attaining an understanding of what we want,” Thompson said. “ … Some people it takes a very short period of time, some people it takes longer. I think he’s getting to the point where he’s just playing.”
While the Hoyas are currently tied atop the Big East standings with DePaul (11-9, 5-2 Big East) and Providence (15-5, 5-2 Big East), Thompson doesn’t read much into it.
“I think that’s irrelevant whether you’re the best team,” Thompson said. “You have to be the best team the next night. And if you’re the best team enough times the next time, then you end up being the best team.”
Despite having only nine scholarship players on their roster, the Golden Eagles present a challenge for the Hoyas on offense as well. Senior Matt Carlino, who was roommates with Georgetown’s Smith entering their freshman years at UCLA, leads the team in scoring, 13.9 points per game, and has averaged 24 points in their last two contests, while shooting a combined 11-of-20 from three-point range. The last time the Hoyas and Golden Eagles met, he had 16 points.
Another factor for Marquette will be sophomore center Luke Fischer, who caused problems for the Hoyas last time around, scoring 13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting.
“They’re another one of these teams where you just can’t focus on one person because they have other bodies that can hurt you,” Thompson said. “It’s a group effort, it’s a team effort. Hopefully, we can make all of them slightly uncomfortable.”
Stay tuned to Vox for all things Georgetown basketball, as well as follow us on Twitter@GUVoiceSports for live game coverage and other nonsense from our trip to Milwaukee.
Photo: Georgetown University